For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20 (ESV)
The Apostle Paul makes an insightful and heartbreaking comment on the fallen and tragic human condition in Romans 1:18 where he states that unrighteous humanity ‘suppresses’ the truth it knows about God. Paul goes on to claim that all humanity actually, in some sense, ‘believes’ in God because of His revelation in creation; however, humanity denies and suppresses that truth about God and (as Paul says later in the chapter) instead worships and serves created things, rather than the Creator.
As has been noted by theologians through the ages, this suppression of the truth about God needs constant repair, as humanity can’t maintain, at all times, its vigilant denial of who God is and what He’s done. Like a beachball submerged in a swimming pool, the knowledge of God powerfully pushes up and finds its way to the surface of our experience all too often. The knowledge of God is so potent and strong all human suppression of that truth is a (blessedly) momentary equilibrium.
There are a number of ways that humanity betrays that it functionally acts as if God exists, even if it denies His existence and supremacy via overt confession. One of the ways this happens is through art and entertainment. Time and again, the most beautiful visual art, the most wondrous music, and the most moving films exhibit, at their core, a perspective into some aspect of the nature of God and/or His work. The ‘song’ of the knowledge of God resounds through all our creative efforts, and we often catch the tune of His glory as we take in art and entertainment.
CS Lewis noted that through human history, the divine light of the story of God could not help but find its way into the stories and myths of humanity. In his essay, “Is Theology Poetry?,” Lewis writes,
The Divine light, we are told, “lighteneth every man.” We should, therefore, expect to find in the imagination of great Pagan teachers and myth makers some glimpse of that theme which we believe to be the very plot of the whole cosmic story – the theme of incarnation, death, and rebirth. And the differences between the Pagan Christs (Balder, Osiris, etc.) and the Christ Himself is much what we should expect to find. The Pagan stories are all about someone dying and rising, either every year, or else nobody knows where and nobody knows when. The Christian story is about a historical personage, whose execution can be dated pretty accurately, under a named Roman magistrate, and with whom the society that He founded is in a continuous relation down to the present day. It is not the difference between falsehood and truth. It is the difference between a real event on the one hand and dim dreams or premonitions of that same event on the other.
As you pray today, praise God for His amazing cosmic story of salvation in Christ Jesus:
- Worship our great God for His plan of redemption. He is worthy! Amen.
- Pray that today our creative and entertainment industry would, in greater and greater ways, come to authentic knowledge of the Lord of Creation.
- Pray that those in the arts and entertainment fields would overtly depict God’s worth and glory through every medium available.
Director of Athletic Ministries, Christian Union Caritas
ARTICLE: Why should we care about the arts? by Richard B. Hays
Christians should be attentive to the ways in which the character of our community is shaped by the imaginative spaces we inhabit, says the dean of Duke Divinity School.
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