“A word is worth a thousand pictures.”

Or, Why did God author a book rather than produce a movie?

To say that we live in a visual age is an understatement. Movies are displacing novels, and even novels are being read on screens which double as movie viewers. Technology is amazing. It’s increasingly easy to see why the Lord, before confounding the universal language of the Babel builders (Genesis 11), said, “Nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”

So it begs the question that if vivid, HD images are possible, why didn’t God make a movie about Himself and His Son rather than Ghost write a book? A hint of an answer lies in the profound reality that our wise, omnipotent, omniscient Creator chose not to do so.

But one of the reasons may be that He wants us to use our imagination as an eye for faith. Emily Dickinson verbalized the process this way:
“I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how heather looks, And what a wave must be.
I never spoke with God, Nor visited in heaven,
Yet certain am I of the spot As if the chart were given.”

When I view an image, my mind captures it, and freezes in place. But when I read or hear a word, my imagination does the seeing, and that engages me in ways that pictures can not. Because we are made in God’s image, we can see by means of words, and realize why God’s Son is the Word (John 1:1), and at the same time, “the Imageof the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

This is why we need no picture of Jesus to see His compassion.
nor a movie to see His anguish.
nor a miniseries to see His miracle power.
nor a play to see His resurrected glory.
The eye of faith already sees these things, for He gave us words.

We may be especially susceptible right now to the hypnosis of moving pictures. It may be time rest our eyes from the glare, and see Him afresh (Hebrews 11:1, 13, 27). I’m no media critic, but in this case I can guarantee that The Book is better.

“Father, we thank you for every technology that helps us more clearly discern Jesus and His will for us. But help us never forget that Jesus is the Word made flesh, and that to see Him is to see You. Amen.”

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