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Art and Wholeness ; March 23, 2009

Mood: whole
Listening to: Mutemath - Spotlight EP
Reading: The Brothers Karamazov (for school)

About time for an update. Having some deep thoughts lately.

Every now and then I experience states of mind in which I can see the wholeness of everything, of God, of humanity, of art, of the universe. The coherence and integrity of it all. I see God in works of art, in people's faces. It all has to do with Creation: a fascination with God's creation and the ability He gave us to create.

Science has a profound effect on me as I see the order and complexity that God gave to this little planet called Earth, and the universe of which we inhabit only the tiniest corner. There is the macro infinity, the study of astronomy. Look at the galaxies, the artwork of stars clumped together, the beauty of nebulas and solar systems. There is such order; God created the scientific, mathematical formulas for the universe; God created the rules that it would follow. And we as humans can pursue the knowledge of that higher scientific order that organizes it all. Then there is the micro infinity, the study of biology, chemistry. Just as there is no end to the vastness of the universe, there is equally no end to the tininess of cells, molecules, atoms, and smaller. God gave order and rules to every last particle of matter. And it is all equally significant to Him, the macrocosm and the microcosm, because it is all His creation which He so meticulously designed for the benefit of us living beings. (I am reminded of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wind in the Door, which is where I was first introduced to this general idea a few years ago.)

And so we respond to God's creation with our own. This is the essence of being an artist, to me: making art is a response to God. And deep down, I am an artist at heart: however, I am interested in so many areas of art (drawing, writing fiction, writing poetry, composing music, singing...) that I can't choose just one artistic ability to develop. I'd rather work on developing my whole self, the whole artist, not just a single area, because if my self is whole then my art may be whole. And it's not my responsibility to "develop myself"—it's God's. Last semester in my C.S. Lewis elective class, I learned about Lewis's idea that God created the unique personality for each individual, and it is through the pursuit of God and living in the knowledge and love of God that makes you sort of grow into that personality and become who God created you to be. So I rest secure knowing that God knows me more deeply than I know myself. I can rely on Him to help me become the person I am going to be thousands of years from now when my sole purpose is to glorify His name.

Let's see. Where am I going with this? Ah, yes. Art.

I am very opinionated about my preferences and sense of art. (Art, in this case, mainly referring to music and literature.) I feel that true art must reflect beauty, because true art must reflect God's nature. True art has to be a reflection of the beauty of Creation. Art must reflect truth. For me to call it art, it has to inspire me to contemplate and reflect on Creation with respect to God's nature. I know it's confusing—it's really hard for me to define. Here's an example. Last month I had to read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich for my World Lit class. I trudged through all 180 pages, not enjoying it in the least. I fully appreciated the historical truth about Russian work camps and all, but it was impossible for me to enjoy it in the sense that I could call it art. I could call it literature, but not art. It was more like a documentary than a novel. I know that literary experts would call me ignorant and blame my opinion on inexperience, but I'd still stick to my opinion. Art has to be transcendent; it has to make you ponder beauty; it has to point to truth and ultimately to God.

This month I am reading another Russian novel for my World Lit class, The Brothers Karamazov...and I am enjoying it, as true art. I don't call it that just because it talks about God and love a lot, but because the experiences of the characters, their lives and the settings around them, somehow transcend the novel and point to something higher. The story does inspire contemplation and reflection, because the experiences of the characters reflect some higher truth.

I can't tell if I'm communicating this well. Do you see what I mean? It's about wholeness.

I must point out that several of the ideas in this post were implanted in me by Madeleine L'Engle's book Walking on Water, which discusses the relationship between the Christian faith and art.

Here are some websites I've been browsing lately:

Life, the Universe, and Everything: Lots of cool science stuff connecting the universe and cosmology to God and creation.
All About God: Tons of articles and videos about God, the Bible, apologetics, creation...
Revolution Against Evolution: Lots of essays and resources with evidence for creation/intelligent design instead of evolution.

10:49 PM  |  

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