"The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars"

The above quote is from the title page of Francis Schaeffer’s collection of (two) essays entitled Art and the Bible (a L’Abri Pamphlet). The full quote goes on to say, “For the Christian artist the sky is not the limit because [s/]he can distinguish between reality and illusion, [s/]he is the one whose imagination can fly above the stars.” [The first essay can be found on Google Books.]

Schaeffer firmly states, “For a Christian redeemed by the work of Christ and living within the norms of Scripture and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the lordship of Christ should include an interest in the arts…An art work can be a doxology itself.” (pg 18)

I would take it even further than Schaeffer and say that I think we need the artists to help the rest of us interpret the Bible. As I mentioned in an earlier post the Bible is almost one-third poetry and because art is nonverbal it can convey a plethora of messages — even to people who can’t read, including young children. For those of us who have grown up in a church context art may have been one of the first ways we learned about the Bible. At different times and in different places, art has been the primary way of teaching stories about the Bible to entire communities.

Schaeffer points out that God instructed Solomon to fill the temple with artwork…“And he [Solomon] garnished [covered] the house with precious stones for beauty” (2 Chron 3:6). “Notice this carefully [Schaeffer says], the temple was covered with precious stones for beauty. There was no pragmatic reason for precious stones. They had no utilitarian purpose. God simply wanted beauty in the temple. God is interested in beauty.” (pg. 26)

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