What are your thoughts on God as Gardener and Master Designer?

thanks so much for opening up this dialogue. I’m so excited to learn more about Jill’s work. One of the powerful approaches God used to get me was his work as the Master Designer. The description of Creation in Genesis arrested my attention profoundly. As an artist and designer, I saw God creating all this splendor with purpose. I related how attached I can get to things I create, and how painful it can be when something goes wrong.

Once, I had a fresh painting up on an easel … my sister got angry with me and scraped all the paint off it. When i returned to the room, seeing the scratched, smeared canvas, everything inside of me sank. I couldn’t even speak, I silently left the room and walked for miles.

i understood the investment a creator has in their work. I came to understand the investment He has in me … and how I tried to smear his canvas. That’s how the first foundation for Christianity was laid down inside of me,.

i’m so thrilled that this group will explore the importance of the arts with Jill.


Hi Andrea,

Thanks for your comment! I share your love for understanding God as an artist. In fact, I often point out that the very first description of God we have in the Bible describes him as a gardener! When I first stood back to think on this–God as Gardner–and then considered my own love of gardening, design, tending to life, creation, and beauty, I was struck by how much this actually didn’t fit my typically perspective on God if I was being honest. It helped me begin to see how important it is to consider the way in which we (and the people we interact with each day) imagine God. What is the image that you REALLY hold–despite the verses you can quote, despite the things you say about God to others, who is it that you imagine? Ultimately I had to admit that, for me, I held in my mind an image of God that was far more like a disappointed parent than any of the things I could say I knew about God.

This is one of the reasons I believe the arts have a profound place in the world of theology and apologetics. Faith is not simply about holding all of the right facts and doctrines. It is not simply WHAT we believe, it’s about inhabiting these beliefs. The arts powerfully remind us that we cannot check the whole person at the door. We must tune in with our ears in order to hear music, we must physically stand before a painting in order to consider the work, we inhabit the worlds given to us in stories and imagine ourselves there. How might faith be different if we saw church not simply as going to hear a sermon but as an act of stepping further into the kingdom Christ has given us, which requires singing, listening, interacting, joining, loving, knowing, and then going and sharing? “Do this in remembrance of me” was the command Jesus left us with and it is not simply a matter of confessing certain words of faith–it is taking, holding, eating, breaking, ingesting, sharing, and knowing on a level that involves our whole person.

Thanks for your comment! Blessings to you this Advent.