The most daring and imaginative artist ever

Creation is a work of art, and as with any work of art, as we immerse ourselves in it, we learn something about ourselves. But we also learn something about the Artist.
We learn that he is creative. He is, in fact, the Creator. This is a major biblical theme. Over sixty times, God is either said to have created or is referred to as the Creator. He is sculptor, painter and composer, and the universe is his block of marble, his canvass, and his staff paper.

God is the most daring, most imaginative artist ever. He has filled the seas with creatures of every shape and size and brilliant color. He paints his birds and fish and sunsets with hues so vivid and lines so bold that our most avant-garde painters seem tame by comparison.

The first verse of the Bible tells us that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and did so simply by commanding it to be. We see this again and again in the first chapter of Genesis. Like a leitmotif in a symphony, the words “And God said” repeat, with the subsequent refrain, “and it was so.”

Verse three: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Verses six and seven: “And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.’ And it was so.” Verse nine: “And God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.’ And it was so.” God did not paint Orion’s fireworks with a brush, but with a word. He creates by speaking.

An artist’s work is a revelation of the artist. Isn’t it possible to infer something of the character of Picasso from his paintings? After viewing “Seated Bather,” would anyone be surprised to learn that Picasso once said, “Every time I change wives, I should bury the last one. That way I’d be rid of them . . .” The artist is found in his work. It reveals him.

But what can be learned about God by looking at his art? Well, it’s obvious that he’s brilliant, and that he has breathtaking ability. Further, his art sparkles with joy. From the attention he shows his work, one can deduce a deep love for all that he has made. And it’s abundantly clear that when this artist creates something, he does it right.

One example covers all these things – that this artist does it right, that he possesses unimaginable ability, that he is really, really smart, and that he cares for his creation. All created matter is composed of four elemental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force. Those four forces are the material universe, and combine in an endless variety of ways to form everything we see, everything that is.
But the respective strengths of the four forces must be precisely balanced for life to exist. For the purpose of illustration, assign to gravity, the weakest of the forces, a baseline strength of 1. The weak nuclear force comes next. It receives a relative strength of 1,034. Then comes electromagnetism, which is a thousand times stronger than the weak nuclear force. Finally comes the strong nuclear force, which is a hundred times stronger still. Gravity holds the planets in place. The weak nuclear force holds neutrons together. Electromagnetism holds you together. And finally, there is the strong nuclear force, which holds protons together and is a hundred million times stronger than gravity.

The universe depends on this precise balance. If gravity was a tiny fraction stronger or weaker, there would be no stars and planets. If the weak nuclear force was different by the smallest percentage, the universe would be composed entirely of hydrogen. If electromagnetism was either weaker or stronger, chemical bonds could not form. Physicists know of at least 25 other perfect balances in creation that are needed for life as we know it to exist.

Obviously the Artist loves his creation and treats it with great care. That is the good news of the Christian doctrine of Creation. And when his masterpiece was defaced by sin, as the Bible tells us it was, the Artist cared enough to restore it. That’s the good news of redemption.

First published in The Coldwater Daily Reporter, 5/2/15

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