10 February 2010

Creativity: Imago Dei

Why do we draw? Why do we listen to good music? What other animal draws for no (other) purpose? A spider spins her web, although beautiful and fantastic in design, to acquire food; a salamander weaves its way along a beach, leaving a pattern of beauty, but not for an arts degree. The beaver builds an impressive dam, but mostly for survival.

Mankind alone uses creativity for beauty's sake.

CS Lewis wrote much about creativity. For instance, "Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it." Wonderful understanding of application and style.

More to the point of being unoriginal, Lewis wrote "Creation as applied to human authorship seems to me to be an entirely misleading term. We rearrange elements God has provided.... we are recombining elements made by God and already containing his meanings." There, in a few short phrases is imago dei. It's God who is the Creator. It's God who pours his life into us, including his image, and including this entirely human characteristic of creativity.

Some people say I'm a creative person. And I think the closer I get to Jesus, the more creative I feel. I feel closer to the Creator and thus his image and his creativity is awash in me. Right now, I'm thinking about my time this morning, about my reading of the Bible, the singing I was able to do with some sacred songs from Hillsong, and pondering the Creator. As a result I feel uninhibited and free. I feel like dreaming new thoughts and writing this blog and calling others to join me in creativity.

Priscilla drew this crucifix on the streets of Melbourne during one of our outreaches there. She used her artistic talent a la Chagall to communicate "This Jew died for you." Some write songs; some draw chalk art. My first cousin Barbara Mendelsohn married a man named Fred who for decades has gone to the streets with sketch art, to help people around to understand the message of the Gospel of Jesus.

Listen, perhaps you don't believe in God. Fair enough. You have to ask yourself why you enjoy music. From where does that pleasure come? Do you like art or posters or television shows or movies or theatre? What's the point of that? Friend, you have discovered imago dei. And if there's an image of God, it doesn't prove, but it certainly points to a God who has such an image. I wish that for you soon.

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