Thursday, May 17, 2012

"To the Artist"

(a repeat from 2010)

     Admiring creation without worshipping the Creator is like viewing the beauty of art while ignoring the creativity and work of the artist.

     For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).

     The eternal power and Godhead of creation's Maker is the most evident feature of all things. "The whole earth is full of His glory" (Isaiah 6:3). Missing the Creator therefore involves a moral rather than intellectual error, as stated plainly in the indictment declared by the Lord Jesus Christ: "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).

     I thought of this today while visiting the incredibly beautiful Walden Pond, the site lived upon and written about by Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau was a transcendentalist fascinated by nature, believing it to be the expression of spiritual realities.  He did not view a personal God as the heart of those realities, however, and saw creation according to the pantheistic view that God and creation are one in substance, but different in expression. Thoreau saw the shadow of the Creator's hand, as it were, and knew it to be transcendent. He nevertheless ignored the obvious Heart and Mind that moves the hand of God, particularly in terms of His relationship to humanity.

     The Lord Jesus' indictment reveals that such neglect originates in man's desire to avoid the spiritual and moral intrusion of God upon our lives. A creator who merely makes a beautiful universe may be admired. A Creator, however, who commands our worship, faith, and obedience requires our acknowledgement of His rightful claim upon us. There is no kneeling before Thoreau's god.  Before the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, however, the believer gladly bows in both reverent awe and loving devotion. We lose our natural life in the act of such abnegation, but it is a damaged life anyway. We regain a new life in the process, a life wondrously united with the very life of God Himself, through the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (I Corinthians 6:17).

     Creation provides a gallery of sublime wonder and beauty. It testifies of the Artist who made all things, and whose glory immanently fills all things. There is no greater tragedy than to behold beauty, while failing to acknowledge and kneel before the beautiful Artist whose exhibition is a beautiful universe.  Conversely, there is no greater fulfillment than adding a heart of grateful worship to the experience of wonder.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."
(Psalm 19:1-4)

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