C. S. Lewis wrote in Christian Reflections:
“In the New Testament the art of life itself is an art of imitation … ‘originality’ in the New Testament is quite plainly the prerogative of God alone. … The duty and happiness of every other being is placed in being derivative, in reflecting like a mirror.”
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. 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.” Hebrews 1:1-3
“For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29
Just as the Son reflects like a mirror the glory and nature of the Father, we are to reflect like a mirror the image of Jesus. We die to ourselves and become like a mirror, like a window, projecting the face of Another to the lost and to the world.
The object of humanitas, human creativity, is not to be original, but to imitate and be reflective, as C. S. Lewis writes, of the beauty and the nature of God. The Hudson River School of artists sought to do just that in their paintings. The created world, the work of God’s hands, is portrayed majestically, and the viewer, the created, are minute in comparison. The paintings provide us with the proper perspective when considering the greatness of the God who created such wonders. Gene Edward Veith’s wonderful book, Painters of Faith, discusses how theology influenced the Hudson River School of artists and how their art reflected He who is Beauty and Truth back.
As I was thinking about how humanitas should be reflective and not original these past few days, I just happened upon this news item: Finding my religion: music leads pianist to a life of Catholicism. Practicing biblical humanitas spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ in the world, and produces beauty to the glory of God.