“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, NIV)
Dorothy Sayers once said that if all we knew about God was the first five words in the Bible, all we would know is that God is creative. When in the first words of the Bible, we discover God’s identity as a creator, we get a glimpse of our own identity as humans who possess creative capacities.
Genesis (chapter 1) reveals the dimension of God’s creative process, which, not surprisingly, given our creation in God’s image, is replicated in human creativity. “In the beginning, God created.” God brings something out of nothing and order out of chaos. “The earth was a formless void.” God is a seer who can envision something others cannot and then imaginatively reveal the new reality as a unique, distinct entity. “God saw what He had made and it was good.” Like God, the good artist strives for excellence, not just expression, and the spiritual, intellectual, and imaginative quality of the work is the measurement by which we determine the worth of our art. “The heavens declare the glory of God,” and the human artist seeks to relate and communicate through his or her art.
Our human creativity originates in God’s creative image, which is imprinted in our genetic code. Whereas God created out of nothing; humans create out of what exists. So Igor Stravinsky observes, “Only God can create. I make music from music.” Great artists will tell you that their imaginative inspiration comes from some unknown place. Filmmaker Ang Lee confesses that when things work, they come to him; they are not what he was willed. Mark Doty says that a good poem is something he finds, not something he makes. Imagination cannot be manufactured or willed into being, yet it is at the heart of the creative enterprise. God creates from a known place, Himself, and at God’s core, you find an imaginative being.
Imagination reflects originality, intuition, and the hitherto unseen, and so we evaluate our individual and cultural health by looking for evidence of our imaginative capacity to deliver the new and fresh, which elicits and illuminates deeper, transcendent meanings.
As image bearers, we are designed with a creative capacity.
Lord, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)
[Quote from The Culturally Savvy Christian: A Manifesto for Deepening Faith and Enriching Popular Culture in an Age of Christianity-Lite by Dick Staub (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007) page 52-53]