Can you think abstract?


Abstract art was a movement that became popular towards the end of the 19th century where artists departed from painting “realistically” and instead used symbols to convey messages and meaning. Abstract art as well as abstract concepts can sometimes be hard to follow, but it can also be a powerful way to symbolically depict a deep reality. Perhaps God was the first real inventor of abstract art when He commanded us to build the Mischkan (Tabernacle) in this week’s Torah portion. Three times (twice in this week’s portion: Schmot/2. Mose 25,9 und 40; Bemidbar/4. Mose 8,4) God commands Moses to build the Mischkan and all of its accessories according to the pattern that God Himself provided. Which begs the question: Why? Why was God so specific about how we build His tent as well as all the altars etc?

God wants to reveal to us who He is

The answer that we find in the rest of the Tanakh as well as in the Brit Chadaschah is that God wants to reveal to us who He is and that symbolism is an extremely effective way for Him to portray deep theological realities in ways that we can fathom. For example, we learn from all the gold that was used to build the Mischkan that God is a King and to be greatly revered and honoured, and from the bronze that He is also a righteous judge. From the Menorah (lamp) we learn that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 Joh. 1,5) From the Aron HaBrit (Ark of the Covenant) we learn that He is a God who makes and keeps covenants and who wants to dwell among the people He has chosen. But above all, we learn from the very layout of the different sections of the Mischkan that God is holy and can only be approached through the methods that He determines – through sacrifices and through mediators (the priests).

Now, I wouldn’t dare to just run up to Angela Merkel or any leader of any other country and demand an audience, how much less to the God who made everything?

The question that we must ask ourselves is, are we willing to come to God on His terms and do things according to His pattern, or do we want to try and come to Him on our own terms, in our own ways which we have invented with our own minds. Jeschua Himself stated, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no-one comes to the Father except through me” (Joh 14,6). Are you willing to take that Way or are you trying to make your own way, which God hasn’t asked for and won’t accept?

Now reading:
Can you think abstract?