In last week’s post, the point I wanted to make was simply this: the beginning of human creativity is the creativity of God. We are created in the image of a Creator. Therefore, in carrying forth His image, humanity finds within itself an imaginative mind with a desire to design and create and build.
We see the creative traits of God, first and foremost in the Genesis 1 and 2 account of the beginning of all things where He, out of the overflow of His glory, merely spoke and everything that is anything came into being from nothing.
We read the story and see Him separating light from darkness, setting the boundaries of the waters on the earth, giving existence to fish and fowl, forming the beasts of the field, and finally, as the epitome of it all, forming mankind from the dust of the earth and breathing life into the nostrils of humanity.
The wonder of it all is beyond human comprehension, even to the point that when a mere man, Job, questions God’s dealing in his own life, God responds with the challenge: “Where were you when I created the earth?” “How do I keep the oceans at bay or the sun rising and falling right on time?” (Job 38:4,8,12 – my paraphrase).
The most amazing thing about His creation is that when all was said and done, God, who needs nothing, and is the definition of perfection, looked at all He had made and said, “It is very good” (Genesis 1:31).
The outworkings of God’s creative tendency, then can be expected to be repeated in us as His image bearers. This should especially be true to those of us who have been born again by the Spirit of God and experienced the reality that comes in both the beauty and the gore of the cross of Christ.
The sad reality is, I’m afraid, that in the 21st century where mass-produced junk is the cultural norm, even most Christian creativity has turned to crap.
I have a major disdain for any task that requires me to go into most chain Christian stores because it is a real struggle to find anything of true artistic value in the midst of all the junk being pawned off.
Think about the works of C.S. Lewis or John Bunyan compared to almost any “Christian” fiction book on the shelves. Think about the heart-gripping melodies in Handel’s Messiah or the soul-stirring verses of the great hymns of the Reformation compared to the majority of what is played on your “family-friendly” radio show. Think about the beautiful works of art inspired by the biblical narratives put out by Michelangelo or DaVinci, and the impact they have carried for centuries on the history of art, and compare it to the pieces of “art” you buy from the Christian store that are just knock-offs of the modern cultural trends.
Now, I am not saying that every modern Christian artist is creating junk; nevertheless, I am saying that the things the Christian community is putting out that are of true artistic value, too often get lost in the middle of the worthless.
So here is my plea. If you are a “Christian creative,” whether by trade or on the side, don’t just throw out any old thing that comes to mind. As you create, get into the habit of doing what God did. Take a step back, look at your creation and ask is it “very good” or is it just OK?
When God flexed His creative muscles, He didn’t settle for mediocre. Neither should we. My challenge is a call to excellence for the glory of God. So no matter what area of creativity you find yourself in, whether it be composing songs of praise or painting pictures that reveal the heart of mankind, “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).