We are made in the image of God, our Creator. So it’s part of human nature to want to create beautiful works, whether through art, architecture, music, or literature. As a Christian writer, I long to follow in my Creator’s footsteps. I yearn not only to create something beautiful for the delight of others, but also as a means to awaken their spirits to the goodness and glory of God and His creation.
Give to the LORD the glory due to his name;
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
~ Psalm 29:2 AKJV
Our Lord is described as “the Word”: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jesus told stories (parables) to illustrate His teachings, and several biblical writers created beautiful poetic books, such as the Psalms, the Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes. Therefore, as a follower of the Lord, I feel a desire to serve Him by learning how to artfully employ words in order to proclaim the gospel.
I believe my desire to write is a divine calling from God. I view works of literary art not just as human creations, but God creating through their authors. The Holy Spirit and the beauty of God’s Word inspire me in my creative endeavours to express God’s love for the world. I wish to use my creative gift to praise God, and I hope others will experience and praise Him through my creations. I want to dramatically change readers’ hearts and transform them into worshippers of God, either by awakening a desire in their heart to get to know Him or reawakening their long-lost faith.
One of my goals is to tell God’s glorious message in a way that won’t make my writing sound preachy. That tone turns off readers, turns their hearts away from God, and it definitely doesn’t create beautiful literary art. I strive to create images or word pictures that will convey the truth of God’s Word without making it seem incomprehensible or objectionable to the uninitiated. John the Baptist, King David, Jesus, and many other great messengers of God used word pictures to preach the truth of the gospel. God generously gives me the freedom to use my creative skills to pass along the knowledge I’ve received for the benefit of others (Exodus 35:34-35).
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power
and divine nature, have been clearly perceived,
ever since the creation of the world,
in the things that have been made.
~ Romans 1:20 ESV
Just as I catch glimpses of God in the beauty of the natural world He created, I also can see His grandeur in the beautiful works of art created by the human hand. Such artistry inspires me to use figurative language, like metaphors, to create beautiful literary art that conveys the meaning and truth of the gospel message. Orson Scott Card, an American novelist whose faith influences his writing, has taught several creative writing courses and written two books on this topic. He says, “Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.”¹
The great theologian, author, and hymnodist, Martin Luther, understood well the value of creating beautiful literary art to reveal the Word of God: “Certainly it is my desire that there shall be as many poets and rhetoricians as possible, as I see that by these studies as by no other means, people are wonderfully fitted for the grasping of sacred truth and for handling it skillfully and happily”²
Words have the power to transform hearts and minds (Romans 12:2). The world needs more beautiful writing—poetry and prose, drama and songs—that reveals the truth.
Whose writing do you consider beautiful? How will you create beautiful literary art?
¹Orson Scott Card Quotes. BrainyQuote.com, BrainyMedia Inc, 2019. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/orson_scott_card_108637, accessed July 5, 2019.
²Martin Luther, Letter to Eoban Hess, 29 March 1523. Werke, Weimer edition, Luthers Briefwechsel, 111, 50. Cited in Donald T. Williams, “Christian Poetics, Past and Present,” in The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing ed. Leland Ryken, Shaw Books, 2002, p. 8.