Human Expression in Music and Art

Human Expression in Music and Art

One evidence for the unique spiritual makeup in humans is our ability for creative expression in art and music. Attempts to claim elephant art, gorilla creativity, and chimp creative technique have not given convincing results. We believe that the presence of human expression in music and art, as well as worship, is because we are created in the image of God.

A recent study from the University of California seems to support this. The study involved 144 infants from age two months to 14 months. Researchers fitted babies with heart rate and skin monitors and observed them while they listened to a lullaby. It didn’t matter what language the lullaby was in; the babies responded similarly in all cases. Their heart rate slowed, their pupils became smaller, and their skin electrical activity declined. When the researchers played music that was not a lullaby, there was no response from the infants. Obviously, it was not just the sound that was involved, but the type of sound.

Years ago, there was an interesting story about a famous classical violinist who was playing a song that his wife did not recognize. She asked him what it was, and he couldn’t remember. Later his mother heard the discussion between the violinist and his wife and told them, “I know exactly what that song is. I was composing that song when I was pregnant with you, and I played it over and over as I wrote the song.”

Stories like this suggest that music is a designed part of the human spiritual makeup. It is not just brain activity but the soul that enjoys and creates music. Human expression in music and art touches our soul because we are created in the image of God.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Reference: The Week, November 20, 2020.