At International School of the Word, some of the online courses we offer include courses on writing books and songs. While Christian literature and worship music have never seriously been disputed as having a legitimate purpose, how should believers approach the arts in general? What place exactly does art have in the church? Can art glorify God even if it is not expressly Christian, and what does it even mean for art to be “Christian art”?

Andy Crouch, executive editor of Christianity Today, defines art in this way:

“Art is, perhaps, one way of naming everything we as cultural beings do that cannot be explained in terms of its usefulness… intrinsically, and in some senses inexplicably, worthwhile.”

The Bible has a lot to say about beauty and creativity. Scripture makes many references to the fact that God views humanity as a work of art, as in Isaiah 64:8:

“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

Not only does God Himself find value in the beauty of His creation, but he also instills us with that same quality. Take Exodus 35:35, for example:

“He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.”

God has filled them with skill – not only does God want us to enjoy beauty and creation, by design he instills us with the skills and desires to create. God’s love and the glory of His creation can be found in everything we do as believers. As Luke 6:45 says,

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Let’s also not forget the first verse in all of Scripture:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Scripture is a story of creation and beauty from beginning to end. As we are created in God’s image, it is no wonder humans spend so much time and energy following His example and fashioning art with our hands. The art we create – whether it’s literature, paintings, sculptures, or the myriad other disciplines or mediums – is an act of fulfilling our design and God’s purpose for us.

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