The Image Reflected

This is Tony Reinke’s conclusion to an article considering the value of art by non-believers. See the entire piece here.

“So here’s a brief summary of what I have learned over the months in reading on this topic:

  1. The artistic gift in man is intrinsic.
  2. The artistic creativity of God is on display in his creation.
  3. The human artistic impulse is, at least in part, a reflection of God’s image.
  4. God delights in Himself and therefore delights in the reflection of his own character, artistic beauty being one reflection of Him in our culture.
  5. Non-Christian artists, while remaining in a state of enmity with God, will never achieve their fullest artistic potential.

This perspective offers the Christian a wide foundation for the appreciation of non-Christian art in these ways:

  • It will open our eyes to God’s common grace in the art around us.
  • It will remind us that in every gifted artist we see a reflection of The Artist, the source of all goodness, truth, and beauty.
  • It will help us appreciate the gifts of non-Christian artists and the beauty of non-Christian art.
  • It will protect us from glorifying the glittering mirrors rather than the Sun.
  • It will remind us that the artistic potential of non-Christians, no matter how great, is tragically limited.
  • It will remind us that while there is beauty in non-Christian art to be enjoyed, art is not a “neutral territory” that should be pursued without a concern for God and truth.
  • Finally, it will remind us that God’s highest purpose for art is beautiful work that flows from an artist who lives and works under the fear of God and under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and expresses that artistic talent with the goal of bringing glory to The Artist.”

Tony Reinke


  1. Point number 5 is ironic if it’s true. How much “Christian” art is deemed to be the pinnacle of artistic excellence? (By “Christian” art, I am referring to the subset of art made by Christians that is designed to fit into a Christian marketplace.)

  2. I think it is to be assumed that neither Christian nor non-Christian will reach what we call “human potential” in number 5. But unbelievers are stuck with only human potential and have no idea that their feeble artistry is a long forgotten ability remaining, though tarnished, from their original source.

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