Thursday, October 20, 2016

Is art personal and subjective?

 Art is a personal and subjective matter. What you like might not appeal to me and vice versa! Having said that we all have an uncanny sense of appreciation for beauty and the value of great talent. This ability to appreciate seems to be both universal and unique to the human species.

The sheer beauty of the universe tells us something about God. Who designed the sunset, or created the backdrop of the rolling hills or the rugged mountains? Who sourced the sound of the quiet babbling of a brook or the thundering pounding of a mighty waterfall! Where did the variety of colours come from, the magnificence of natural sounds, the multiplicity of materials and texture? Was this all by chance or did the Creator design a tapestry of wonder that makes you think – why, how and who?
In general, despite all our brilliance, we have damaged our world. The Bible explains ‘by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin’, Romans 5:12. Sin and evil has damaged the beauty of our planet, and lives, as a result of our actions and behaviour. The Bible compares the original state of our world with it’s current state in these terms - “You made him (Adam, the first man) for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honour, putting everything in subjection under his feet… present we do not see yet everything in subjection to him….but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour that he by the grace of God should taste death for everyone”.
Life and it’s beauty do not last for ever; in fact things normally degenerate. God in the Bible offers to reverse the trend of deterioration in our lives by giving ‘beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness’. This offer is because of and through trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.
C S Lewis, the famous English author, spent many years of his life as a confirmed atheist. When he was 30 he became convinced that God was a reality. Two years later on the 1st October 1931 he wrote to his friend Arthur, “I have just passed on from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ – in Christianity. The great story really is true. God really sent his Son. He really died for our sins. We really can have forgiveness and eternal life in the presence of the One to whom all the Joy was pointing”1.
“Tolle, quæso, tempus ad meditandum”

1.      The collected writings of C. S. Lewis, Vol. 1, Family Letters 1905-1931, ed Walter Hooper (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), p 974

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