May 9, 2012

A Visual Apologetic

I recently received this article from Richard Cummings, who is doing his Doctorate in Worship Studies from the same place I got my Master's Degree, IWS.  I read this, and so resonated with it, for it captures the essence of how God uses the creativity He poured into man and nature, to point back to Himself.  And while I personally believe none of this would ever replace His written word, which is holy and sacred, still, God speaks through the Creativity He has put into Creation (Psalm 19).  It is His, and He created it for His Glory.  Enjoy, and let me know what you think.  This is a great piece for a lively discussion!  Oh, and check out Colossians 1:15 while you are at it.  Cummings does a great job of exploring some of the implications!

Can God reveal himself through visual art?

This question often elicits conflicting emotions. Many Christians who are artists would intuitively answer the question with an unequivocal, "yes," but defending this answer to those who are ambivalent or even hostile to visual explorations of God can be unnerving.

Countless examples exist in scripture that point to God's mandate and blessing of our human creativity; yes, even the creativity of visual art fashioned by fallen hands. Old Testament scriptures relate how brazen serpents, blue pomegranates, red ram skins, gold cherubim and almond blossoms were all blessed by God and accepted as both implements used in his saving acts and as implements used in his worship.

With the coming of Christ, the invisible God made himself visible, clothing himself in flesh, choosing to take on the material of his created universe. He was the true Eikon of the true God, coming to humanity as fully human and fully God, a God that could be apprehended through our finite senses. God had revealed himself in material form, and because God had revealed himself in Christ, early Christians felt appropriate depicting God visually as a human.

We live in the middle of God's redemptive story. He is not silent or distant; the Kingdom of God is here. The presence of God lives in us in the form of the Holy Spirit, relationally communing with us and forming us into our future selves. God uses all forms of his creation to reveal himself to us, and we reshape his creation in response to him, in obedience to his mandate. Being formed in his image, we continue to enact his initial creation. We look forward to the completion of his work and to the fullness of our redemption in the New Jerusalem. Until then, we create in response to his past revelation and look forward to his continued partnership and revelation in our creative formations.

Richard Cummings
12 March 2012

Copied in part from"  <>  Used by permission
Please visit the Ruminate Website for the full article


  1. Wow. This is great. The writen word is truly an act of God and I think Mr..Cummings has truly utilized the gifts God has given him in his writings as well as his visual works.

  2. Ruth KendallMay 11, 2012

    Can God reveal himself through visual art? I find it hard to believe that a Christian would seriously consider answering that with a ‘no’, because as the author goes on to say, we’re creative because we’re made in the image of a creative God, therefore our creative efforts reflect – to a greater or lesser extent – Him. Whether or not it is used for His glory is another question!

    The question of religious art (in this case icons directly depicting God) is an interesting one. In a strange way I think icons reveal less of God than perhaps other visual art forms.

    Thanks for posting this excerpt! I’ll have to read the full article.