The artist God, the paint, and the picture
Posted on 15 April 2018, 12:53
On You Tube I have been recently fascinated by the British child composer Alma Deutscher. At age 11, she has composed much music, including a piano concerto and an opera being performed in the Vienna opera house. She has been compared to Mozart, and in fact she started composing at an even earlier age than him. You can view a video of her being given four notes at random, and then after a minute she composes and performs a flawless sonata in the style of Mozart, with depth of feeling one might only expect from an adult. We are driven to ask how is this possible? Where does this ability come from? There are many musical prodigies from many countries about whom we could ask the same question. But really, the same question could be asked about all creativity in every sphere of human endeavour. Really, though, the question could be asked about All That Is.
I say all this as an introduction to what Stephen the Martyr has to say about “God the Artist”. And it seems to me that this is another way of describing Christ the Word who by thought creates All That Is.
Here is what Stephen has to say about “God the Artist.”
You might say, as in your own heads, when you wish to make a picture, that the wish has come from “nowhere”. This “nowhere” is God.
In the [God]head that picture is made first as an idea.
Then from the Head we must have instruments that we call the Body of the Whole [All that is] in order to create the picture that the Mind and Head have conceived.
There are many parts in this Body. The picture and order of things that these parts have made and coloured are the things that we see, feel, taste and touch now.
But the instruments that are created through the Mind are the ones we might call angels, the smaller ones being those that would care for the finer details.
These then might well be called your angels, fairies, and those who put the care and touch into the colour and the form of these things.
When we perceive this caring and those instruments of the Body we perceive a little of what that Body is.
If what you saw felt unreal as compared to yourselves, then indeed you did perceive the Truth.
For the picture might look at the painter and say to another of itself, “Is the painter true like us?”
Therefore, to continue, we have the objet d’art that has been created by the Body of the Source through the conception of the Head.
If hurt or disorder is apparent in the object created who but that Head which conceived it, can correct that disorder?
No other person than the artist who is painting the picture, can correct the mis-running of the paint.
Many might say that if there were another present, another Artist, could he not also correct the error?
That other person would have to be one who had exactly the same conception in his head as the original artist as to how the picture should be.
An exercise for yourselves to practise: One of you make a drawing of a pattern.
Decide in your mind what the pattern will be.
The others who have a like mind observe and without speaking correct any sin or error there is in the pattern as it is being created with no knowledge of what the pattern is to be.
I suggest that you might find it difficult.
For only the one that has conceived the pattern in their mind, can recognize the error and correct that error and thereby be Saviour of the perfection of the pattern.
Olive: So we being pieces of paint on the picture often think we can correct the errors ourselves.
Stephen: The paint may move and run but only the Conceiver or Head or Christ can understand whether this movement is in accordance with the pattern.
For often artists do pour paint so that it may run, and run it will, often according to the pattern that is in the mind of the conceiver.
But it is not only the Conceiver who, with his brush of love, can divert the course from what might lead to the paint wasting away from the canvas into oblivion.
For it is a peculiar paint that we are; it is paint that understands that it is to be part of the pattern, paint that would most times run according to the conception of the pattern.
For that paint has rules that it must follow, but often, in spite of the intention, it follows not the path.
It then can appeal to the Conceiver for redirection.
It can speak to the Artist and say, “I have marked where I should not have marked, [the word for “sin” in Greek is ‘amartia = hamartia = missing the mark] and I have failed to mark in the places which I should have done. So save me from my error for only you can correct what I have wrongfully done.”
And through many instruments, other painters such as fairies and angels, or the elements and those who care, can pattern with the Conceiver to correct for you that course.
Olive: I cannot see how there could be errors in the first place.
Stephen: The paint is poured and the paint runs, not God, nor the Creator [not because of God’s action]; the pattern that the Creator lays is perfect and when the canvas is completed there might be paint that has spilled, but in these places where error is apparent it will be repainted, as is often done.
Often new paint is added or paint is collected and replaced on the canvas. We might say that a blob of paint might be picked up several times by the brush of the artist and be replaced on the canvas so that it might make a line and follow the path as it should.
When the painting is picked up and we see the canvas from a short distance we can see also where the paint has failed to be and the places it has been where it should not have travelled. The paint would want to return to the canvas and move along the line for it would indeed love the picture as much as the Conceiver and would also wish that the painting be the perfection that it will be.
Olive: I wish I could see that more right now.
Stephen: It would be nice, as paint upon the canvas, to step back, as the Artist might to view his work. But if we did, we would not be able to retrace our line. So then we must trust the Artist that he will know if we cry out, when we are lost from the line, that He will correct and save us from our sin.
Be careful that you do not come to conclusions about the painter as such, for it is only a concept. It is better to think that Christ knows the design which is pleasing to the Father. We are part of that pattern and we have been given guidance as to the line that we must follow. Should we stray from that line, understand that it is to our detriment and so call out and ask that our error be taken from us, that we might be repentant and thus be repainted.
Michael: We had a long talk last Sunday evening about the concept of the Father or the Source or Pure Being and we put this concept at the top of a triangle (just as a picture); then we agreed that the physical self was created. But would you say that the cell is created, or uncreated?
Stephen: The Cell, as you have mentioned, is a thought in [your concept of] the Source.
And, as the thoughts of your own mind are created by that Mind, they remain part of what is your mind.
They are of the Creator, for the created.
You ask a question that I could only answer if I were to say that a river also has a source.
Is then that trickle part of the ocean or part of the source?
It belongs, and is the communicator and is the instrument used by both, for both.
For the flow is from the Source that gives sustenance.
The flow from the created declines, or accepts, or receives what is offered and chooses for itself which of these fruits it shall have.
Michael: Is there a distinction between “Spirit” and “Holy Spirit”?
Stephen: If we wish to define what we call “Holy Spirit” we would be better to define it as the emotion of love as it reaches each one of you.
Michael: And “Spirit” is the “Whole”?
Stephen: The Spirit would be the Source, or the Father, or God.
We may often become confused, even as we have been confused here tonight by the concepts that many of us have put forward as being the truth. Receiving and common sense are the way to establish truth.
That is why we must receive with prayer and with guidance; why, when we look at another concept of others, we pray for guidance; we pray for wisdom; we pray for the ability to discern what we may understand.
We must never allow ourselves to think in terms of truth and falsehood for to do so would be to judge. Let us rather believe what we learn, hear and see and take from it all, whatever we can. Let us also understand that what we do not understand, as being the truth, should not be condemned as falsehood, misguided or lies.
I, and many of us, understand and feel the concepts that we have been given and understand them to convey to us the truth. Yet many who read these words may condemn them as false and misleading.
Let us not us fall into this error. When we have offered to us the feelings and understandings of another we should not judge what is good from it and what is bad from it.
Let us only say, “Those parts of the words here I understand. Those other words I understand not”. Be regretful that you needed to leave them untasted; for much of our separation from each other is this misunderstanding of what is spoken, or laid out, by another for our enjoyment.
It is like the fruits of our giving - we are inclined to offer what we would desire to be accepted. But then, as with our tree again, Michael, only the fruits that are desired will be accepted. This does not mean, of course, that the remainder of the tree is bitter or unpalatable. You see, Michael, I use my tree well! Others may not like my tree or may discard the fruits that I have offered, for they would rather drink from the river.
Michael Cocks edits the journal, The Ground of Faith.
Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr by Michael Cocks is published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and other bookstores.