This study has been a long time coming. Before I recognized what “creativity” was, I enjoyed it. Some people are wired that way. When not actively using their creativity, they don’t feel fulfilled or feel that something’s missing. Others don’t consider themselves a “creative sort” because maybe they can’t draw or don’t have a good sense of what colors work well together when decorating a room. And there are still others who just don’t enjoy it, who would rather work with numbers than a paintbrush or read about past historic figures than experiment with flavors in the kitchen.
Even so, I would contend that creativity is at least a part of each of us, made in the image of the Creator. It just manifests in different ways. This doesn’t necessarily mean being able to make something brand-new that will amaze anyone who looks at it. Let’s take a look at Ecclesiastes 1:9-11.
This passage states a basic truth that, if we apply logic, we will come to the same conclusion that Solomon did. Nothing is new. Whether we’re looking at a tree or a color or a meal…we aren’t doing anything new with our crafting. The tree, even when a sprout, came from a seed that another tree dropped. We cannot invent a new color. Food, while able to be prepared in a variety of methods and combinations, is still the same things that have been used for ages.
So what’s the point? Why pursue creativity?
Because it’s a part of how we are wired. Read Genesis 9:6. It’s couched in a passage about God blessing Noah and his family after the Flood, and God tells them that while eating animals is acceptable, they need to not eat animals before the life – the blood – has been drained from it. Further, man’s life is of greater import and God will require a reckoning from the one who spills the blood of man. Why? Because man is made in the image of God, the end of the verse tells us.
What in this verse stands out to you, whether in relation to creativity or in relation to life in general?
Not only is this verse a clear statement of the value of human life, but it also is a reinforcement of the fact that we are indeed stamped with the image of God, with the image of the Creator. This is why our lives have such value, because of whose image we bear. This is also why we are creators and makers. Because God is. Plants and animals and the rest of creation is beautiful, but it is not creative. It doesn’t make things in the same way that we do.
Let’s hop over to Colossians 3:9-11. As you read, remember that right before this passage, Paul is reminding the Colossians that they must put away the things of darkness, of sin. This is the other side of creativity—it isn’t used just for good. Sinful humanity’s minds can come up with a lot of ways to dress the sins of pride and selfishness. But as followers of Christ, who have been called by Him, we are called to put away those practices and to put on the new self, the restored image of our God, that we bear.
My good friend, Heidi Goehmann of I Love My Shepherd, recently authored a video and book Bible Study on Song of Solomon called Altogether Beautiful. It’s available today, from Concordia Publishing House (yay! I’m so excited for this, and love how beautifully it fits with our study today!) One of the central themes of her study centers around the fact that because of sin, our ability to see beauty rightly has also been broken. But we are beautiful, each of us, in and out, because God made us, put His image on us, and redeemed us in Christ.
Creativity is about beauty. Maybe not visual beauty always, though often it is. But remember, even the broken is beautiful. A mosaic is comprised of tiny, broken pieces of glass or stone. Yet these are some of the most amazing works of art, possibly because they take something broken and create something lovely.
Creativity allows us to see something in a new way. For those of us who don’t feel very creative most of the time, I encourage you to try exercising your creativity in a small way. Color a picture in a coloring book—it’s a great stress-reliever. Try a cross-stitch kit—it tells you exactly what to do! We’ll be having tutorials in the coming weeks, geared toward people who aren’t experienced in each craft. Give them a try. And if you don’t like it, don’t worry—there are plenty more to try!
Tomorrow, we’ll dig more into the Fall into sin and God’s creative answer to that. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about what creative endeavors you’d like to try, or that you tried and just couldn’t get into. We can’t all be experts in everything, and that’s ok. Until tomorrow, dear friends.