Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Road to Heaven

The project I'm working on this week is entitled "Journey and Discovery". It involves, firstly, researching these two concepts and then developing a record of my own journeys (real or imaginary) and presenting them in as creative a way as I can.

As part of my research, I've been reading a fascinating book called You are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination by Katharine Harmon.

In this book I came across two very interesting pieces of work. You can click on the images to enlarge them.

The first is called Falls of Eternal Despair by an unknown artist:

This image illustrates the way that all sins lead to the 'Falls of Eternal Despair' and ultimately Hell. If you look closely, you should be able to see a door in the 'Impenetrable Hedge of Sin' which is marked 'Repentance' and 'Faith'. The message is quite clear: the only route to 'Holiness Heights' and Heaven is through this door.

The second picture is called All Roads One Road Headed the Same Way by Howard Finster:

This is interesting. At first glance, I assumed that this was some promotion of a multifaith world-view and that the artist was trying to teach that all roads lead to heaven. However, if you look closely, you'll see that the different roads represent Christians from different denominations. You can see the artist says, "Why fight any people who believe in Jesus Christ, Christians are to only fight sin". He also says, "Why weary which road you are on as long as you are travelling toward God".

While of course it's important that we hold fast to the things of God and flee from error, there is a sense in which differences in belief among Christians are irrelevant so long as we are trusting in Christ alone for our salvation. I think Mr. Finster is making a valuable point; too often today God's people engage all their efforts and resources in attacking other Christians, no doubt with good intentions and perhaps often with some justification. However, this can be a hindrance to the preaching of the gospel and can cause people to lose sight of the greater battle they are fighting. I suspect that Christians are the Church's greatest enemy.

I think these two works of art complement each other very well. Their combined message is: there is only one way to Salvation but not all travelling the road act the same, speak the same or dress the same.


madalien said...

All roads *do* lead to God tho!

Sadly, so many roads (all non-christian) lead to judgment and hell.

Think you are right about Christians battling each other - the church is great at destroying itself at times. All Satan has to do is stir it up a bit.

The temptations illustrated in the Falls of Eternal Despair pic are very interesting - is "bowling" so bad!!!! Appears to have been painted 1895.

Bethany said...

Interesting read.

Suzanne said...

Thanks for giving a slightly different perspective madalien ;)

Hadn't noticed bowling! It's interesting too that it lists things like theatre, circus and dancing as temptations.