Art Imitates Death?

18 April 2008

As the saying goes "art imitates life" but it seems that recent events may put a new spin on that phrase with art imitating death.

Yesterday there was significant uproar online surrounding reports that Aliza Shvarts, a Yale art student, artificially impregnated herself and then used an herbal "abortifacient" substance to cause abortions multiple times over a 9 month period for an art project.

Today, however, the NY Sun and other sources including the Yale Arts Library Blog are reporting that Yale officials are claiming that the horrific events never actually occurred but are part of the student's "performance art" and that the events described were simply "creative fiction".

Yesterday, before the "creative fiction" reports came out, I offered up a bit of on-air opinion with Adam McManus on his afternoon talk radio program "Take a Stand".  Adam had made an observation about what the heart of this student must be like in order to allow her to commit murder (the killing of human embryos) multiple times in this manner that was alleged.  Here is the gist of my thoughts:

It is, indeed, a matter of the heart.  As Jeremiah 17:9 records

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

This type of behavior is indicative of the heart each of us has before we come to faith in Messiah and become "new creatures" (2 Cor 5:17).  Should we express surprise that unbelievers act in the way they do?  Should we express shock at these acts from a society that has turned away from the Scriptural principles established by the founders of our nation?

Yeshua gives a parable of building a house upon a firm foundation (a rock) in Matthew chapter 7:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell--and great was its fall.

When we fail to build our lives and our society upon the rock of God's Word the only remaining foundation is sand which shifts and slides out from under us leading to destruction or as Proverbs 14:12 puts it:

There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Clearly, it is the way of death that is the focus of this young woman's attention and "art".  Instead of focusing on life and things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8) she has chosen to focus on death.  As horrific and disgusting as the reported acts of Ms. Shvarts are they still serve to glorify God.

First, they provide evidence of fulfillment of prophecy from Deuteronomy 31:29:

For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.

Romans chapter 1 also speaks to the heart of this matter:

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Second, her acts should remind those of us who are believers that, were it not for the saving grace of God, we, too, would have this same heart.  We should not boast in our salvation but point to Him Who Has Saved for He has taken our heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19) and is writing His Torah upon it (Jeremiah 31:33).

Additional reports are coming out today that Ms. Shvarts is denying Yale's story that her reported actions were "creative fiction".  If her claims are true and she actually has done the things she has claimed then believers in Messiah should recognize that she has done no more than any one of us has already one: she has sinned [albeit in a manner particularly repulsive to us].

If her claims are false and are simply another part of her "performance art" then she is merely serving as evidence that the minds and hearts of those who are apart from Messiah dwell upon death.

In Luke 18 we find the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.  While we should decry the unrighteousness of the acts Ms. Shvarts may or may not have committed we should not be self-righteous in our attitudes but should pray for Ms. Shvarts' salvation with the attitude of the tax collector:

God, be merciful to me,  the sinner!


Last modified on 16 January 2017

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