Excellence and the Image of God
June 6, 2012 2 Comments
Recently I watched an old movie about Beethoven and found myself intrigued by the notion of God-given talent. How can it be that extraordinary genius can and often is at home in someone with no obvious commitment or connection to God? As Salieri said in the movie Amadeus, How can this be? How can music so lovely (like Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, or Mozart’s Piano Sonatas) not be directly inspired by God Himself?
Of course it’s true that any Hollywood rendition of a person’s life isn’t likely to be 100% accurate, especially of someone from so long ago. Certainly Hollywood is known to sensationalize for the sake of pleasing an audience. There are varying accounts of Beethoven’s life, and who his Immortal Beloved might have been. But the fact is we don’t have much evidence to suggest Beethoven was especially tuned in to God or relied upon Him to nourish his talent.
I’ve met some extraordinarily talented writers in the past 20+ years I’ve been involved in the publishing world. While a great many of them are wonderful people (particularly in the Christian field) I’ve also met the occasional egotistical snob (even in the Christian field). Despite obvious personal shortcomings, they’ve created some wonderful stories and characters.
The same is probably true of painters and sculptors and other geniuses. Someone can be blessed with extraordinary talent but have no sense whatsoever of where that talent came from. Yet God blesses whom He blesses—for their sake? Perhaps for all our sakes.
Could such artistic talent be an evolutionary accident? Do atheist geniuses really believe we all came from pond scum? I don’t see how that can be true, otherwise perhaps animals all over the planet would have evolved at least a little bit in the artistic realm to produce a masterpiece or two, don’t you think?
It’s my firm belief that such talent, whether or not a person realizes or acknowledges it, exists because we’re all made in the image of the same artistic God. One who cannot help but rejoice in excellence, for the pure sake of art.
In this area we all share some little bit of God whether we acknowledge Him or not. Granted, some have been given or have been able to develop more talent than others, but all of us have some capacity to create and an innate ability to recognize beauty. We can’t help it; it’s part of the DNA God poured into us.
This week, as I pick up an old classic (I’m reading Wuthering Heights with my Book Club) I think I’ll be reminded of God’s blessing. And I’ll rejoice in it.
How about you? When was the last time some sort of art stole your breath away? Next time that happens . . . why not offer up a praise to the creative God of the Universe!