Although society attributes art to secularity, there is immense evidence that God and humanity are the primary sources of creativity. In “Echoes of Eden,” Jerram Barrs explores this notion and encourages evangelicals to embrace art instead of shunning it. Barrs bases his arguments on Daniel Loizeaux’s four key ideas – perfection, diversity, profusion, and inventiveness. Reading Genesis 1:1-31 and analyzing the four aspects based on God’s creative process revealed the function of each element and confirmed that God is a master artist, and the universe and its contents are His masterpieces.
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Perfection is one of the key aspects of God’s creative process. Barrs points out the necessity of perfection in art when he highlights the first of the three elements of Eden. He recognizes that God created “Eden in its original glory,” and it was perfect (Barrs, 2013, p. 26). Therefore, he acknowledges that God’s creation, including the Garden of Eden, is a work of art. The Bible also highlights the aspect of perfection in the creation story. The Bible states that “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good” (New International Version, 1973/2011). The author also quotes John Calvin, a French writer who explored how God created the world as a perfect masterpiece. He says that the “perfection of blessedness” is evident in God’s knowledge, and his perfections manifest in the universe’s structure (Barrs, 2013, p. 12). Thus, the scriptures confirm that God was pleased with his creation because it was perfect.
Diversity is another aspect of creation that Barrs highlights as part of God’s creative process. Barrs (2013) argues that human beings are co-creators because they are made in the image of the master creator, and as such, we all have different levels of interacting with the arts. Some extremely gifted individuals can create art, while others can only appreciate it. The different levels that humans interact with art define diversity, which is also nuanced in the Bible. On the sixth day, God commanded the land to produce different kinds of living creatures. This command prompted the diversity seen in God’s creation, and it is also evident in the different art forms that artists produce.
The story of creation also exudes profusion, an important aspect of art. Barrs notes that God loves abundance, as evidenced in His creation of numerous types of flowers, daily sunsets, numerous galaxies, and billions of stars (Barrs, 2013). In the story of creation, God made flora and fauna in their varying kinds. He also formed the birds, great sea animals, plants, trees, livestock, wild animals, and other creations according to their diverse types (New International Version, 1973/2011). Similarly, human beings as God’s co-creators have produced numerous types of art, following in God’s footsteps of appreciating profusion.
Inventiveness is also evident in God’s creative process. Barrs (2013) acknowledges that God delights in making new things every day and human beings as the co-creators exude this creativity. God created all the contents of the earth anew in seven days. He has also continued to invent and place on earth newer masterpieces that radiate his inventiveness. The book of Genesis highlights the seven days of creation, and each day, God created something new.
In conclusion, art is an important aspect of human life. Barrs explores art in Christianity based on the aspects of perfection, diversity, profusion, and inventiveness. God demonstrated perfection in that He saw everything He created as good and showcased diversity through the different kinds of creations. Profusion is evident in the numerous things that He placed in the universe, while inventiveness emerges from the new designs that He made. Barrs asserts that human beings are co-creators who also validate these aspects in their art.
Barrs, J. (2013). Echoes of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, literature, and the arts. Crossway.
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New International Version Bible. (2011). Biblica. (Original work published 1973)