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But the Holy Spirit has been working constantly through out the history of the Church since Pentecost, and the fact that His work looks “messy” to us is actually an indictment of us. God is perfect, but a glance at the universe shows us He is no perfectionist.        ~Doug Wilson, Reformed is Not Enough, pg. 55

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The Restoration of the Image of God in Man and the Implications it has on the Hip Hop Culture

Man was created in the image of God. Man was endowed with creative abilities just like God. Being creative is just one way in which man reflects the image of God in himself. Hip Hop is a cultural phenomenon that expresses itself in creative ways. Hip Hop provides a way for unheard, neglected people to just have a good time and be creative, and to express life as they see it, the good, bad, and the ugly.

As it is with all forms of art: music, poetry, painting, film, sculptures, etc., there is an inherent characteristic in these works of art, and those who create those works of art, that cries out to the Creator, either in praise to Him, or in rebellion at Him.

Man was created for the sake of glorifying God. When man does not glorify God, he is not operating in accord with his purpose for his existence. When works of art are created, they are either reflections of the Creator, or rejections of the Creator. If they are not reflecting in its mode of existence the reason for its existence, it is worthless, and serves no purpose. A simple illustration should suffice.

Imagine a fruit tree that bore no fruit. This tree would not be worth anything. It has a specific reason for existing, to bear fruit, and it fails to accomplish this task do to some defect in it. There are only two options for this tree. Either it is to be replanted, nurtured, given fertilizer, and dealt with in a manner where this tree is given another opportunity to produce fruit, for which it was initially created, or, the second option is to totally discard the tree and burn it. For it serves no purpose except to be fuel for the fire.

Another scenario, but a little different. Some things are created for a specific purpose, but not due to any fault in itself, but by the coercion of an external force or entity, this thing was used in a manner that it was not intended for. Airplanes were created for travelling. Using it as a weapon is a violation of its reason for existing. Looking upon such a thing is horrific and disturbing, especially when it is used in a manner that is abusive, hurtful, murderous, insensitive, and cruel. Nobody wants a defective product that does not work for the reason it was created. And the person who created something does not want his creation to be used in a manner it was not intended. Plain and simple.

Now what does this have to do with Hip Hop? Everything. Humanity was created for a specific purpose, as well were all things. The most important reason and purpose for the existence of man is to glorify God. As I mentioned above, all things either cry out to God the Creator in praise or in rebellion. Since the Fall of Humanity in the Garden of Eden, we have not been able to operate and function properly for the reason we were initially created. Fallen sinful man could no longer have fellowship with God and glorify Him as he ought to be glorified. Now instead of tossing humanity away completely, God, in His infinite Wisdom already had a plan aligned. He decided to take the necessary steps to help grow and nurture the plant of humanity, and not to completely destroy it just yet.

God sent his prophets and messengers and law into the world to as a means of slowly redeeming man (nurturing). Eventually He sent Jesus Christ into the world to redeem humanity from their sin and to restore us back to our reason for existing, ie. to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. Now all peoples of the world are commanded to be restored back to their humanity, back to the reason of their existence. Those who are restored are blessed by God, made right with Him, and find that they have a new reason to live, not for themselves in selfishness, but for the promotion and glory of their Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Man’s creativity is to be a responsive act of worship back to the Creator, in praise, honor, glory and blessing. And being that it is, Hip Hop as a creative culture, and being that all peoples everywhere, including those in the Hip Hop culture, are commanded to be restored back to their reason for existing, Hip Hop is to exist for the chief reason of glorifying God. Not that that is the only reason for its existence, but it is the chief reason. All things find their chief reason of existing in the glorification of God.

So when rappers are rapping about sin and promoting it, there is a clear instance of something being used for the wrong reason, for that which it was not created for. Hip Hop and man both. So then, when rappers promote killing people, doing drugs, getting drunk, committing fornication, adultery, idolatry, etc, they are engaging in complete and total rebellion against the Almighty Creator God of the Universe. They are taking a creative art, and are promoting sin with it. They are taking an air plane and using it as a weapon. Hip Hop is beautiful, and creative, and God honoring, but it is not meant to be used in the manner in which it is most popularly used today.

The promotion of sin with rap, though it has gone on for such a long time now that it almost seems inseparable, is a misuse of an art form that was created to demonstrate beauty. It is hard to paint a masterpiece when you’re painting with feces. But if that is all you know, if that is all you have been exposed to, it is easy to think that crap looks and sounds good. And this is the very reason Hip Hop needs to be redeemed and reformed. People think that feces is the best thing going on, and they have no idea that God has more to offer them then they could ever imagine. God is more beautiful and glorious than we could ever imagine, and He wants us to experience Him. Not just as spectators, but to become one with Him and to be like Him, so that we become beautiful, and reflect once again the Image of God in which we were created.

People need to have their perceptions challenged and changed, and by the grace of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit, this will happen. Hip Hoppers, just like everybody else are called to repentance, and to restoration. Those who refuse to repent, align themselves with the tree that bore no fruit, and had no reason to exist. They will find themselves living a life of worthlessness, and their only reason for existing in the end, is to add fuel to the fire.