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Music and Emotion in the Image of God

The relationship between music and emotions gains greater stability when the source of all human feelings and emotions is exposed. Human personality and emotions are imprints of the Divine, derived miniatures of the unsearchable personhood of the Trinity, rather than self-generated or the social adaptations of a developing species. Therefore, it is not enough to point out that the emotional attributes of God are communicated in the Bible in anthropomorphic language as a condescension to our limited understanding, since it is also the case that our emotional makeup is theomorphic, that is, created and fashioned in God’s image. Our ability to feel, will, reason, and desire is reflective of the same components of personality in our Creator. God is a personal being and genuinely feels love, sorrow, joy, and hatred. We, as creatures made in his image, possess a likeness of those emotions. Even those feelings that are not shared by God, such as eros, are still bestowed by him and, therefore, can be considered reliable points of reference. Consequently, in human emotions we have the potential for a fixed referent in music and the hope of some kind of universality.

John Makujina, Measuring the Music, 307-308

Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

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