Seeing Value in Nature—Seeing God in Value

Value Collection

Recently I have been discussing how the basic visual elements of art reveal spiritual truths. When God created the world visually He did so using the seven visual elements of line, shape, form value, texture, space and color. Romans 1:20 implies that the visible world reveals truths about the spiritual world. Therefore, thoughtful consideration of each of the elements should tell us something of God and His kingdom.

In past weeks we have looked at line, shape, and form. In this post we will look at VALUE.

The element of VALUE in art.

In art, VALUE refers to the differences of light and dark. As such, VALUE is dependent upon the light source and the relationship of the objects to the light source. In the collection above the art works all show a good range of values from very dark to very light with a good range of middle values as well. The more exposed to the light source that an area is, the lighter the value. The further from the light source or the more hindered the light source, the darker the value.

Some interesting things about VALUE from an artistic perspective are

    • The eye is drawn to and follows light values and
    • The eye is arrested by strong contrast between dark and light values.
    • Light comes forward and dark recedes, but
    • Strong contrast (differences between light and dark) demands attention and low contrast (differences between middle values) does not.

What “invisible” truths can we learn by studying how the “visible” element of VALUE works?

Sometimes we hear the challenge, “If there is a God why does He allow evil?” As we look at the art work above and consider what we know about the way VALUE works, we will find some interesting insights to answer that spiritual question:

    • 1 John 1:5 proclaims that God is Light. If so, then the absence of God is dark.

    • The dark is a natural result of being further from the light source, and it is an inherent part of the reality that is being portrayed. We only recognize the light because of the dark that is also present, and the stronger the dark—the more brilliant the light. God cannot reveal Himself to us unless He also demonstrates simultaneously what an absence of His presence is like.

    • The viewer’s eye is drawn to the light as surely as men are drawn to their Creator. And we only recognize Goodness (i.e., the presence of God) in the world because we recognize the presence of Evil. How many degenerate hearts have been turned from dark paths because someone was faithful enough to show them the light of goodness?

    • While our eye follows the path of light, it is arrested (captured, halted) by a strong contrast. Likewise, when good and evil come into strong conflict our attention is captured and a response is demanded of us.

    • When the VALUES in the art work become very close (medium dark on medium light) it is harder to distinguish between light and dark and the less certain we can be as to where the light source is. Similarly, a little good and a little evil living in close proximity will lack the power to either beckon us to goodness or demand a response to evil.

Next week I will discuss TEXTURE.

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