1.1 Good and Evil, and Art
Copyright © Jonathan Martinovici 2018
In order to know which ways of using art are good or evil in the light of God’s word, the Bible, we need to look at how God’s word defines good and evil, and how the Bible speaks of good and evil. Below are Bible passages about good and evil, each followed by a brief comment.
Psalm 119:68, “You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes.”
- God Himself is good in His character, and His works are good. His commandments are also good.
Psalm 107:1, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.”
- God is good.
1 John 1:5, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”
- God is without any imperfection, corruption or shortcoming at all.
James 1:13, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.”
- Evil is contrary to God’s nature. God is by nature good.
Genesis 1:12, “And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”
- When God created the world, it was Everything God created was originally good. The good nature of His creation flowed from His own good character and nature.
- God’s creation flowed from His character similarly as our own actions flow from our own character.
Ecclesiastes 7:29 “Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright; But they have sought out many schemes.”
- The nature of man when he was first created by God, was good and upright. Man’s nature and will accorded with the nature and will of God before man sinned.
Job 1:8, “Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
- God’s word uses the words “blameless” and “upright” to signify similar things: “without corruption”. Moral integrity; pleasing to God, etc.
1 Timothy 4:4, “every creature of God is good.”
- All things are good in their nature as designed by God, considered apart from their corruption through the Fall.
1 John 3:23, “we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
- God is pleased by certain things, for they are “pleasing in His sight.” And His pleasure is good, because His nature is good and includes His pleasure.
Hebrews 11:5, “before [Enoch] was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”
- As above.
Table of applications to art:
|Good is:||Therefore, Good Art will:|
|· fundamentally, God’s character and nature||· conform to God’s character and nature|
|· what pleases God||· please God|
|· what is according to nature as God created it (and, in this way, according to God’s character)||· accord with nature the way God made it (and, in this way, accord with God’s character)|
|· what is according to God’s commandments||· accord with God’s commandments|
Genesis 6:5-6, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”
- Evil grieves God, makes.
- We should also note here: God sorry. God’s character includes grief. God’s character is good without any corruption or imperfection. Therefore God’s grief is good, because His nature is good and without any corruption and imperfection, and includes grief.
Ephesians 4:30-32, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
- Sin grieves God. Some actions grieve God. We are told not to do them in this verse. Other things please God. We are told to do them in this verse.
Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”.
- God is angry with sin. He is displeased by it. Sin, or Evil, is that which displeases God.
- Note again: God’s wrath is good, because His nature is good and includes His wrath.
Romans 1:26, “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged their natural use for what is against nature.”
- Sin is against the nature given to things by God. It is against God’s nature.
Ephesians 2:3, “and were by nature children of wrath”.
- Unconverted people are by nature opposed to God, and are therefore contrary to His own nature, and are therefore even contrary to their own nature – against the nature given to them by God.
2 Samuel 11:27, “And when [Bathsheba’s] mourning was over, David sent and brought her to His house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”
- God is displeased by evil.
Habakkuk 1:13, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness.”
- God is displeased with and hates Evil nauseates Him.
Table of applications to art:
|Evil is:||Therefore, an Evil use of Art will:|
|· whatever is contrary to God’s character and nature||· be against God’s character and nature|
|· whatever displeases God||· displease God|
|· whatever is against nature as God made it||· be against nature as God made it|
|· whatever grieves God||· grieve God|
|· whatever provokes God’s wrath||· provoke God’s wrath|
|· whatever breaks God’s commands||· break God’s commands|