Creativity is the first-fruit of free will.

Yesterday we drank deeply from the well of God’s limitless creativity by watching him at work in Genesis chapter one. Beginning with a blank canvas, God began his work with illumination and affirmation. Let’s see what else we can learn from his creation of our universe, while chatting about my latest work, called “Kingdom.”

“God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:4-10)

Foundations: Do you see what God is doing? He’s moving the big stuff around, setting boundaries, framing, and roughing stuff in. Night. Day. Sky. Land. Water. First, he chooses his medium. Next, he selects his primary colors, the primordial building blocks for this masterpiece. First, the contrasts, the spectrum. Next, background and foreground.

This is how my painting, “Kingdom,” began as well. Big, bold, rough strokes. Dark, light. A broad spectrum of color emerged. Primary colors. Nuances. Details. I was trying to capture a flavor, a song, a feeling.

Notice, too, how at every stage, God pauses—takes a breath, stands back to assess. As always, “the Lord saw that it was good.” In this case, I was pleased too—painting a mystery slowly unveiling itself to me. “I like this, this is cool,” I marveled, partly because this piece was painted in a style I’d never used before.

And finally, Life: Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”

This is brilliant. He’s not just planting a tree here and there, he’s creating a rich environment into which he will place the true subjects of his work. An ecosystem for his creatures to thrive in. A rhythm to find, a song to sing, a story to enter. Everything is connected. Nothing is extra, redundant, or unneeded. This is a work in perfect relationship with itself. Not a blade of grass is out of place.

Beautiful. Breathtaking. Unfinished.

Tomorrow: The finale