Aren’t you glad that God gave us culture to enjoy? We have visual art, film, music, sports, architecture, etc. because we were created in the image of the creative God.
God fashioned everything we see by the words of His mouth (Psalm 33:9) and the work of His hands (Isaiah 66:2). How amazing is He?!
Now, we, being made in the image of God, have been gifted with creativity. We can create from what God has already created.
However, we are not like God, following the doctrine of Creatio ex nihilo—which means “creation out of nothing.” We are bound to what God has already created; and in fact, even our most impressive handiworks lack uniqueness.
Everything is built upon something else. For this reason, King Solomon states, “…there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NASB).
Nonetheless, I’m thankful for different cultures and cultural expressions. At one time, mankind gathered in one location with one language, but due to their disobedience, God spread them across the earth and gave different languages to different groups of people (Genesis 11:1-9).
Now, we can vacation across the globe and stand in amazement at different cultural practices. We can enjoy the different aspects of culture, remembering that one day “…at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11, NASB).
Amid the different cultural expressions of the world, one can often see references to God, whether intended or not. For example, think of professional photography that captures nature in a stunning work of art. You are probably thinking of some examples in your head.
Romans 1 tells us that God is evident within creation…creation needed a Creator. Or, how about a song on the radio which speaks of marriage. God is the One who instituted marriage (Genesis 2:24), and this reflects His goodness.
Movies today, such as “Star Wars” or the “Marvel Universe,” exalt good (although the definition of good is sometimes distorted) over evil. This sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
John 10:10 gives us the real contrast between good and evil, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life and have it abundantly” (NASB).
So much of our culture, as godless as it can be, often points to Christ. This makes natural bridges or connections to the Gospel.
Just as the Apostle Paul used the altar “to an unknown God” to direct people to Jesus (Acts 17:22-34, NASB), we should use different characteristics of our culture to evangelize. Of course, we must never compromise and sin for the sake of culture, but we can use neutral areas—common interests (sports, movies, video games, music, art, education, etc.)—to connect with others.
At CrossLife Church in Anthem, AZ (where I serve as worship pastor), using sports in the community, such as coaching youth sports and participating in community sports leagues, has been one of the greatest connection points to the gospel.
How can you use culture to the glory of God?
Make sure to praise God today for the different expressions of culture. Imagine how boring life would be without it.