Tag Archives: Truth

Hobbits, Legends, Myths Echoes of Eden

Desolation of Smaug

I’m excited about the next installment in the Hobbit Movie trilogy by Peter Jackson.  Modern technology and filmmaking have enabled these creative people to make some amazing films.  I am sometimes taken back at the popularity of them. But I shouldn’t really.  For when we consider the great stories of our time, there is something about them that resonates with something bigger, something in the back of our minds, something that says Yes!  Jerram Barrs calls these the “echoes of eden.”

One foundational truth of Christianity is that we have descended from a historical Adam and Eve, who were created by a personal God. They were representing all humanity, and Adam as the first man was placed in a position where he and God lived under a promise. The contract was one with blessing and curse. “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

We know the story, as it is handed down, Eve tempted by the serpent, who was Satan, believed the lie, that God was withholding something, freedom, and she also believed that she wouldn’t die. Adam, I believe, was standing there silently avoiding his responsibility to guard, love and provide for Eve. He took and ate as well.

Things changed. From the moment of Adam’s disobedience, they were no longer in a perfect relationship with God. The curse which follows sin, resulted in not only their physical death and decay of all creation, but also the spiritual death and alienation from God.

The agony of this alienation was brokenness in their relationship with God and also with one another. Hiding in the garden, Adam and Eve try to cover their shame and nakedness.

The story continues. God in the cool of the evening, arrives walking and seeking Adam.

In the midst of the shame God comes. He at once shows his holiness by casting them from the garden and at the same time shows mercy clothing them and showing them the promise of a redeemer.

These first chapters of Genesis, which some consider fairy tales, resonate in us today. Others have looked at the history of God’s plan in terms of Creation, Fall and Redemption. Throughout history mankind has told myths and stories that bring hope from tragedy. There are many stories where a hero from humble birth arrives to save his people, stories of the humble coming to bring restoration through sacrifice.

J.R.R. TolkienI am a great fan of Tolkien. J.R.R. Tolkien was a big proponent of telling stories. He believed that the myths and great stories of time echoed the truth. (Read On Fairy-Stories pdf) Humanity having come from the same parents, bring with them an awareness of truth. It is interesting how even those who are not very interested in spiritual things, love the the story of a Hobbit. We see an humble person part of a greater story. We see the values of courage in the face of fear. We see self sacrifice for the good of others. How many people long for the Return of the King, who defeats the evil Sauron, heals the sick and injured with his touch and brings peace throughout the kingdom?

I believe that the Christian who is a writer, musician, dancer, painter, photographer, designer, composer, director, or in any creative field, has the opportunity to communicate profound ideas from God’s word, communicating what Francis Schaeffer called True Truth.1 We can write great stories, sing great songs, paint wonderful works, that share the same echoes of eden.

We can enjoy the creativity and works that others make as well. We can look with discernment and see where others connect sometimes unknowingly to the very ideas we celebrate in the gospel. For we all long for wholeness and goodness. We all look for someone to help make things right. We ache and groan with all of creation for the moment the King returns to make all things right.

Where do you see the echoes of Eden in the creative work of others?

 

 

 

1. It is an important principle to remember, in the contemporary interest in communication and in language study, that the biblical presentation is that though we do not have exhaustive truth, we have from the Bible what I term true truth. In this way we know true truth about God, true truth about man, and something truly about nature. Thus on the basis of the Scriptures, while we do not have exhaustive knowledge, we have true and unified knowledge.
(Francis A. Schaeffer, Escape From Reason, Ch. 2)

Its the End of the World Again, David Wilcox and Developing a Prophetic Voice

The ability to communicate complexity in a way that helps people think is a creative task. David Wilcox continues to write great lyrics and music that hits you from multiple sides. There is a prophetic voice to many artists. What I mean is not the type of prophetic prediction that the title of his song “End of the World (again)” suggests. But the ability to speak things in such a way that it makes you go hmmm? Wait? Yeah.

Before you begin to analyze all the lyrics on the latest David Wilcox album, my intent is not to bring his work or lyrics to the forefront of this post. What I’m getting at is that a prophetic voice for art is foundational to what art does in a society.

Francis Schaeffer, a 20th Century Theologian and Philosopher, makes the point that artists and art communicate things about where our society is going long before it becomes part of our everyday conversation. A song, a story, a film, a book, a photograph or painting, a drama, architecture or pretty much any art can reveal something on a level that we only begin to discover as we encounter the art itself.

If you are a student of art, you will have experienced times where art spoke to you on a deeper level. The same can be said for those who connect with a story and just know it was good. I find that

to be the case when I read a book and a character or event reminds me of the truths we find true in Christianity. But sometimes truth is more subtle, such as when a character says something that you have wondered or thought and you have this little “yes” go off inside your head.

The prophetic role in the bible was given to one who spoke God’s truth to people. The prophet would communicate about how things truly were. This side of eternity, we live as fallen, blind, humans who unless we have been given spiritual eyes to see, miss even the dimly revealed and sometimes confusing “word” of God. I will one day see face to face but now I see in a glass darkly. (reference Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians chapter 13) The artist can and will continue to dig deeper and struggle to say something that matters. David Wilcox, for example, describes that many of his songs come from a situation that “bugs him for a metaphorical reason.”

I enjoy working with Artists and getting to know how other creatives think. I believe that people of Faith are especially able to communicate through art. The Spirit of God filled Bezallel to create as one of the first artists in the blble given to God’s service in making the tabernacle and all its wonders. Faith and Art can intersect. Sometimes it will be profound and sometimes just ring true. Some art by believers will seem simplistic or trite. Some try to avoid making a statement at all. I’m not sure we should put Christian Art in a box anymore than the prophet could put God in a box.

Artists are not a linear bunch. Things are not neat and tidy. Sometimes we don’t have anything profound to say but what we create can be a vehicle for others to stop and go hmmm? wait? Yeah!

Where do you see Art communicate in a “prophetic” way?

What are some examples of art that made you go hmmm?

Get David’s Album and more at DavidWilcox.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just for Fun – Here is the youtube video