Sunday, June 11, 2006

God, Art & Metaphor (Part 1)

God is an artist. God is the Artist. He is creator. He molds and sculpts us. He expresses Himself in the work of creation - in creative works. Like all artists, He communicates and expresses Himself in metaphor. Because we are made in His image, we are bound to be like Him in any creative endeavor. Our artwork, no matter the medium, is a metaphorical expression of ourselves – our mind, our will, our emotions, and our vision.

Art is metaphor.

Do you remember Jr. High English class?

Metaphor: something which represents something else without using “like” or “as”. If you use “like” or “as” it is no longer a metaphor, but a “simile”.

Art is metaphor and God is the Artist.

Yaweh/Jehovah – “I AM”


…the Light of the World
…the Vine
…the Gate
…the Bread of Life
…the Good Shepherd
…Living Water
…the Way
…the Truth
…the Life

(not like these things – He is each one – that’s metaphor)

God is

…the Alpha and Omega
…the bright and Morning Star
…the Lion of Judah
…a pillar of fire
…an encompassing cloud
…King of Kings
…Lord of Lords

God, You are

…my Rock
…my Refuge
…my Shelter
…my Sword
…my Shield

God expresses Himself to us in limitless metaphor. A rainbow is God’s promise. He is a stream of living water. Water saved Noah and his family and then becomes the metaphor for the washing away of our sin in baptism. Baptism by immersion (read any Greek lexicon – the meaning is to immerse, to plunge) is a metaphor for being buried with Christ and raised with Christ, our sins washed away (I don’t think other modes of baptism are wrong, but I do believe they are incomplete metaphors).

God told the prophets to express their message in metaphor. Ezekiel builds a model siege. Jeremiah takes a yoke, puts it on his shoulders and walks through the streets. Jeremiah visits the potter’s house and sees God reshaping Israel like marred vessel. Hosea is told to marry a whore as a metaphor of God being married to unfaithful Israel. The tabernacle and the temple were metaphors in their design, in their decoration, and in their furnishing.

Some of Jesus’ parables were similes: “The Kingdom of God is like…”
But many were metaphors: “A certain man had two sons…”

Attempting to understand God without understanding art, creation and metaphor will lead to a conceptualization that is woefully inadequate and impotent.

Next post: God, Art, & Metaphor Part II - Why Care?

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At 9:45 AM, Blogger unmuzzled said...

interesting looking foward to part two

At 3:53 PM, Blogger AnonymousCog said...

I saw this article and thought you might find it interesting.


At 12:39 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

Thanks for the remedial English lit lesson. :)

AC @ bloggedy blog

At 2:40 PM, Blogger unmuzzled said...

hey where did you go? vacation?

At 8:42 AM, Anonymous joel said...

The Bible, I find, uses a variety of metaphors for baptism. The "washings" mentioned in Hebrews 9, e.g., are literally "baptisms" and point back to OT washings none of which were performed by submersion.


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