How politically and theologically exciting the prime minister's revelation that during the 2019 election campaign he asked God for a sign and that He, God, promptly obliged!
Mr Morrison said he had asked God for "a sign" while visiting an art gallery on the NSW Central Coast.
"And there right in front of me was the biggest picture of a soaring eagle ... the message I got that day was [from the biblical passage Isaiah 40:31]. 'Scott you've got to run, to not grow weary, you've got to spread your wings like an eagle, to soar like an eagle'," the PM said.
But wait! The Bible bristles with many, many references to eagles. Why did the prime minister, divinely pointed in the rough general direction of eagles, assume God was pointing to Isaiah's ringing exhortation to us, when we are flagging, to imitate an eagle's whoosh and oomph?
What if God, using eagles and the Bible, was warning the prime minister about his, Mr Morrison's, famous arrogance, a tendency magnified by his, Mr Morrison's, occupation of ego-inflating high office?
At Jeremiah 49:16 we find "The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, O you who live in the clefts of the rock, Who occupy the height of the hill. Though you make your nest as high as an eagle's, 'I will bring you down from there', declares the Lord."
Other biblical references to eagles warn us to beware of relying on wealth and possessions (instead of on spiritual wealth) because they can fly from us as swiftly as eagles.
So Proverbs 23:5 warns "When you set your eyes on it [worldly riches] it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings, Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens".
Perhaps Mr Morrison, divinely led to a painting of an eagle, has chosen to find the biblical allusion most attractive to him.
And while it is heartening to learn our prime minister haunts art galleries (for art is sensitising and good for the soul) I think it possible he looked at the wrong painting. What if God, having led the prime minister in to the art gallery, meant him to notice another more subtle painting (perhaps on the wall next to the action-packed eagle painting that so grabbed the prime minister's attention), perhaps containing messages to Scott about better ways to address issues of climate change, of attitudes to women, of the treatment of refugees, and so on?
But I may be wrong, and certainly the idea God (or some other supernatural-spiritual force) leads us up to certain works of art so as to give us essential messages is an exciting one. It explains to me the hitherto inexplicable ways in which I have recently found myself, at the National Gallery of Australia, led into certain exhibitions and then led up to certain works in those exhibitions.
So for example I found my feet taking me into the NGA's Know My Name exhibition even though at the time I hadn't heard of the exhibition and so knew nothing about its theme and purpose. Certainly it is an exhibition God, if he really is in the business of using art to wake up male Liberal prime ministers, should drag Scott Morrison to, since it is a strongly feminist pro-women exhibition alerting us to the sexistly neglected talents of unsung Australian women. Liberal men famously need some help in these sorts of things.
Visiting the NGA's current blockbusting Botticelli To Van Gogh exhibition I find God or Something (I don't believe in God but don't mind giving Him some credit for things one struggles to understand) always directing my feet to where I can stand face to face with Rembrandt's 1640 Self Portrait at the Age of 34.
Inexplicably it is one of the exhibition's more avoided paintings (people tend to flock instead to Van Gogh's wondrous 1888 Sunflowers) and so I often have Rembrandt to myself.
I wonder if it is that people are unnerved by the portrait (in ways Vincent's vase of flowers can't unnerve) because of the way Rembrandt looks out at us, eyeballing us, appearing to ask us searching questions about ourselves. Not everyone is comfortable about being interviewed by a painting.
While on portraiture it is with horror one learns, with creepy images, from the The Smithsonian Magazine that "New A.I. Tool Makes Historic Photos Move, Blink and Smile - The algorithm matches pre-recorded video with the photo depending on the subject's pose and applies natural facial movements to the image".
But not just photos. The Smithsonian reports how the invention "is also being used to animate artwork". The Smithsonian's piece is illustrated with a 1933 painted self-portrait of Frida Kahlo and an artist's formal painted portrait of The Smithsonian's distinguished founder both now creepily animated using the new A.I. program called Deep Nostalgia, released on February 25.
The technology has gone viral, feverishly embraced by those keen to "bring to life" the hitherto still photo portraits of long-dead folk in their photo albums.
Oh dear. Please, God, stop institutions like the NGA and worse still the National Portrait Gallery from finding out about Deep Nostalgia.
It has been part of an art-lover's joy in ogling painted portraits to be able, if one wishes, to imagine those faces being alive. In his Self-portrait at the Age of 34 Rembrandt already seems alive, thanks to the artist's sublime genius.
Some inventions seem to portend the end of civilisation. Could anything be worse than having Deep Nostalgia intervene to have Rembrandt now artificially winking at us, smirking at us, blowing us a kiss?
- Ian Warden is a regular columnist.