Peter Paul Rubens
The Resurrection of Christ
New Creation and the Artist's Role
The biblical concept of "new creation" refers to the transformation of the world and humanity through the power of God's redemptive work. This is seen in passages such as 2 Corinthians 5:17 which states, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" The idea of a new creation is also seen in the Book of Revelation, where John describes a vision of a renewed heaven and earth. It represents a complete overhaul of the current world and a fresh start for humanity, with the removal of sin, death, and the effects of the fall.
Creative acts have the potential to promote attentiveness to God's order in many ways.
Reflection of God's creativity: As human beings, we are made in the image of God, who is the creator of all things. By engaging in creative acts, we are participating in the very image of God, and reflecting his creative character.
Awareness of God's order: Through creative acts, we can become more aware of the beauty, complexity, and order in the world around us. This can help us to appreciate God's handiwork and see the evidence of his wisdom and design in all things.
Promotion of peace: Creative acts can promote a sense of peace and tranquility in our lives. As we focus on our art, we can take a break from the distractions of life and allow ourselves to be present in the moment. This can promote a sense of calm and help us to focus on God's presence and order in the world.
Encouragement of gratitude: Engaging in creative acts can also help us to cultivate a spirit of gratitude. As we reflect on the beauty and wonder of creation, we are reminded of God's goodness and love for us, and can respond with gratitude and thanksgiving.
The presence we experience in art can lead us to put on the mind of Christ by helping us to connect with the divine and to cultivate a deeper understanding of God's love, grace, and compassion. Through artistic expression, we can gain new insights into the complexities of human experience and deepen our appreciation for the beauty and diversity of creation.
For Christians, this kind of engagement with art can serve as a spiritual practice that helps us to grow in our relationship with God and to develop a more Christ-like perspective. By contemplating works of art that embody love, compassion, and justice, we can begin to see the world in a new light and to embody these values in our own lives.
Furthermore, the emotional impact of art can help us to connect with our own experiences of suffering, joy, and hope, and to see these experiences in a new light. By engaging with art that explores the depths of the human experience, we can be moved to action, inspired to seek justice, and called to put on the mind of Christ.
A vision of art as new creation can challenge the model of the artist as a heroic individual.
Collective effort: The idea of new creation suggests that art is not solely the product of one individual, but is a collective effort between the artist, the audience, and the divine. This collective effort places a greater emphasis on community and collaboration in the creation and interpretation of art.
Redefining success: A vision of art as new creation shifts the focus from individual achievement and recognition to the impact that the artwork has on the world. Success is redefined as making a positive contribution to society and creating something that has the power to inspire and transform.
Decentralizing authority: By recognizing that the creative process is not solely in the hands of the artist, but is a collaboration with the divine and the audience, the authority of the artist as an individual is decentralized. This means that the power to create and interpret art is shared, rather than being solely in the hands of the artist.
Emphasizing humility: The idea of art as new creation emphasizes the importance of humility in the creative process. Artists are encouraged to recognize their own limitations and to seek guidance and inspiration from the divine and their community. This can lead to a greater sense of humility and a deeper appreciation of the creative process as a collaborative effort.
The biblical idea of new creation can be reflected in everyday life.
Hope and renewal: The idea of new creation offers hope and renewal, reminding individuals that even in difficult times, there is always the possibility for a fresh start and a better future. This can inspire people to work towards creating positive change in their communities and in the world.
Community building: The idea of new creation emphasizes the importance of community and collaboration, and encourages individuals to build strong and supportive relationships with others. This can lead to greater understanding, empathy, and compassion among people.
Care for the environment: New creation also involves a responsibility to care for and protect the earth, as it is seen as a sacred gift from God. This can inspire individuals to live sustainably, reduce their carbon footprint, and work towards preserving the environment for future generations.
Service and generosity: The idea of new creation encourages individuals to engage in acts of service and generosity, as they are seen as expressions of God's love and grace in the world. This can inspire people to give of their time, resources, and talents to help others, creating a more compassionate and just society.
Creativity and imagination: New creation also involves the use of creativity and imagination to bring about positive change in the world. This can inspire individuals to embrace their own creativity and to use it in ways that benefit their communities and the world at large.
A visual culture based on the principle of new creation can help attend to ruptures in the social fabric by inspiring individuals to reimagine and reconstruct our relationships, institutions, and social systems in more equitable and just ways. This kind of visual culture can serve as a powerful tool for promoting empathy, understanding, and compassion, and for fostering social change.
For example, visual arts that celebrate diversity, challenge oppressive power structures, and uplift marginalized communities can help us to see the world in a new light, and inspire us to work towards creating a more equitable and just society. Similarly, films, videos, and other media that explore human experience from a wide range of perspectives can help us to understand the experiences of others, and to empathize with those who have been marginalized or oppressed.
Additionally, visual arts that engage with themes of renewal, transformation, and hope can help to rekindle a sense of optimism and possibility in individuals, inspiring them to work towards creating a more loving, just, and sustainable world. By exploring new possibilities and alternatives, visual arts based on the principle of new creation can help us to heal social divisions, and to imagine and bring about a more equitable and just society.