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Discovering God through the Arts

Updated: May 7, 2022

What does art have to do with faith? For many Christians, paintings, films, music, and other forms of art are simply used for wall decoration, entertaining distraction, or worshipful devotion. But what if the arts played a more prominent role in the Christian life? In Discovering God through the Arts, discover how the arts can be tools for faith-building, life-changing spiritual formation for all Christians.

Some early leaders suggested that any focus on the visual instead of the verbal or written was potentially dangerous, and, quoting the second commandment, they warned against making any “graven images” (Ex. 20:4–5). While that passage is focused on forbidding idolatry, some were concerned that a revered piece of art might easily become an idol. Such fears arose again during the Reformation, based on a concern about the excesses of previous centuries; their artistic creations may have, at times, brought people perilously close to confusing the divine with a human creation.

For many, art is used for little more than decoration; a way to add a bit of much-needed beauty to their life.

Many Christians, I have discovered, have a limited vision of the place the arts hold and are content with using them for simple purposes. For them, the arts are often used as decoration, as a distraction from life’s stresses, or as a sign of devotion. When we ask little from the arts, we will likely receive little in return. But if we allow them to do so, they can enrich our walk with God in life-changing ways.

For many, art is used for little more than decoration; a way to add a bit of much-needed beauty to their life. Some, for example, choose to surround themselves with visual art that does little more than match the color of their drapes or look good with their couch. Likewise, the music they listen to is often meant simply to create a pleasing backdrop for the activities of their days. They don’t really listen to it with any attention. It is essentially musical wallpaper. Of course, art can prettify our environment, and most of us need more beauty in our lives, but the arts can do so much more than that.

READ: 1 Corinthians 11:26

Excerpt from the Discovering God through the Arts series

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