Monday, May 14, 2007

Redeemed Art: Part One

Art is the result of humanity’s God-given creativity and the need to communicate. It has the potential to be beautiful, pleasing and truthful. Its ultimate purpose is to communicate truth in an aesthetic way. The highly speculative (and perhaps dangerous) parlor game here proposed is: what if art could be redeemed?

Human art will most likely perish in the end. Only the souls of humanity will survive into eternity but what if art was included in that list of “gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and straw” found in 1 Corinthians? Which bits would make it? Which works would be redeemed and become a part of eternity?

Yes, that is probably bizarre speculation. However, much of art reveals some truth for those who have the eyes to see it, and there are a lot of people who have been exposed to some of that truth in culture. They simply need Scripture to have their eyes opened to the whole of truth as it has been divinely revealed.

This measure of truth is only one of two key elements by which great art must be judged. The other is the aesthetic aspect. While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, there is a limit to perspectives when it comes to true beauty. Quality, technique, originality, and composition all represent aspects of art that can be judged and evaluated.

Drawing, painting, architecture, literature, music, dance and theater should all be measured by both their aesthetics and their message. Then, to a certain degree, they may be “redeemed” as they accomplish their purpose of communicating truth effectively. By this standard, a lot of what is deemed “secular” art would make it on the list while much of “Christian” art would be left out. More about that in a later post…

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