“What is this world? What is it for? It is art. It is the best of all possible art, a finite picture of the Infinite.”
― N.D. Wilson,
I have to admit that even as a lover and creator of art, I often wonder why it matters. In the face of all the more “significant” things I could be doing, why should I take the time to take a photograph, play a song, or write an essay or blog post? I could be out doing, you know, important stuff. Why do the arts matter? Why do we humans care about the arts even in times of tragedy and war? We love these things because we are made in the image of our Creator, and he loves art and beauty.
1. God loves beautiful art: the Creation
How do I know that God loves beautiful things? I know from the first chapter of the Bible, in which God creates a massive amount of beautiful stuff simply because he can. From all eternity past, God as Trinity was completely sufficient and satisfied in himself. He didn’t need to create, he chose to create, and he made his creation beautiful–bountifully, unnecessarily beautiful. Think of the story of humanity, of all the things contained in the Bible. God could have accomplished all of those things by building a much smaller, more practical universe. Yet, he chose to create all the beautiful vastness of the night sky–innumerable billions of completely gratuitous stars and galaxies. There are so many intricate and vast pieces of creation that no one sees except God himself, and that fact tells me that God loves beautiful things.
2. God loves to be worshiped with beautiful art: the Tabernacle
The second book of the Bible, Exodus, shows God’s love for art in worship through the descriptions of the tabernacle. If you haven’t read through them in detail, I would encourage you to do so. They show clearly that God is not just concerned with function in worship–he is intimately concerned that the articles used to worship him be beautiful, even to the length of empowering the craftsman who makes them: