It Was Good Making Art to the Glory of God
Ch. God is Good Like No Other
What is good and what is bad and where do we get these definitions? Some would say these definitions are based on personal preferences and there are no moral absolutes. Someone who made this claim would, without realizing it, be making their own absolute statement. That’s pretty ironic if you think about it. In C.S. Lewis’s book Mere Christianity, Lewis first chapter explains “Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe.” Lewis explains how quarrels bring the law of right and wrong instantly to the surface. When people get into arguments they usually either criticize someone else for acting wrong or they make an excuse for their own bad behavior without actually flat out saying that some rules are real. By making these judgments or excuses a person is actually measuring against a very real standard. C.S. Lewis makes a similar point about how you wouldn’t call a line crooked unless you had an idea of what a straight line looked like. This law of right and wrong is clearly present although some choose to ignore it. In the book It Was Good Making Art to the Glory of God, it explains how creation was proclaimed as good the moment God created it. This proclamation was made because
“Creation is useful because it is good. It is not good just because it is useful” The universe was made by God, it conformed to His nature, reflected His image and therefore was pronounced ‘good.” Though it is drastically altered in the Fall, this goodnesss of creation has not been obliterated. It can still be seen in the beauty of the earth and in Man the image-bearer of God.” (Bustard, 18).
God has not left us alone after the fall, He has left his mark on creation: a visible testament to his creativity, power, and goodness.
Psalm 19: 1-2
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
Because of the amazing beauty and complexity seen in creation we have seen the goodness of the Lord. We have a sense of what creation used to be, but at the same time we see there is something amiss in it. There is something lacking and something unfulfilled. There is something tragically marred about it because of the darkness of sin. I was really intrigued by the way It Was Good brought up C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet novel. Several years ago I read this novel and found it deeply thought provoking. In the sci-fi novel “a philologist from Cambridge goes to Mars where he meets creatures who don’t have the word bad in their vocabulary” so instead he uses the word “bent” to explain how the world has been changed after the fall (Bustard 21). While many people become depressed about the darkness in the world and feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it is only “The Christian worldview [that] has the ability to address the issues of a bent world with a message of redemption, hope, and goodness” (Bustard 21). As visual artists it is our calling to show this message of goodness and hope in our artwork as a powerful testament to God’s redemptive work and healing of a broken world. In order to depict this our art must display goodness but it must be “attached to the real world because if you separate it from reality what you are left with is Disney World” (Bustard 24). Contrast is the key to emphasize goodness and the light of God can be clearly seen in the darkness.
Here is a sketch I did of C.S. Lewis’s definition of bent. This is the same idea he made about how we could not judge a crooked line unless we were comparing it to a straight line.
Bustard, Ned. It Was Good Making Art to the Glory of God Second Edition 2006. Square Halo Books: 2006. Print.