Faith without art is dead I like to say. Here’s a second reason why it’s so.
Creating art helps us capture the fullness of human experience.
Is it any wonder that after telling us in Genesis 1 that we were made in the image of a creative God, the Bible shows us in Genesis 2 Adam composing the very first poem? And it’s a love poem at that. Which is appropriate, for this is the first wedding.
God presents Eve to Adam, he gives her away, and Adam is so overcome with emotion that he sticks out his hand and says, “Hi, I’m Adam.” No! He cries out, “This is now bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” A poem. Why a poem? Because poetry helps communicate the full depth of emotion that he is feeling.
For centuries, artists were the real movers and shakers of society. But then science moved into town and became the neighborhood bully. During a period of history we call the Enlightenment, when human reason was made out to be the measure of all things, the methods of science were used to question everything, including art. And the role of the artist in society was greatly diminished as the scientist took center stage.
But science can only take us so far in describing what it means to be human. Take a kiss for example. Scientifically speaking, here’s how one biologist defined a “kiss”: “A kiss is the anatomical juxtaposition of two orbicularis oris muscles in a state of contraction.”
No wonder I was so grossed out by the thought of kissing a girl when I was little! Who wouldn’t be? But then one day in the seventh grade I kissed Beverly Christianson. And discovered the power that launched a thousand ships. Orbicularis muscles, my eye.
Sure, a kiss involves my body’s muscles, hormones and chemicals – and without them I could not enjoy a kiss. But to say that a kiss is nothing but muscles, hormones and chemicals, now science you have gone too far.
There is something more to it, a deeper reality to it, that touches the frontier of the human soul and spirit – a frontier that science cannot explore. For that we need art. A true kiss must be consummated by a song, or a poem, or a dance, or a painting. (Remember how Sallah responds in “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” when Marion kisses him?)
Art helps us to capture the fullness of human experience. And for that, faith requires its services.
Bear Clifton is a pastor, writer and screenwriter. His blogs and devotionals can be enjoyed at his ministry website: trainyourselfministry.com and his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, and “A Sparrow Could Fall”, all available through Amazon.