We are very excited to announce that Imago Dei: Created in the Image of God is the next series that we will be going through together as a church. Imago Dei is a Latin term that means “Image of God” and it comes from Genesis 1:27 which says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
So what exactly does it mean to be created in the image of God? After all, that is a pretty bold deceleration. What does God mean by this and to what purpose was this design composed? That is what will be unpacked as we walk through this series, addressing things like gender, marriage, work, and the overall value of human life.
We are choosing to incorporate an art component with this series because as beings created in the imaged of God, we too were endowed and entrusted with the ability to create. And so, for the Imago Dei series, we are looking for ways to collaborate and showcase a number of original pieces of art throughout this series in our stage design, and series graphics. And we want to include your art this time!
For this series we are looking for art such as, paintings, drawings, digital graphics, hand lettering, or photography to help us communicate and engage in what it means to be created in the image of God.
We want to know how you see others and yourself as created the image of God, the beauty, the tension, the brokenness, the original design, the restoration. Your piece might highlight the fact that we were created in the image of God or your you might focus more on the fact that the definition of that image is under attack in our modern culture. Feel free to speak into this at any level and in any kind of imagery you would like to communicate with. Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org or bring them into the office by October 22. We cannot wait to see what you guys create!
In order to dive into this a little more, we have interviewed Andrew, our worship leader and Makaila, our graphic designer and blog editor on their philosophy, theology, and inspiration for art.
In your opinion, what is the purpose of art?
Andrew: The idea of art is to use words and images to communicate thought and ideas about politics, spirituality, or philosophy…by creating a sense of beauty or tension or awe through art, we are effectively bearing the image of our creator. Since God created…we ought to do the same. Within our Christian worldview, we now use art as a means of uplifting the mind to things that are eternal; we’re now charged to fill the world with his light, color and sound that communicates the truth of the gospel and usher in the beauty of new life that we have in Christ…complete life that was part of God’s design from the beginning.
Makaila: For me, the purpose is two-fold, communication and connection. Art, in whatever form it takes often times has the ability to communicate things that I cannot communicate with the same heart and passion just through conversation because until my audience can step inside my experience, my information remains little more than cognitive information. But when I create, I am allowing them to step inside my experience and see things from my point of view. Look at how much metaphor is used in our everyday language, how much poetic metaphor is implemented to communicate throughout scripture. Metaphor is at the heart of art because it is taking a knowable experience and mapping it onto something new so that insight is created and the new information becomes immersive, providing us with a type of shared experience which creates connection. Art (done well) provides an immersive experience for both the artist and the audience that allows them to step into an understanding that includes, but goes beyond the cerebral into more of the human facilities available to us. And it is this immersive experience that has the power to create connection both to God and to one another as we communicate in a whole-hearted way.
Why take the time to create art when you might be able to communicate quicker and perhaps even clearer by speaking more directly?
Andrew: God uses art to speak to us in ways that conversation can’t, and sometimes that even preaching can’t…melodies fill the air, the beauty of brushstrokes fill the eyes…when it comes together in a masterful way, even the unbeliever is having an encounter with the God who ultimately has inspired the art, and has given the ability to make art. etc.
Makaila: I have heard it said that story is the language of the heart. Is it any wonder that so much of our holy Scriptures are written in narrative and poetry? Or that Jesus chose to preach so much of the time through parables. Our God who created the human heart knows how to best communicate with it. I am compelled to follow His example.
Should the Christian engaging in some type of artistic endeavor always try to tell the truth through their art?
Andrew: We bear a responsibility for what our art communicates. The goal should always be to lead hearts and minds to an affection for Christ.
Makaila: A dear friend of mine once told me, “when you create, you cannot dictate to people what they should be thinking and feeling, for this kind of art falls flat, rather, find the pulse for that visceral feeling common among your audience.” Once you have connected with what feels true to our human experience, if you wish to speak truthful insight into a situation, you will more likely have their heart and their ear. But should your art ALWAYS tell the truth? I believe that depend completely on the context, who the audience will be and for what. Sometimes creating in the secret place that is just between you and the LORD is the only way to expose the lies buried deep inside, and I think we need to give ourselves permission to be wholehearted enough to be honest about the lies that have taken up residence in our souls so that God can speak truth into those places.
Does God’s Word have anything to say about art?
Andrew: Exodus 31 is the first mention of art…God is instructing Moses to create a tent for the Ark of the Covenant, and God mentions several artisans whom He has chosen to create “artistic designs” to beautify the tent. God says, “In the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill.” We learn two things about God’s view of art in this passage: He likes it, and He is the source of it. He wants man to create beautiful things, and their skill in doing so is from Him.
Makaila: I love that story that Andrew is referencing! And it is so appropriate as we talk about God creating mankind in His image originally in the garden of Eden because much of the imagery that God directed the artist to incorporate when designing the tent for the Ark of the Covenant was strategically intended to point back the Garden of Eden. I love the way God is weaving consistent themes and motifs throughout Scripture to help us connect the dots to the meaning and purpose of it all, one mark of a master craftsman.
In fact, the entirety of Scripture is a work of art… and that does not mean that it is not true. True, factual things can be a work of art. Your very life, created in the image of God, intended for glory is meant to be a work of art and the more we cooperate with the Creator, the more that work of art will become evident as we live and move and find our being in Him. From beginning to end, God’s word is a structured, strategic, stunning work of art. The themes woven throughout, the imagery, the climax, the repeating patterns, and plot twists. The whole thing is a breathtaking feast for the artistic mind. It takes time to notice the genius of it, as most great art pieces do. What’s more, it is artwork that equips us for every good work! It is art that goes forth planting seeds that turn into wheat that becomes bread. Sometimes it can be difficult to take in the full scope of Scripture as a work of art because of the sheer volume of stories, poetry, and words it is communicated through, but if you have any question about whether or not Jesus is an artist, just look at one of his parables and notice the way he tells a story—that guy knows what He is doing. He is after all, the one who created the world through words spoken and you and I through clay molded and animated by His very breath.
We hope you have enjoyed this conversation about art and we pray it stirs the artist in you to collaborate with us for this upcoming series! If you have any questions, feel free to email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or you can always call the front office at 760.247.5891
If you have other artistic interests such as poetry, dramatic readings, music, video, tech, etc. please let us know! We would love to incorporate more art in future events and series here at Redeemer Church!