Posted in Uncategorized, visual exegesis

Visual Exegesis: Full of Eyes’ “Members of the Body”

Full of Eyes is a support-based ministry of exegetical art that creates still and moving images intended to point people to the beauty of God in the crucified and risen Son. All art and animations are done by Chris Powers. Powers’ goal is to help people see and savor the faith-strengthening, hope-instilling, love-kindling beauty of God in Christ. And he does this by creating free exegetical art in the form of pictures, animations, and discussion guides. His work is at https://www.patreon.com/fullofeyes, Youtube, and his website fullofeyes.com

Chris’ most recent work is below, with his artist’s statement below the picture

Members of the Body

1 Corinthians 12:12-13, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit were were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
The short explanation:

The bond of the Church’s unity is the Holy Spirit who is/creates within each member of the Church a consent to / love for God as He is made known in His Son. This eternally increasing, Spirit-wrought alignment of the heart and mind to the beauty of God in Christ is the holiness of the individual and the unity of the whole.

The long explanation (take from this morning’s journal entry):

The Spirit is the principle of union within the Church. Because we were all made to drink from one Spirit, we are all in Christ as one body. Now, the body imagery caught my attention this morning because of this question: What is it that makes the body a unity? What makes someone look at this collection of colors and textures and shapes, of fingers, eyes, toes, bones, veins, muscles, etc…..what makes someone look at this and consider it all one?

I think the answer must be found in the harmony of the parts, or–as Edwards would say–the consent of the various parts to one another.

The many and diverse members of the body are considered one because there is such a high degree of harmonious consent between them all, they agree with one another, not only in form, but in function (this harmonious agreement of the members as the principle of unity is hinted at in 1 Cor. 12:18,24 where Paul mentions the Lord’s having arranged and composed the members of the body as He saw fit).

The unity of the body, then, is due to the mutual consent and harmonious agreement of the diverse members. What is glorious about this is that, according to Jonathan Edwards, consent in the observable world is only a shadow or reflection or image of a deeper reality which is consent in the spiritual world, and consent in the spiritual world is simply another way of saying “love.” We might then say that a body (or a tree, or a landscape or a car) is a unity because the various members, as it were, “love” one another:

“When one thing sweetly harmonizes with another, as the notes in music, the notes are so conformed and have such proportion one to another that they seem to have respect one to another, as if they loved one another. So the beauty of figures and motions is, when one part has such consonant proportion with the rest as represents a general agreeing and consenting together; which is very much the image of love…”
– Edwards, Essay on the Mind
So, the unity of diverse members of a body is their consent aka, their beauty, aka, their “love” for one another. This, of course, wonderfully agrees with Paul’s entire emphasis in 1 Corinthians as a whole and this section more specifically. The Spirit of God is the Love of God for God poured into His people (Romans 5:5) who unites them all into one by the bonds of harmonious consent To the Name of God revealed in the Son (John 17:11,26).

As Christians, our consent is not just–or primarily–to one another, but to God in Christ, and to one another because–in the Spirit–we are all in Christ such that our consent to Christ must also be consent to one another (1 John 4:7-8). The Spirit unites the various members of the people of God into one because He is the living harmony, the living consent, the living beauty, the living mutual love of the people of God, one for another because of their mutual love for the God in His Son.

One awesome implication here is that the Spirit functions in the Church just as He has eternally functioned within the Trinity. Going back to Edwards:

“[God] exerts Himself towards Himself no other way than in infinitely loving and delighting in Himself, in the mutual love of the Father and the Son. This makes the third, the personal Holy Spirit or the holiness of God, which is His infinite beauty, and this is God’s infinite consent to being in general.”
– Edwards, Essay on the Mind
According to Edwards, the Holy Spirit is the infinite and personal mutual love of the Father and the Son. He is the consent, the harmony, the agreement, the beauty who eternally unites the First and Second persons of the Trinity, and He unites them in the infinite and eternal bond of love. How glorious, then, that this is exactly what it seems the Spirit does in the Church? As He has always been the bond of mutual love between Father and Son, so now He has become the bond of mutual love (the harmony, the consent, the beauty) within the Church.

As the Trinity is one through the eternal and infinite love of Father for Son in the Spirit, so too the Church is one through this same love of God for God now dwelling within them as the personal Holy Spirit. The consent, then, of the various members of the Church to the Son by the Spirit is primary, and must necessarily give rise to consent of the various members of the Church to one another (1 John 4:19-21).

Posted in Uncategorized, visual exegesis

Visual Exegesis: Jesus Upholding the Universe

Full of Eyes is a support-based ministry of exegetical art that creates still and moving images intended to point people to the beauty of God in the crucified and risen Son. All art and animations are done by Chris Powers. Powers’ goal is to help people see and savor the faith-strengthening, hope-instilling, love-kindling beauty of God in Christ. And he does this by creating free exegetical art in the form of pictures, animations, and discussion guides. His work is at http://patreon.com/, Youtube, and his website fullofeyes.com

Upholding the Universe, by Chris Powers

Hebrews 1:3, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power.”
I’ve been teaching a small Wednesday night study at our local church and for the last few months we’ve been walking through the ecumenical councils. Last night we were discussing the council of Chalcedon–which substantially solidified orthodox Christology for the Church. One passage of the creed of Chalcedon reads:

“…one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledge in two natures, incofusedly, unchangeably, indivisible, inseparably…”
There are many implications that could be drawn from just these few words, but at least one of them is that when the eternal Son took humanity to Himself, He did so “unchangeably” and “inseparably.” In other words, since the incarnation, God the Son has never and will never cease to be fully man.

Again, beautiful implications abound, but the one I wanted to focus on in this image is that–even in His death–the “natures” of God and Man are not divided. Consider it, even while a “corpse” (Mark 15:45-46), Jesus was all that God is….meaning that all that God is (the “fullness of diety” Col. 1:19, 2:9) was once expressed in and true of the lifeless man, Jesus.

God the Son did not cease to uphold the universe with the word of His power according to His deity even as He Himself lay, according to His humanity, in the dust of death.

And an even more glorious reality flowing from these things is that, even while His body was veiled in the tomb, Jesus was still the “radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature.” Becuase He is ever and always fully God, it is always true to point at the man Christ Jesus and say, “Here is the radiance of God’s beauty and exact image of His identity”….and that did not cease to be true–indeed, it became definitively true–when Jesus gave Himself even unto death on the cross for our sins.

There is no God like YHWH.

Posted in Uncategorized, visual exegesis

Even The Depths of God

Full of Eyes is a support-based ministry of exegetical art that creates still and moving images intended to point people to the beauty of God in the crucified and risen Son. All art and animations are done by Chris Powers. Powers’ goal is to help people see and savor the faith-strengthening, hope-instilling, love-kindling beauty of God in Christ. And he does this by creating free exegetical art in the form of pictures, animations, and discussion guides. His work is at https://www.patreon.com/fullofeyes, Youtube, and his website fullofeyes.com

Chris’ most recent work is below, with his artist’s statement below the picture.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10, “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him”–these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”

Often times verse 9 gets quoted as referring to the eternal state….however, I’m not sure why people do that. The context of Paul’s citation has no immediate bearing on the new heavens and earth etc. Instead, he’s quoting Isaiah 64:4 here (the text immediately following the passage I used for yesterday’s picture).

In Isaiah 64:4, that which “no eye has seen” etc. is not some future blessing for God’s people, rather Isaiah is talking about the absolute uniqueness of YHWH as attested by His acts of redemption on behalf of His people. This original context of the citation fits much more naturally into Paul’s line of argument in 1 Cor.1-2. In this section, Paul has been saying that the preaching of Christ crucified is a message that reveals God to and saves the souls of those who receive it as wisdom and power (1 Cor.1:21,23-24), while it confirms in condemnation those who reject it as folly (1 Cor.1:22).

This–Christ crucified as the saving revelation of the God who cannot be known by worldly wisdom–this is the “secret and hidden wisdom of God” imparted by Paul’s proclamation of the word of the cross (1 Cor.2:7), a wisdom that “God decreed before the ages for our glory. The spiritual understanding to perceiving the saving revelation of God in the crucified Christ is that which God “has prepared for those who love Him,” and this is why Paul supports his argument by citing a passage from Isaiah talking about YHWH’s utter uniqueness as revealed in His works of redemption.

In Isaiah’s day as in Paul’s (and ours) YHWH is made known as the only true God through His works of redemption. This is definitively true of the cross of Christ….a work of redemption so opposed to the fallen bent of humanity’s perceptions that the revelation of God imparted therein cannot be received apart from the merciful foreordination of God and present working of His Spirit.

So, verse 9 is talking about the never-before imagined glories of who God reveals Himself to be through the preaching of the crucified Christ. This–He Himself perfectly communicated in the love of the Son–is what God has prepared for those who love Him. And so, in that sense verse 9 can be seen as anticipation of eternity since ALL the joys of the eternal state can be summarized in that one statement: to know God in Christ.

With this in mind, the “these things” in verse 10 is God made savingly known through the wisdom of Christ crucified. This, then, is what the Spirit of God must reveal to us….If this is true, then the awesome thing to see is that Paul says the Spirit can do this–can reveal God to us in the Son–“For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” In other words, these “depths of God” are what the Spirit illumined eyes of faith perceive when they look to the crucifixion of the Son who will rise again. The unplumbable depths of God’s infinite heart–truly the beauty into which we will be pressing further up and further in for eternity–this is opened to us on Calvary…..May we, then, by the Spirit, in submission to the word, and in community with other believers, grow in knowing this all glorious Triune God who blessedly surpasses all of our knowledge, imagination, and hopes.

Posted in Uncategorized, visual exegesis

Visual Exegesis: The Life of Every Living Thing

Chris Powers of Full of Eyes creates exegetical art, still and moving images, intended to point people to the beauty of God in the crucified and risen Son. His work can be found on Youtube, Patreon, and his website, fullofeyes.com. There are study guides to accompany the videos, tracts, and art- free to use for the edification of the global church and the exaltation of Jesus’ name.

Today’s presentation is called The Life of Every Living Thing. Below Powers’ illustration is the artist’s statement.

Job 12:10, “In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”

It was tough to come up with a verse picture today. I spent most of my time reading this morning in Genesis considering some of the patterns we see in the Creation week….some wonderful stuff there, but nothing that seemed to lend itself to a picture. I also read a bit in Job and came across 12:10…..I was hesitant to make the picture that I did because it is similar to another that I did a few months ago, but–since I try to get these done early without spending TOO much time on them, I went ahead with this design.

I’m also studying the “hypostatic union” right now (the orthodox understanding of Christ as one Person–God the Son–with two natures–divine and human) for a Wednesday night class I teach at our local church….that’s got me thinking about some more of the glorious realities we see in Christ….one of which is that He–as God the Son–is sustaining the universe (“in His hand is the life of every living thing…”) even as His hands are pierced and His creaturely life ebbs away. It’s an “old” truth but one that ought always to stagger….the sovereign mingling of omnipotence and helplessness that we see at the cross is unlike anything the world can produce and a self-authenticating witness to the beauty of God’s Name.

So, I hope that this picture echoes both the idea that the God-Man upheld the life of the universe with His hands even as His flesh was pierced on the cross AND that, the piercing of His hands was also the means by which He purchased the life that He was upholding. All created life–at least all terrestrial life–would rightly have been extinguished because of sin had not the wrath a ten thousand justly-deserved Noahic floods been stored up to be poured on on the Beloved Son at Calvary.

Posted in Uncategorized, visual exegesis

Chris Powers: Shall I Not Drink the Cup?

Chris Powers is creating visual resources for the global church. These include artistic renderings of scripture, animations, and his first book, Visual Exegesis, Vol. 1, available on Amazon. These resources also include study guides for use in small groups.

His work is biblical, moving, and expertly rendered. Please take a look at his work at FullOfEyes.com, or on https://www.patreon.com/fullofeyes/posts

Shall I Not Drink the Cup…

Matthew 26:39, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me…”
Mark 14:36, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me…”
Luke 22:42, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me…”
John 18:11, “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

While reading in John18 this morning I decided to do a quick word search on the Greek work behind “cup” (using biblearc, which is a wonderful study tool).

What was especially moving about doing this was to see that, while it is used a number of times in the Synoptics, the climactic use of “cup” in Matthew, Mark and Luke is always the prayer in Gethsemane. And then the only use in John is the one above. It’s as if in doing the word search I heard the threefold prayer of Christ to the Father: Father, let this cup pass, yet not as I will, but as you will…Abba, let this cup pass, but not my will, yours be done….Father, if it is possible let this cup pass, but your will be done……….and then, the next time we see the word, Jesus is saying, “put away your sword, Peter, shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

The Lord’s hope was not granted to Him….His genuine desire and–I think we must say–genuine hope that, perhaps the cup would pass from Him….this was shattered before His eyes as He saw Judas and the others approaching……the cup would not pass, He would have to drink it to its dregs. And see the love and grace and humility with which He receives the cup! “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

This is the love of the Savior….it is His love for the Father (14:31), and it is His love for His Church (15:9, 13). Love–the enjoyment and communication of God–Love takes the cup of wrath from the Father and drinks it to the final damning drop. Yes, it is love that does this, love that bears this most horrific of sufferings…..what is stronger than love? As the Song of Songs reminds us, it is strong(er) than death and fierce(er) than the grave, the very fire of YHWH.

Indeed, it is the Fire of YHWH, His love IS the fire of His wrath that would consume all that opposes the communion of His Trinitarian life, and His love IS the fire of Christ’s heart that swallows up and extinguishes the flames of wrath in itself. Love has wrought the greatest work of reality, it has borne the greatest burden, faced the greatest test, endured the deepest hardships……what can steel the soul for war and strengthen the mind to endure and drive the body into torments? Love alone. Love alone….only God known and enjoyed. This is what moved our Lord–after pouring out His soul in pleading that it might pass from Him–to reach up and take the cup of wrath that we deserved and to bear it fully in Himself.

Posted in Uncategorized, visual exegesis

Visual Theology: Jesus is the Light of the world

Chris Powers is creating visual resources for the global church. His resources are free and meant to be shared. Chris creates tract cards, visual exegesis that can be shared separately or through his book Visual Exegesis Vol. 1, study guides and lessons, animations, and more. Please visit his website at fullofeyes.com. He is also on Patreon, and you can donate to his ministry just once or on a recurring basis. He needs $2,000/month to be self-sustaining, and currently the level of giving is $1,947. Won’t you consider being the patron who puts him over the top?

Thank you for reading and if you’re led, sharing his work and/or giving.

Here’s Chris’ explanation of the drawing:

This verse picture is drawn from John 8:28 which has HUGE implications for our understanding of God….essentially, Jesus says that His divine identity will be made known to the world WHEN He is lifted up on the cross.

John 8:28, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He…”

When Jesus says that He’s the Light of the World in John 8:12, I think we are to understand that most primarily as Him being the one who communicates God to the world. Why do I say this? Because in John 1:4, we are told that the (eternal) life that has forever been in the Son is the “light” of mankind. So there we see eternal life and light linked.

Well, what is eternal life? Jesus defines that for us in John 17:3, it is to know the only true God and to know Jesus (which, as John 8:19 or 14:9 make clear, is not knowledge of two different beings, but to know Jesus rightly IS to know God). So, eternal life is to know God, and this knowledge of God–John 1:14 says–is the light of mankind / the light of the world.

This is why I say for Jesus to be the “Light of the World” means that He is the revelation of God to humanity. He is the one who communicates God to us. And in John 8:28, Jesus is saying that we will know Him most perfectly as this revelation of God when He is lifted up on the cross….that is where we will know that He is “I Am” (the “he” is added in English texts, the Greek simply says “εγώ ειμι” which is the wording that you’ll find in the Greek Old Testament’s recounting of Moses meeting YHWH at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14).

So–as I hope I will never tire of saying–if we want to know God, we look to His Son, and if we want to know the Son, we look most definitively to the climactic work of revelatory redemption: the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

click to enlarge
Posted in challies, chirs powers, chris koelle, full of eyes, visual exegesis, visual theology

Visual Exegesis/Visual Theology: Bunyan’s Order & Causes, Annie Vallotton, Chris Koelle, Challies, Chris Powers animation ‘It is finished’

I have written before about an extraordinary young man named Chris Powers. He is using his artistic gift for the glory of God in creating visual art for the world. He calls his art and animations “visual exegesis” because he uses a verse and creates an artistic rendition of the verse or doctrinal concept in visual form. This is extraordinarily difficult to do.

Famously, John Bunyan did this with words and pictures in his allegorical book Pilgrim’s Progress.

Bunyan also made the first visual theology chart in Christendom when he created his poster Order and Causes of Salvation and Damnation-

Source

Chris Koelle is an artist who worked with Matt Dorff in collaboration to create an artistic rendition of the Book of Revelation. There are multiple difficult images in that apocalyptic book of the Bible and the doctrines are difficult too. Yet some talented people have an ability to create images that communicate these doctrines with clarity and accuracy without disrespect to the Lord or the Holy Spirit who inspired the words. Koelle’s images are drawn in complicated, eerily sinister yet glorifying ways.

Another noted Bible artist is Annie Vallotton, whose images are as far from Koelle’s as it is possible to be. Vallotton’s illustrations contain just a few clear, simple pen lines, yet are just as evocative as Koelle’s grand and complex illustrations. Vallotton illustrated the Good News Bible and created about 500 images for the finished product. However Vallotton said in an interview that for each image she might make up to 90 drafts until she felt the verse’s message was clearly communicated in the image.  You can read about her here, or more in depth here. Or here.

The largely expressionless figures make little attempt to interpret the text, but rather invite the reader to do so.

Job railing against the LORD’S ‘injustice’.

I’d like to add Chris Powers to the list for your consideration. I’ve been watching his growth as an artist and as a Brother in the faith for some years now. His work is solidly dedicated to the Lord. He does what he calls visual exegesis, to what Challies calls “visual theology“.

We live in a visual culture. Today, people increasingly rely upon visuals to help them understand new and difficult concepts. The rise and popularity of the Internet infographic has given us a new way to convey data, concepts, and ideas. But the visual portrayal of truth is not a novel idea. God himself used visuals to teach truth to his people. If you have ever considered the different elements within the Old Testament tabernacle or temple you know that each element was a visual representation of a greater truth. The sacrificial system and later the cross were also meant to be visual—visual theology. (source)

Tim Challies’ book Visual Theology goes on sale next month. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy.

Powers is completing his art book titled “Visual Exegesis, Vol. 1” a book which has his visual theology on one page and his explanation on the opposite page. It will be ready for publication on Amazon in a few weeks as of this writing. You can learn more about the upcoming book, here. You can take a sneak peek at the new book, here. You can see Chris explain the book, here and take an even longer sneak peek. Here is Chris explaining his art book, Visual Exegesis:

[I]n the upcoming art book, I try to highlight the exegetical element in each image. The book has a picture on one page and a description of how the text was translated into image on the other. My goal here is to strengthen the tether between word and image so that the imagery might deepen our understanding of scripture, and scripture would enlighten our understanding of the image. 

It is a stunning art book:

Mainly, Chris Powers makes animations. To that end, he has completed a stunning new animation to the song It Is Finished. I’ll post the video below. Below that is a video explaining his thought process for why he chose to depict certain arts of the song the way he did. Both videos are worth a look.

Powers’ work is freely available. I repeat: he is giving his animations and study curricula, tracts, and other material away for free. He is also creating lesson plans and guides to accompany each animation, so they can be used n small groups. He has volunteer translators translating the work into Spanish and Portuguese. His website is fullofeyes.com. He is on Patreon and Gaius, if you want to make a one-time donation or support his work each month, even at the $1 level.

I personally believe his work is making a tremendous impact for the kingdom and I am fervently using this medium to promote him and his work at Full Of Eyes. I hope you feel his work is worthy of praise also, and promote him within your sphere.