In my last post, I tried to convince you that creativity is intrinsic to your identity. Today, I’m going to make the case that creativity is pivotal to your purpose.
The first thing we learn about God in Genesis is that He already existed when the beginning began. The second thing we learn about God is that He is our Creator. Being created in His image (or as His imagers) is first of all a status conferred upon us, but it’s also a nature or capacity meant to be embodied by us.
In the beginning God’s creative work moves through stages familiar to every creative: He broods—hovers—thinks—over the waters, then creates: “Let there be light.” He then stands back to evaluate His work, and it is good. Then God titles his project: He “called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness he called ‘night'” (Gen. 1:5).
Astoundingly, when God created Adam and Eve, he left some things undone, then commissioned them to finish His creative work!
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:28-31).
Please notice: God gave this primordial pair a blank canvas, including a wilderness to tame. He gave them a few guidelines, sure, but then He turned them loose to accomplish this commission however they wanted.
Adam: “Uh, how are we supposed to subdue the earth?
God: “Get creative. You’ll figure it out.”
Eve: “What are we supposed to do with the seed-bearing plants to make food?”
God: “Be creative. You’ll love it.”
Both of them: “How are we supposed to rule over the animals?”
God: “Get creative. Have fun. Just keep checking in.”
And then we read, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). This ‘very good’ includes the creative freedom and power He’d just bestowed on his image-bearers. From that point on, pretty much everything these first humans do is creative. Right out of the gate, they start doing a human-sized version of what God had been doing:
- Adam broods and thinks over the animals, then calls them things, naming them (1:19,20)
- He names Eve (1:23).
- Eve extrapolates meaning from God’s words (3:2,3)
- Eve imagines a potential future (3:6)
- They sew clothing from fig leaves (3:7)
Later on in the story, we watch people misuse their creative power: Lying, cheating, deceiving, plotting, and eventually fashioning idols to worship. But don’t miss this: creativity is essentially free will in action.
Wow. Let that sink in: Your free will is expressed through your creativity in all of life. Problem-solving is creative. Conflict resolution is creative. Parenting is creative. Entrepreneurship is creative. Prayer is creative. Cooking and homemaking are creative. Creativity is far bigger than the arts; creativity is at the heart of what it means to be human, which means creativity is pivotal to your purpose.
Yes, God guides us and gives us more specific instructions along the way. But no, He does not revoke our creative power and responsibility. In fact, as we’ll see in my next post, the gospel of Jesus redeems our creativity, blesses it, and puts it to proper use for God’s kingdom.
What stood out to you about this post? Do you agree? Disagree? Let’s talk!