Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." Genesis 1:26
The the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good... Genesis 1:31
Once upon my time I worked as a furniture mover at my University. It was a good job. Good work. Moving large things is good for a man's soul.
One day, my boss proposed a question, "Can the true masterpiece come from a soul who doesn't acknowledge Christ as the Redeemer of all creation?" My initial response was an obvious no. It seemed a dumb question from a wise man. My dubious nature gave him a chance to explain himself. A true masterpiece must be that which is beautiful; that which exudes beauty. Beauty is that which speaks deeply and effectively about the truth of this world. With these definitions of 'beauty' and 'masterpiece' in place, it is easy to then see how one could conceive that the Author of Truth must be dwelling within the artist for a work of masterful beauty to come into being.
I would still wager that anyone on this planet can (and does) produce that which is masterful.
Perhaps the question to wrestle with is whether or not mankind has remained in God's image after the curse of sin entered into our fabric.
Paul fiercely condemns the ways of the Gentiles in the first chapter of his letter to the Romans, but nevertheless that the capacity for men to know truth did not immediately vanquish with Adam's first sin. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse... and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things [unrighteous deeds] are worthy of death, they do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:20,32
Notice Paul uses the present tense at the end, they know the ordinance of God. See! That's goodnews, yes? Though fallen, all men know truth in their heart of hearts. The masterpiece can be outpoured from their soul.
I think this revelation should encourage us towards love. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. It seems an easier task to turn the cheek if I have in mind that this creation in front of me, this man or woman, will bring glory to God. They are to be masterpieces; a unique expression of truth in the world. Surely, all men are corrupt. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 Nevertheless, all will bring glory to God.
Now, let's take this initial "Who can create masterpieces?" to a ridiculous level. Once upon a time on youtube, I saw an elephant paint a picture (of an elephant offering a flower in its trunk). Click here for the crazy elephanting link. This video speared me in the chest. It was clearly a trained procedure. That elephant surely was unaware of what it was drawing -- merely mimicking that which it was trained to form for reward -- but the idea burdened my heart. Can animals create art?
One day someone will write a Theology of Animals particularly for my hurting heart. Until that day or the day that God illuminates my mind to such answers, questions of morality, justice, and the animal way will continue to plague my being. Luckily, in these days of myriad deceptions, I have a mysterious friend who has come to my aid.
Soonly, a website will be launched that I have been working to assemble for nearly six months. This website, vikingjesus has had many different iterations of slogans in these last few months. Currently, the website is functioning under a lens of Seasons. If we decide to move forward and launch a second season, I would like for the slogan to be: "Use Everything".
Use Everything - meaning, everything that is, can be used to desperately seek the Lord. Remember the Lord's words at the final moments of Scripture: Behold, I am making all things new. Revelation 21:5 He will renew everything. All things are born for redemption. Everything.
Upon my own spouting out of ruminations to 'Use Everything' this aforementioned mysterious friend chose to share an article with me by a one, Dr. Abraham Kuyper (Abraham Kuijper).
This Dutch Abraham is a strange gent for me to be bedfellows with, as a cursory read through his wikipedia page informs us that Dr. Kuyper is one of the fathers of Neo-Calvinism, aka The Really Scary Calvinists. Despite my fears of such men and their doctrines, within his article, The Renewal (Rebirth) of Creation I find nothing but a slew of awesomnity. *Awesomnity - that which bears much awesomeness.
The article begins: Rebirth is an event that concerns not only man, but also the entire creation. He
who loses sight of this, does not understand the mystery of rebirth.
Everything rebirthed... I dig it... and he seems to be adding an extra emphasis on the entire creation, of which I assume includes artistic elephants.
The good Abraham continues: Man was not created outside this world and then brought into the world from the outside. He was formed from the dust of the earth, that is, from matter and its organization, which had already come into being in the various kingdoms of nature. There is thus a most intimate relation between man and the creation. Both together form one whole. Even as man is not complete without his body, so he cannot be considered apart from his second body--which we call the world...
This bit makes me feel like Kuyper is actually the lovechild of John Calvin and Jane Goodall. This is an intriguing idea, this innate unity between man and earth. I wonder what Kuyper would have thought of the Apollo missions.
Kuyper goes onto explain the effects of sin, and how through one curse man and all creation suffer death. Then, in speaking of rebirth, Kuyper makes reference to the Apostle Peter's monologue in Acts 3:19-21 which reads, Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.
There's that silly connection again: restoration/redeem/refresh/rebirth of all things. Hmm...
Moving forward, when speaking of Christ's work on the cross, Kuyper exclaims that all of creation is bound to submit to Christ's authority and physical conquering of the grave. Kuyper describes it as something done of force; But the creation with all its energies and powers, however much they resist, must be subject to Christ. In his resurrection He has in fact won over them. They must become what He wills them to be...
Okay, all this is well and good, but what is my gorilla loving Abe's point. Perhaps this: Even as our curse was completed only through the curse upon the creation, so also our rebirth will find its completion only in the rebirth or the restoration of the creation.
Kuyper has made the case for the compulsory renewal of all creation. His point includes the belief that man cannot simply find the regenerated kingdom in a state of simple soulness. By no means! We were birthed from the dust of this earth, and from that reborn dust we shall remain forever.
Calvin-Goodall Man concludes: The rebirth of our inner man is only the beginning of our complete regeneration. It will be completed only in the renewal of all things. In between lies the contest of faith.
Now it is clear to me.
MY BIG HAPPY CONCLUSION:
DINOSAURS ARE COMING BACK, BABY!!