the glory of God is a human being fully alive; and to be alive consists in beholding God. ~saint irenaeus
whenever i am trying to make sense of something that is theoretical or philosophical in nature, it is often helpful for me to break the larger concept down into more manageable pieces. and so in thinking about my series, it seemed as if ‘life’ and ‘art’ were the two most complex topics to wrap my head around.
even if i was an expert in these two fields of study, in the course 31 days there isn’t enough time or space for me to write extensively about either. but i do feel as if at least a brief discussion about life and art is necessary. and so because without ‘life’ there would be no ‘art’ (at least in my human experience) i decided to start there.
at it’s most basic definition, merriam-webster defines life as:
- the ability to grow, change, etc., that separates plants and animals from things like water or rocks
- the period of time when a person is alive
- the experience of being alive
this makes sense. there is something unique to living things that makes them different from inanimate objects. but how is life possible? where did life come from?
for me, in order to answer these questions, i turn to my faith.
for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. he made the things we can see and the things we can’t see. everything was created through him and for him. ~col 1:16
before there was life, there was God. and out of his perfect love and supreme glory he created everything. out of nothing, God created everything. every living and non-living piece of matter from infinitesimally smallest sub-atomic particles to the cosmically vast universe, it is all part of God’s Creation. and all of exists because God willed it into being. and furthermore, it is only through God’s will that it remains in existence.
we, too, are part of Creation. but as opposed to the other living creatures of the earth, God created us in his likeness and image (gen 1:27). God breathed his life into us:
then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. he breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. ~ genesis 2:7
by virtue of breathing his life into us, God imparted into us a spiritual soul…it is in this way that we resemble God. and it is because of this spirit that we have the capacity for knowledge. a capacity for love.
the thing is, i’ve never been one to wonder how God created…the bigger question for me has always been why. and once again, i turn to my faith for the answer in that matter as well.
for everything comes from God alone. everything lives by his power, and everything is for his glory. to him be glory evermore. ~romans 11:36
we exist because God loves us. God gave us life so that he could love us. and our greatest goal, our purpose in life is to glorify God.
as emily p. freeman says, there are ‘a million little ways’ to glorify God, both big and small. but the one thing i know for sure is that glorifying God is not something to be checked off of the to-do list.
no, i believe that glorifying God is not so much a way of doing…but rather a way of being. it is in knowing him and loving God that we fulfill our purpose in life. and it is through this relationship with God that we are able to experience joy.
i hope i haven’t completely run you off here…i know this is some deep, heavy stuff. and for the record, it is not my intention to make this series a theological dissertation on the meaning of life. however….to talk about life without giving a nod to my beliefs about how and why i have a life to talk about in the first place would be, well….meaningless.
for me, seeing my life in this way has brought me immense peace and joy. and for the next 31 days (and beyond) this is the truth which will guide my journey.