For some months, I’ve been working on a novella that has a small handful of characters caught up in an unlikely relationship, and it all spins around a theory of art. Yes, I know, this doesn’t exactly sound like the latest thrilled or anything that will land anywhere near success. But a writer has to write, and this idea caught hold of me and wouldn’t let go. The New York Times Bestsellers List will just have to wait.
The idea is about where art comes from, where beauty comes from. It’s not as an in-depth approach as Athol Dickson took in his novel The Opposite of Art, but instead seeks to explore the subject within a story about an unlikely romantic relationship.
Reading A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, I was surprised to stumble across what is a concise summary of this idea in my novella. “It is my own belief (and here I shall not feel bad if no one follows me),” Tozer says, “that every good and beautiful thing which man has produced in the world has been the result of his faulty and sin-blocked response to the creative Voice sounding over the earth.”
The idea in my novella is this: if we are indeed created in God’s image, then everything we do in some way will reflect that image, consciously or unconsciously. It doesn’t matter if it’s an Andy Warhol painting of a Campbell’s soup can and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, or Handel’s Messiah and the latest song by Lady Gaga. We can’t help it, because we can’t escape being made in God’s image.
And part of that image is creative – it is our nature to create things, to fashion something, or something new, from nothing, or almost nothing. Tozer suggests this comes from our response to God, that creative “Voice” extending across the earth and beyond. The response is our impulse to create, to establish something that reflects the Creator.
It is the image of God in us.
Led by Jason Stayszsen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been discussing The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. This week we conclude the discussion of chapter 6, “The Speaking Voice.” To see other posts on the chapter, please visit Jason’s site, Connecting to Impact, for his post and the links to those by others.
Our need to create is also our need to connect.
We're definitely exploring similar themes this week, Glynn. I do agree with you. This is where that sacred/secular divide has hindered us again. God doesn't make that distinction. Something is beautiful because it is and something is truth because it is--He is the Author of all of it (whether He gets credit or not). Very thought-provoking topic. I would love to read your novella too. :) Thanks Glynn.
This is a topic near and dear to my heart and I'm delighted to learn that you're writing about it in novella form! I absolutely agree that art of all kinds flows from the imago dei within. I also believe that the resonance and wonder we feel when confronted by beauty of any kind - natural, man-made, in a person, place or object - flows from that image within us. And I also believe that that response, that deep singing we feel inside, can lead us directly to the source of Beauty, the original Artist, our great and good God.
“It is my own belief (and here I shall not feel bad if no one follows me),” Tozer says, “that every good and beautiful thing which man has produced in the world has been the result of his faulty and sin-blocked response to the creative Voice sounding over the earth.”
Lovely, love that Tozer quote!!
Love what you and Jason wrote about this week. (admit it, you two called each other beforehand) That's the approach I take to listening to music, watching a movie, or in the rare occasion looking at art. God is the Creator and we create because we are made in his image. Sometimes those things are beautiful, sometimes not. But if we look closely, we can always see God behind it.
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