Art: A Gift From the Divine
Human civilization has produced countless books on what constitute true beauty. Theists know that all the wonders in the world come from Heaven. Profound art is an attempt to emulate and display the beauty of Heaven in the human world. An artist’s inspiration comes from the gods.
If artists receive the enlightenment and blessings from gods, they can become outstanding figures in their fields.
With strong faith and devotion to the divine, great artists during the Renaissance plumbed their ingenuity to create works in praise of gods. Their righteous thoughts and benevolent acts received divine affirmation and blessing. Artists in the mid-Renaissance period, including Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Rafael, grasped techniques that far exceeded their predecessors and their peers, as if by miracle. Their works — including paintings, statues, and architecture — became the timeless classics of the art world.
For centuries, these works set a noble example for humanity. By appreciating these works, not only can the artists of later generations study pure artistic technique, but members of the public are also able to truly feel and see the divine presence. When these works, the techniques that created them, and the spirit that infused the artists, are all preserved, human society is able to maintain a connection with the divine. Then, even as human society goes through its period of decadence and decline, there will be hope for a return to tradition and a path to salvation.
The same principles prevail in the sphere of music. As the saying, reportedly from a German opera house, goes: “Bach gave us God’s word. Mozart gave us God’s laughter. Beethoven gave us God’s fire. God gave us music that we might pray without words.” For his entire life, Johann Sebastian Bach considered the praise, worship, and devotion to God the highest principle in the creation of his music. On all of his important musical scores, the letters SDG can be seen — an abbreviation of “Soli Deo gloria,” meaning “Glory to God alone.”
This is the highest realm an artist can attain — the materialization of heavenly objects in the human realm through revelation from God. The great paintings and statues, the most sublime scores in the early, baroque, and classical canon, were all the work of religious believers and represent the pinnacle of artistic work man can attain.
The three most important elements in artistic creation are representation, creation, and communication. All artistic creations contain a theme, that is, the message the author seeks to communicate regardless of the art form, whether poem, painting, statue, photography, novel, play, dance, or film. The artist delivers the theme into the hearts of the reader, listener, or viewer. This process is the communication — the transmission to the recipient of the artist’s mind.
To achieve the goal of communication, artists must possess a superb ability to imitate and re-present — with the object of imitation being the world of gods or of man, or even the underworld. On the basis of their target of representation, artists began their creation — a process of refining the deeper or more essential elements of the object, and the strengthening of their own expressiveness or ability to communicate and reach into the heart of their audience. If the artist possesses a righteous faith in the divine and in morality, the divine will endow him with the inspiration of creation. Such works will then be divine, pure, and benevolent — beneficial to both the artist and society.
On the other hand, when the artist abandons moral standards, negative elements hijack the creative process, with evil forces exerting influence and using the artist to depict hideous creations and grotesqueries from the underworld. Works of this kind harm their author and the wider society.
The value of the orthodox, traditional arts thus becomes clear. Divine culture and art in the East and the West were connections woven between the gods and human civilization, and were meant to bring them into contact. The ideas and messages transmitted through this art are beauty, benevolence, light, and hope. On the other hand, corrupt arts are created by those under the control of evil elements. They drive a wedge between man and God and drag man closer to evil.
From Chapter Eleven: Desecrating the Arts