I know, I know; as an engineer, I should have the same use for the arts that a fish has for a hair dryer, if the stereotypes be honored, but I cannot help myself. I've spent too many happy hours in art museums and cathedrals to plunge into the depths of designing our lives around purely functional objects. We need beauty in our lives.
That noted, I can't go as far as many art types--more or less taking at face value the presentations given by the artists. Sorry, Donatello and Michelangelo, I know who is portrayed in those statues, and it ain't the shepherd boy who slew Goliath.
So maybe it would be good to consider what was known in Israel, and a good place to start would be to remember an unintentionally hilarious PBS special around 1991 on the Holy Land that claimed that there wasn't a whole lot of evidence of Jewish living there prior to King David.
Well, yes, those who read the Scriptures know what the situation there was prior to the son of Jesse, and yes, you won't find many relics from that kind of a society. Being invaded by the Midianites and Philistines will do that to you. The lack of items is, well, actually a demostration that the Bible's telling the truth about that era.
So we are left, more or less, to first consider the Tabernacle, later the Temple. What do we find?
Well, a lot of beautiful materials; gold, silver, bronze, cedar, acacia wood, and fabric with then-expensive colors like blue and purple. We find sculpture, needlework, and more. All of this, of course, pointing to the realities that God wanted to teach His people. It wasn't merely functional, but beautiful and (due to use of metals like gold) timeless.
So at least for our places of worship, we might find plenty of places for beautiful materials, artistically presented. Yes, we want to be careful about what the message really is, but it has a place.
Hmmm....now what about the home?
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