Cloning Jesus

I am a huge fan of fantasy, so when I saw Frank Wu’s art work I was immediatly interested in what he produced and had to say about christians working in the fantasy media. The following text is part of an interview that Frank gave to Artist Interviews magazine and really highlights his passion for Jesus and the work that he produces:

“I am a Christian. Sometimes this is a problem in a field where a lot of the writers and editors – and fans – are atheists. Sometimes. Not always. I don’t preach, I don’t harp on people’s lifestyle choices. I don’t pick fights or judge people. They are my friends, and I try to work with them and be their friends. Are we not put on this planet to love each other?

One of the weird things about doing commissioned art is that you accept the commission before you read the story. An editor asks if I have time to do an illo for an upcoming issue. I say yes. Then he sends me the story. I hate turning down commissions, because book and magazine illustration is sometime I’ve dreamt of my whole life. But sometimes I get stories that make me tingle, and not in a good way.

“Cloning Jesus” was weird, because it was about the attempt to clone Jesus from chips of blood in the Shroud of Turin (we assume for the story’s sake that the Shroud is authentic). It would have been an interested conceit, if a similar idea hadn’t been done in a Star Trek episode years ago. Anyway… This is the only piece of art I’ve ever gotten hate mail for. I think the letter-writer was offended by the whole idea. It was sacrilege. Part of the problem I think is that people don’t really go deep enough into the theology. Who was Jesus? He was God, who put on human form and came to earth. So He was fully God and fully human. Human in that He had blood and ate food and it must have really hurt when they put the nails in His hands. Why did He come to earth? Well, partially to tell us that we should love God and love our neighbor. But also, and most importantly, He came to earth specifically to die on the cross, a sacrifice for our sins, a payment for our transgressions. For we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. His sacrifice meant that we did not need to be sacrificed ourselves. Our sin no longer separated us from God, and we were forgiven. Jesus took our place on the cross. But Jesus only had to pay that price once.

So what would be the point of forcing a second coming of Jesus by cloning Him? So He could die on the cross a second time? That doesn’t seem necessary. So He could announce the end of the world and bring down the new heaven and the new earth, because the old ones were used up? Seems premature, not quite God’s timing yet. I think the writer’s point is that the world is a less than perfect and peaceful place. But rather than having God see the wickedness and destroy the world, as He did with a flood so long ago, perhaps there might be a more pleasant alternative. Maybe if Jesus could return, we would hear the message “Love God and Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”. And maybe we would do this, and the world would be a better place. For me and you. If we put a little love in our hearts.

And I think that’s what the story is about. And that’s not a bad message.”

If you would like to find out more about Frank Wu please click here

– Russell

HOUSE ON THE ROCK

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7: 24-27

Rodney Matthew’s is a christian fantasy illustrator who has worked extensively amongst the music and literary industry, creating vivid cover designs for numerous musicians and fantasy authors. Rodney has been known to refuse work that contravenes his Christian morals. He feels very strongly that art should be inspirational and bringing the words of the scriptures to life in vivid images is part of that belief.

As a strong reader of fantasy I have seen much of Matthew’s work [which adorns may of my favourite novels!]. His creative and imaginative take on biblical themes are inspirational and are well worth a look, if you would like to find out more please click here.

– Russell