I met last night with some old friends in the music scene. We used to do some weekly bible studies together many, many years ago. I sorta miss those times. It reminds me again that there are many people working in the entertainment industry who are deeply religious or spiritual. The most refreshing part was to discover that they have continued to nurture their faith over the years and come to a more mature understanding of what it means to be a Christian and live and work in this world.
What is the first commandment in the Bible?
When asked that question, most people tend to jump to the ten commandments and engage their rusty brains to recollect some hazy Sunday School lesson about, thou shalt have no other gods… But I really mean the first commandment ever uttered by God in the biblical narrative.
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion…” (Gen 1:28). Isn’t that interesting? This is actually referred to by theologians as the Cultural Mandate. Go and make culture! Enjoy my creation, it’s like a whole bunch of playdough. So make something out of it. Fill the earth!
What do we fill the earth with? Music, Art, Architecture, Philosophy, Books, Laws, Industries, Cities, Science, Innovations, Civlizations … Culture!
That’s one reason why I think God affirms artists, even those who don’t acknowledge him. But how much more the ones that do! Anyways, whether they acknowledge God or not, they are demonstrating their endowed creativity in the most amazing ways. And we ought to be able to appreciate their genius, even if the intention gives no honor to God.
But hasn’t creation become corrupt? Isn’t it all filled with sinfulness?
Yes it has, sadly, so that most of our ‘cultural’ attempts in this day and age are really like towers of Babel, intended to give us honor and glory, and make a name for ourselves (Gen 11:4). But the Cultural Mandate still stands. After the flood, God said to Noah and his descendants,
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth!” (Gen 9:1)
Go make some culture today!