Worship is an act of awe. Artists who have detached themselves from a religious grounding, don’t fly but merely float away. Their creativity has no reference point. They try to be original. They try to be different. They try to shock. But endless shock merely makes us senseless. We have lost our true appreciation of surprise because we have the purpose of creativity precisely backwards. “The function of imagination,” says Chesterton, “is not to make strange things settled, so much as to make settled things strange; not so much to make wonders facts as to make facts wonders.
G.K. Chesterton and the Use of the Imagination
Artwork: Toil Today Dream Tonight, by Vincent Van Gogh
Its true that we learn a lot from science about how we function, but there’s a danger in thinking knowledge of how we function is the full account of what we are. If you’re a chemist who is really interested in the optical properties of certain pigments you could analyse the Mona Lisa and describe it completely, but you would never have mentioned the face, which is the meaning of this thing. In that way a neuroscientist can put together an enormously impressively picture of the brain, but would not have described what goes on when we react to another person.
It is an art. It is the best of all possible art, a finite picture of the infinite. Assess it like prose, like poetry, like architecture, sculpture, painting, dance, delta blues, opera, tragedy, comedy, romance, epic. Assess it like you would . . . a love story, a tornado, a smile, a heartbreak, a sweater, a hunger pain, a desire, a fulfillment, a desert, a waterfall, a song, a race, a frog, a play, a song, a marriage, a consummation, a thirst quenched.
Assess it like that. And when you’re done, find an ant and have him assess the cathedrals of Europe.
―N. D. Wilson
Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder
in God’s Spoken World