Do Not Confuse the Artwork for the Artist

By: Fr. Michael J. McKinnon

reflectionThe creation reflects (i.e., is an icon of) the Creator.  We can see something of the Creator in the beauty, majesty and wonder of His Creation.  Just as one can see something of an artist reflected in his/her artwork, so we can see something of God reflected in the splendor and grandeur of His creation.  However, the creation, as awesome and seemingly infinite as it is, is not God and should not be confused with God.  Rather, it is something distinct from God.  God is wholly other from His creation.  We must not confuse the artwork with the artist Himself.  No matter how much a piece of art reflects the artist and points beyond itself to the artist (and toward those ideas for which the artist created it), it can never become the artist.  It remains the work of the artist.  (But, what if the Artist could join himself to his work?  What if he could enter into his own art joining himself to his artwork?…ahhhh….for that read on).  God is infinite and we are finite.  He is the Creator and we are the creation, “the work of His hand”.  How hard it is for man to rejoice in his beauty as an icon (i.e., the artwork) of God and yet accept that he himself is NOT God.  It has become popular to believe in the “divinity of all things”.  The creation desiring to be God was the first sin (both of the angels – e.g., Lucifer – and of mankind, as depicted in the story of Adam and Eve).  However, there is no God, but God!  Also, just as the Creator is One, so the creation is one.  There is a oneness of all things.  And yet, just as there is a distinction within God (i.e., the Three Persons of the Trinity…the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), so there is a distinction in the creation.  For the creation reflects the Creator, both His oneness and His distinction of persons.  The creation is one and it is distinct.  Therefore, rejoice in your oneness with others and in your distinction as a person.  As Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, once said, “There will never be another one like you”.  We must not emphasize our oneness at the expense of our personal distinctiveness, nor emphasize our distinctiveness at the expense of our oneness.  We are both.  So rejoice in both.  How can we who are but the icon and not the Iconographer (i.e., the artwork and not the Artist) share in the life of God the Divine Artist?  We can’t!  We, who are finite, cannot attain to Him who is infinite.  As I said above, God is wholly other.  However, just as husband and wife are two distinct persons and become one through holy matrimony, so God the Creator and His creation remain distinct and yet are one as a bride and groom are one.  That is why God who is infinite became finite, to join Himself to His own creation in a most intimate way.  He joined Himself to His creation as a groom joins himself to his bride.  This is known as the incarnation, “God becoming man in the Person of Jesus Christ”.  We could not attain to God, so God came to us in the person of Jesus.  Therefore, we worship not ourselves or any part of creation, but God as the Creator.  For He alone is God.  And, we rejoice that God, by joining Himself to His creation, calls us into a most personal and intimate relationship with Him in Jesus.

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