Wednesday, August 31, 2005

God's mandate to create, imperfectly followed

I found this quite enlightening:

In Genesis 4 we read about Cain (who built a city called Enoch), Jabal (the ancestor of those who live in tents and keep livestock), Jubal (the ancestor of those who play the lyre and pipe), Tubal-Cain (who made all kinds of bronze and iron tools), and Lamech (who wrote poetry [more questionable IMHO]). We thus must not assume that all this cultural activity is a result of sin. On the contrary, these cultural achievements come about when men and women develop the potentials that God has built into his creation. Such pursuits are essentially good, not evil. This is what Hans Rookmaker means in his small book Art Needs No Justification. Rookmaker did not mean that we should embrace art for art's sake. The justification for art is that God has made the world with the human potential for imaginative, artistic activity. Cultural activity is a fundamental way in which we may serve and glorify God. In the context of Genesis 4, however, we are reminded that sinful humans misdirect such good, cultural activities.

(Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen, The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story, 2004, Grand Rapids:Baker Academic, pp. 48-49)

In their jargon this is part of creation/cultural mandate for humanity to 'develop hidden potentials in creation'.


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