We all do it. We can’t help ourselves. We must create. Whether we did it as homework in high school, or we do it because it’s our passion; we’re all creative beings and we must be creative.
Unfortunately, many people don’t think of themselves as creative at all. When was the last time you sat down and painted a beautiful, sprawling landscape? Or perhaps composed a haiku about a snow-covered tree? While we’re not all expressing ourselves through creative endeavors on a daily basis, it might be a discipline we should take more time to cultivate.
We were all created—quite literally—as creative beings. In fact, the very first chapter of the Bible tells us that that God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.” He even repeats that fact two more times in the very next verse as well, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
The concept of humanity being created “image of God.” What does this mean exactly? The full definition could fill a dissertation—several, I’m sure—but to summarize, we can learn two things from this: 1) We are above all other creations, as we are of God and share his likeness, and 2) Ultimately, true fulfillment can only be found in Christ, and everything else we look to for meaning will fall short.
As beings created in the image of God, we are inherently endowed with the ability and craving for creativity. Look around you. It is in his nature to create, just as it is in ours.
Picture in your mind an art class. Whether you were an art major or even if you just saw one in a movie once, you can probably picture it. A bunch of students, each with their own easels, all painting the same thing. And what are they painting? I bet it’s one of two things: either a beautiful nature scene, or the human body. Even the most renowned, respected, and prolific creators (artists) throughout history can’t help but try to mimic and recreate these things that the Lord first created.
Each time we put the brush to canvas or finger to keyboard, we’re imitating the very first creation. What we create with paint or keystrokes is up to us, but the fact that we’re creating at all is a reflection of the character of God. Everything we create, whether it’s a sonata in D major or a lopsided coffee table is a reflection of who we are. It says something about us. But even more importantly, it says something about God.
But what exactly does creation say about God? For starters, the Lord and his works are flawless (as we read in Deuteronomy 32:3-4 & Psalm 19:9), just as every single thing he’s created started out flawless as well. Just as we learn more about God as we dive deeper into our relationship with him, we can learn more about him from his miraculous creation.
The book of Romans tells us knowing who God is, is quite easy actually. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).
The Apostle Paul wrote that we are without excuse in knowing about God, and that it is plain to see. Just by looking around at the world he created, we can see the majesty, power, and greatness of God. Through both observing his creation and taking part in being creative, we can learn more about the Lord; about his character, his wisdom, and his love for us.
One of my favorite authors, Donald Miller, wrote in his book, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, something that’s stuck with me for years. Every once in awhile, whenever I’m awe-struck at the site of a beautiful sunset, or a child’s laughter brings a tear to my eye (yes, I’m a new dad), the following passage comes to mind.
When you are born, you wake slowly to everything. Your brain doesn’t stop growing until you turn twenty-six, so from birth to twenty-six, God is slowly turning the lights on, and you’re groggy and pointing at things saying circle and blue and car and then sex and job and health care. The experience is so slow you could easily come to believe life isn’t that big of a deal, that life isn’t staggering. What I’m saying is I think life is staggering and we’re just used to it. We all are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we’re given — it’s just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral.
We call him the Creator not just as a designation of what he did, but as a descriptor of who he is. And he made us in the same way, to be creative beings, infusing our relationship and knowledge of him into our actions, into our speech, and into our relationships with others.
So what do we do with all of this creativity burning a hole in our pockets?
We can’t all be amazing artists or singers, right? Well, that’s probably correct. And I won’t write some drivel about how we all have beautiful voices in the eyes of the Lord, because while he probably appreciates our praise, he also has ears.
Our calling and desire to create is one that comes directly from the Lord, and with every creative endeavor we take on, we have the responsibility to and spread his name and glorify him with that creation.