Art as Therapeutic Beauty and a Visible “Sermon” to the World

Bibliographic Information: 

Lamb, Gregory E. "Art as Therapeutic Beauty and a Visible 'Sermon' to the World." Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 34.1/2 (2022): 97–116.

This essay contends that God created humanity as His co-creators to bring Him glory with one’s entire being, including imagination and creativity. Throughout Scripture, YHWH is depicted as the artistic Creator of all that is beautiful, true, and transcendent. The Bible attests the creation of humanity in the imago Dei—sharing God’s innate creativity—and divine gifting of Spirit-inspired artisans utilizing their talents for God’s glory. Yet, over the centuries, “art” was often misunderstood and grossly neglected in Christ’s church. Philip Ryken explains how medieval skeptics began removing and destroying art believed to violate the Decalogue. Imbalanced suspicions toward art in Christendom still persist, despite the positive, inspirational effects of icons in Catholic and Orthodox traditions and scientific research that shows the therapeutic value of art across a broad spectrum of mental and physical challenges, including isolation and depression. Makoto Fujimura posits that Christian creatives possess a common faith as “border-walkers,” and can affect phoenix-like positive cultural and ecclesial change by reintroducing beauty as a visible “sermon” into a fragmented, post-pandemic world.

Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies
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