Home Re/formation Institute WHAT IS ART? Part 4
WHAT IS ART? Part 4 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 19:10

ART AS REPRESENTATION OF REALITY

It can be argued that all art is the artist’s expression of what [he] believes the answers to life’s questions to be (or his search for the answers). We must have a sense of how the world works in order for us to work in the world and art expresses what the artist’s sense of that is. Art expresses some kind of world view.

The nature, character, will and purposes of God, that He has deigned to make known to human beings, have been revealed in Scripture. (This revelation is true and sufficient, but not exhaustive. We must never claim that our understanding of it is.) From the Biblical revelation we learn what is God’s answers to are to the World View Questions. Collectively they describe Reality from God’s perspective, Biblical Reality. The knowledge of this reality is derived mostly from a meta-narrative that extends from cover to cover of the Bible, complete with didactic portions that annotate and explain the Narrative. A major historic principle of interpretation of the Bible is that the didactic portions supersede the narrative. The latter are interpreted according to the former. From all of this Biblical Christians extrapolate from the whole Bible, the answers to the 8 Big World View Questions: *What is Prime Reality (the really real)? *Who is Man (the nature and purpose of being Human)? *What happens to Man after death (is there life beyond the one we have here on earth. *Where is it and what is it)? *What is the basis of Morality (how do we determine what truly is just or fair. *How do we judge whose “rights” are right)? *What is Evil and what is the solution to the Problem that Evil is (what is sin and redemption all about)? and finally, *What is the ultimate meaning of life (what does my personal life and the history of all Humankind add up to, what was it all for)?

Everyone has answers to such questions or is searching for them, consciously or not. The Bible has answers. The Christian is convinced the Biblical World View is the measure of Reality. If true and truly good Art must be faithful to God, it must also must be faithful to this Biblical World View which comes from Him. Being faithful to God’s Perspective on Reality is the best way of being faithful to Him.

A Biblically grounded artist will represent the world as it truly is. Put another way, the observer should be able to look at a work of Art (paintings, sculpture, dance, film, music, literature including fiction and poetry, film and theatre, architecture, fashions and accessories) and “see” the world as God says it really is. This means that the Artist who would fulfill the highest function of Art must be grounded in the Bible’s Word View and that must control the content of what he creates.

Biblical art does not have to be overtly “Christian” or evangelistic. But it will be realistic about sin and must make clear that there is such a thing and it has negative, destructive consequences. It could depict evil, evil doing or evil doers but never gratuitously or in a way that would glorify them. True art could include suffering, pain and death, but always also include forgiveness, mercy and redemption. It could portray oppression, injustice, poverty and violence, but never with the message that these are acceptable or inevitable. The Biblical World view teaches that there is Light in the Darkness and the Darkness shall never quench the light. There is always hope. Human beings may be portrayed as depraved, but never beyond the pale of mercy or forgiveness.

True Art will never favor, endorse, advocate or provoke violence, greed, materialism, hedonism, atheism, idolatry, false Religions or unscriptural ideologies or any form of immorality or unethical behavior. Such Art is never good art.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 30 January 2014 19:11