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Christian Apologetics: An Artist's Perspective


Acrylic seascape painting of a woman on the seashore with seagulls by Sara Joseph
In His Presence, Acrylic, Sara Joseph

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.

Psalm 145:3-4

 

Christian apologetics began with the need to defend our faith in God from those who would challenge it. The word comes from the classical Greek word "apologia," a legal term used by the defendant for a rebuttal when the prosecution delivers the ‘kategoria’, or the charge.


The charge is "There is no God," and the rebuttal is "Look around and let me show you!"


In a world replete with those who shake their fists at the mention of God rather than raise their hands in praise, Christian apologetics is, sadly, necessary!


Detail of acrylic painting by Sara Joseph of gulls flying titled In His Presence
In His Presence, Detail, Sara Joseph

As an artist, God's created world inspires and fills me with awe. Many lifetimes would be insufficient to explore it all. What a colossal waste of the gift of life to deny God's existence or rail at Him in the few precious hours we are granted on earth. How much better, instead, to spend it contemplating the immensity of His genius!

 

"Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1: 20

 

I thought it would be good to present just one created being that makes an excellent apologia for any artist, familiar with creative challenges, to appreciate the indisputable, breathtaking genius of God.



Creative Design Challenge


If you could, how would you design an object that can

  • Withstand enormous pressure—not momentary or brief, but constant and intense pressure, the equivalent of 1600 elephants standing on a small car

  • Navigate through impenetrable darkness

  • Endure the frigid temperatures of the deepest trenches of the ocean?

I’ll make it easy— you do not have to make it a living, organic thing, needing to be fed and sustained! Just tackle the pressures and the temperatures and give it mechanical eyes to see.


The best minds in the world did succeed at this challenge.


They created a sturdy camera designed to travel deeper than man had ever explored. It descended 4.6 miles below the surface of the sea. The flesh and blood designers of this camera stayed safely warm above the waters, watching with curiosity to see what they might discover in the depths of the ocean.


They did not really expect much.


If they themselves went that deep, they knew their flesh would be crushed. Attempting to resurface from those depths would cause fragile human bodies to literally explode!


Their creation, the heavy-duty, sturdily reinforced camera withstood cold and pressure and could view the bottom of the deepest trenches of the ocean. They did not have to concern themselves with sustaining it with nourishment, or even bother imparting life replicating properties—it was a machine.


But what LIFE might they find that deep, where they themselves dare not descend? Cognizant of their fleshly limitations, the imagination of these scientists only stretched to the possibility of finding small, frail and listless creatures, if they discovered any life at such depths at all.


“We thought the deepest fishes would be motionless, solitary, fragile individuals eking out an existence in a food-sparse environment,” says Professor Monty Priede, director of Oceanlab.

Snail Fish
Snail Fish, Image Source: www.treehugger.com

If I were blessed with even a smidgen of ability, my imagination would only create blind, armor-plated, gigantic creatures with rock hard bodies (to keep them from imploding or exploding!) moving ponderously along the ocean floor!


Yet what they discovered in the deepest trenches of the ocean was the opposite!! Snail fish look like fragile, albino catfish, yet possess miraculous ability to withstand extreme pressure and cold. They also have unique vision for the darkest depths!


Imagine the challenge of sustaining and multiplying such creatures—shrimp and the carcasses of other sea creatures being their only dietary fare!


Amazingly, there they are, 5 miles below sea level—active, energetic, delightful creatures, flaunting the sheer genius of their Maker! Using the familiar form of a fish, God created countess complex variations of these snail fish that confound and delight.


With human creativity there is often a debate—does form follow function, or is it the other way around? In this creature, both criteria are met with finesse.


The genius of God exhibits no compelling need for applause. The existence of these creatures was unknown until fairly recently. They were hidden from human eyes for eons of time! What an excellent example of a Christian apologetic for an amazing God, who we call our Father! He is worthy of praise and yet leaves praise as an autonomous choice for man to make.


He rejoices when man, the only created being made in His image, comprehends the unique challenges of such creativity— insight that comes only upon engaging in creative exploits of his own. God then delights to reveal His genius from the depths of the ocean floor to the highest heights of space!

 

"And these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him! Who then can understand His power?" Job 26:14

 

The audacity of those who dare to challenge His existence, in the face of such creativity, is stunning! Reverential awe is the only appropriate response.


The complexity and richness of His created world should leave us breathless in appreciation, arguing for more than merely His existence, but also for His majesty and glory!



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