How God uses the imagination

More from my interview with Mathew Block, who asks how God uses our human imaginations to reach us.

CL: How does God use imagination to address humanity?

We believe in the Incarnation—that God became flesh. The Second Person of the Trinity became flesh, became a human being and dwelt among us [John 1:14]. God makes Himself tangible. He becomes one of us so that we can know Him. We also believe in His cross—that Jesus came and took into Himself the sins and sorrows of the world. He physically died for them and physically rose from the dead. The central tenet of Christianity then is about something very tangible.

Even in Christian worship, that message is repeated and proclaimed in physical, tangible ways. In the waters of baptism, Christ makes us part of His body. In the bread and wine, we receive His body and His blood. He gives us His Spirit, yes, but He also gives us His body and His blood. These things—water, bread, and wine—are tangible. And as tangible things, they address us in our imagination. It’s understandable then why so much of Christian art draws on the Sacraments. They address our imaginations, and are a means of reaching us on a very deep level.

via Canadian Lutheran Online » Blog Archive » The Christian Imagination: An Interview with Gene Veith.

I would add that God addresses our imagination by giving us His Word to read and hear, through human language.  Reading engages our imagination more than anything else, since when we read narratives, descriptions, figures of speech, etc., we picture them in our minds, using the faculty of imagination.  So God communicates with us, addressing all of our faculties, by giving us a Book.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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