To set this in a more theological perspective, the arts can be seen as part of our calling to voice creation's praise, to extend and elaborate the praise which creation already sings to God. The doxology of creation has found its summation in Christ: the one through whom all things were created became part of a creation whose praise has been corrupted, and in the crucified and risen Lord, creation is offered back to the Father, redirected towards its originally intended goal. The Spirit now struggles in creation to bring about what has already been acheived in Christ. We are now invited into this movement in order to enable creation to be more fully what it was created to be.
Jeremy Begbie, 1997


Freddy T. Wyatt said...

"the one through whom all things were created became part of a creation whose praise has been corrupted..." - is he saying that in the incarnation Christ became part of creation? Help me understand what he means here. I like what he is saying about this invitation. What are some practical ways you have seen of resent to engage in this extension and elaboration he is speaking of?

TBW said...

Great questions! Yes, Begbie is saying that Christ joined in creation by taking on human flesh, and in that he gave immense value to our world. For eternity, Christ will have a human body like ours but perfected by the glory of his resurrection.

As far as some practical ways to apply Begbie's observation of the value of creation, I think a return to simple pleasures may be the best choice. I recently read Calvin Seerveld's 'Rainbows for a Fallen World,' in which he urges other Christians to take a more thoughtful, meaningful approach to the aesthetic component of their lives.
I think that there are two reasons that most Christians don't think about the aesthetic side of life. One, for many people, just the term- aesthetic, implies a sort of elitist sophistication they find very unappealing. Maybe, they are intimidated to consider art, music, and the like more seriously because they might not "get it." Well, the truth is that if we are so worried about "getting it" we will never actually enjoy the experience itself.

Second, modern life is filled with so many sights, sounds, smells, and stimuli that most of us have really dull or numb sensibilities. We have seen or heard so many things that it is really hard to enjoy a picture or a song like it was the first of its kind. Sometimes we are just swept along in the flow of information and entertainment that our culture keeps stuffing our mouths with that we forget that we have tastebuds for a reason. So, let me give what I think might be some applications toward enjoying God's good creation:

1. Host an intimate dinner party where you can take time to enjoy four courses to a meal. Make food the art work to experience. I'm thinking appetizers, soup or salad, main course, dessert with a great coffee.

2. Instead of renting a movie, relax by listening to an entire CD. Maybe a large, cohesive work like a film score or an opera (with text translation). It may be good to start with small pieces first.

3. Invite one of your many musically inclined friends over to play for you and your guests. With each song, let the musician talk about how or why he or she wrote it and ask them questions too.

There's lots of ways to creatively exercise our senses so that we are actually ready to enjoy the new earth; these are just a few thoughts.

Freddy T. Wyatt said...

dude...i'm loving it! You interpret things I sense. You assist me with intellectual explanations to my experience. The experience is much more meaningful with its interpretation. Your response and reading over the Begbie quote made me think of Col 1:20 he was reconciling all things to himself. Did you ever read my little blog about the St. James Art Fair? See if you can find it on my blog archive. I think you'd enjoy. Keep it coming worley T!