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The Imagination of God: Art, Creativity and Truth in the Bible Kindle Edition
Want to Know God More? Use Your ImaginationThis book was previously released with the title, Word Pictures: Knowing God Through Story and Imagination.
Artist and screenwriter Brian Godawa used to revel in his ability to argue the truth of the Gospel, often intellectually crushing his opponents in the process.
But winning an argument does not equal persuading people to follow Jesus. So what’s missing?
Through prayer and searching the Scriptures, Godawa realized that while God cares deeply for rationality, it wasn’t the only tool he used to reach people with his truth.
He discovered that storytelling, visual images, and other art in the Bible were central to Biblical evangelism and Christian apologetics because they could go places reason could never go: into the imagination and the heart.
The Bible is a Work of ArtWeaving historical insight, pop culture and personal narrative throughout, Godawa reveals the importance God places on imagination and creativity in the Scriptures.
You’ll get a biblical foundation to pursue imagination, creativity, beauty, wonder and mystery in your faith.
You’ll learn what C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien understood: The power of poetry, parables and visual art found in God's Word.
For any Christian who wants to learn Biblical evangelism and Christian apologetics in a postmodern context, this book will help you find a path between the two extremes of intellectualized faith and anti-intellectual faith by recovering a biblical balance between reason and imagination.
- Nancy R. Pearcey, Author, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity, and Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals,and Meaning
"Brian Godawa's book is an exploration of the literary nature of the Bible. It is a spirited and balanced defense of the imagination as a potential conveyer of truth. There is a lot of good literary theory in the book, as well as an autobiographical story line. Pervading all this wealth is a sense of the author's energetic mind.The thoroughness of research makes the book a triumph of scholarship as well."
- Leland Ryken, Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English, Wheaton College, and editor of The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing
"Godawa is one of the best thinkers on Christianity, art and culture writing today. His latest work, [The Imagination of God], encourages a much more holistic viewing of movies and TV, which in turn leads to a more complete understanding of the Word of God. His work will make you want to first reach for your Bible and then view (or, even better, make) art that engages the culture and advances the kingdom of God. He has also convinced me that I am a 'literarialist.' Read this book and you'll probably become one too."
- Dean Batali, TV writer, That '70s Show and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
"Brian Godawa is that rare combination of industry professional and serious intellectual who is respected by the academic community and the media industry as well. When Brian speaks, I make notes, because what he thinks matters. [The Imagination of God] is exactly what the culture needs to hear right now. We've moved from a text-based culture to a visually based culture, and Brian's book is the key to making that transition. It's changed my thinking about understanding the Bible in a postmodern era."
- Phil Cooke, president and creative director, Cooke Pictures, Santa Monica, California
"A timely corrective to those of us who would reduce faith to words and arguments, given by an author who uses words and arguments so well. In[The Imagination of God] Brian Godawa manages to be contemporary without being trendy, faithful to tradition without being hidebound. It should be read by anyone concerned for the well-being of biblical truth in twenty-first-century popular culture."
- Steve Turner, author of Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts
"This book deserves, and will delight, a wide readership. Part autobiography, part biblical studies, part apologetics, part aesthetics, part historical theology, only a 'Renaissance man' like artist-intellectual-communicator Brian Godawa could have brought together 'word' and 'image' with such serene, soaring mastery. I'll be requiring it in my preaching courses."
- Leonard Sweet, author of Out of the Question... Into the Mystery
"This is must reading for anyone interested in the huge question of the use of words and the legitimacy of images for theological and apologetic discourse. Brian Godawa has left no stone unturned. Moving insightfully through the Bible, Luther, Calvin, Tolkien, Lewis and, of course, films, Godawa lays to rest the many fears about images and imagination. More than that, he encourages Christians to get involved in the media, with a view to transforming them rather than hiding behind the safe wall of 'Christian art.'"
- William Edgar, professor of apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia
About the Author
- ASIN : B01JZTLG2C
- Publisher : Warrior Poet Publishing (August 7, 2016)
- Publication date : August 7, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 3147 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 210 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #627,297 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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I received a free advanced copy of The Imagination of God: Art, Creativity and Truth in the Bible, by Brian Godawa in exchange for a fair review of the book. In addition to enjoying the book, I found it of great value for its insights in the areas of art, image, words, creativity and imagination within the Bible , so I purchased a Kindle copy for my family library.
I have previously reviewed his book, God against the gods, and found the insights into the Ancient Near Eastern Worldview to be extraordinarily helpful, so I figured that this one would further my understanding of the Holy Bible in total. I believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, God-breathed word, at least in its original autographs, and I had my eyes opened by God against the gods, so I was prepared for the next installment and I was delighted!!!
In this book, the take home messages for me were that in addition to keeping in mind the Ancient Near Eastern Worldview, and the fact that the Bible was written for us, not to us, it was clear that God’s truths would be communicated in a variety of literary genre, and further, it was vitally important that the literary genre, and its use in those times, be factored into interpretation, just as much as looking through the eyes of an Ancient Near East viewer. Biblical truths can also be communicated through works of art, music, songs and metaphors.
As I was preparing this review, I happened to open the book and the following text jumped off the page: “Images are concrete expressions of abstract ideas, the existential embodiment of the rational word. Images, whether they are stories, pictures, or music, are incarnations of ideas – words made flesh. Image is the personification of logic, the enfleshment of proposition.”
At a later point, I encountered this quote: “Rather than separating himself into the Christian enclave of ‘holy subculture,’ Paul and the other biblical writers interacted redemptively with their Jewish and pagan surroundings. They assimilated Jewish and pagan imagery into a Christian worldview and redefined it. They found points of connection and truth, and affirmed them. They also pointed out where Christianity was distinct and antithetical. But they interacted with the culture…So Christians today should expose themselves to and even participate in the music, movies and television of today with an eye toward the truth – within the media as well as without it.” To me, this is watching movies or plays, or reading books or listening to music or poetry, with the prayer for discernment of the truth and perhaps when necessary, even the opportunity to subvert the problem pieces to a more righteous purpose.
In commenting about some of the works of C.S. Lewis, Brian points out a key principle: “What Lewis had learned, and what I am learning at the outer limits of our engagement with Christian faith through reason alone, is good news: God is bigger than rationality, bigger than imagination and He is Lord of both.”
There is so much in here, that since I wanted to keep it on the shorter side, I’ll just include the following two quotes, with comments:
“The nature of narrative, parables, verbal imagery, metaphors, and stories of visions, miracles and dreams is precisely a literary art form and not a scientific or rationalistic discourse. Just because it is written in words does not negate its artistic nature and does not reduce it to logo-centricity. Both images and words are God’s ‘Word,’ or as we indicated earlier, God’s message.” The take home message here is that the Bible is a literary art form, and has so much to offer us in terms of understanding God’s truth and coming closer to Him, if only we would be open to the possibility.
Brian ends the main part of the book with the following quote: “Our God is a God of both Reason and Imagination, both word and image. The spiritual Logos became incarnate flesh, and embraced the artistry of imagination in his teaching because he knew that the imagination can bring us into contact with truth in a way that reason cannot and vice versa. So we too must embrace that paradigm if we wish to know Him fully and properly express his image in us. Amen.”
This book is a scholarly text that is highly readable and entertaining, something that I’ve come to expect from Brian Godawa. I highly recommend it!! Thanks Brian!
In Imagination of God, (the title has already lured you in), Brian’s style is extremely readable while being informative at the same time. This is rare. While the premise is challenging, he takes the subject head on without pulling punches, so, by the last page, you have had a full course meal of enjoyable learning with the added benefit of a life changing experience.
Man’s relationship to God is covenantal, another premise of the book, and the stipulation of this relationship is that men/women are to exercise dominion over the earth and subdue it. Brian explores this Godly demand under the topic of “subversion.” Therefore, he has given us a valuable tool to live the Christian life with a view to portraying its necessity, beauty and enjoyment, all without using theological buzz words that have a tendency to halt conversation before it begins. For example, if I want to share my worldview with you and I start by using a word like Postmillennialism, that would probably end the conversation but if I talk about leaven, mustard seeds, enemies made into footstools and Satan in chains, meek inheriting the earth, we may get somewhere.
A flowing, easy reading style, time well spent, informative and enjoyable. This is the one to start with, then move on to God Against the gods. You will never understand the Bible or pray in the same way again and that’s life changing.
Brian Godawa masterfully presents biblical subversion in this and how Christians can tackle the culture war without seeming "cheesy" or "outdated". Not words that Godawa has chosen, but the words that are typically ascribed to well meaning authors who wish to present Biblical narrative like children's media.
Godawa initially presents this in the story of how he had been a great, though very rationalistic debater. He then presents how his worldview had caused a contradictory schism with his imaginative life and how to rectify such a thing. While unpacking this, he gives valuable treasures for writers.
I certainly hope advertise his work to creative friends and hope it becomes a house hold name around Christian creators who do not seek compromise of gospel nor quality.
God bless you, Brian and keep up the good work with an encouraged and uplifted spirit.
Top reviews from other countries
Perhaps a pastoral comment is in order: When a Christian stand before the Lord, he or she will be judged according to his Word. I don't know about you, but that elicits not a little trepidation in my soul. (Full disclosure: I received a free complimentary e-copy of the book for this long overdue review.)