Our God is a creator—and wildly creative—God. I was reminded of that recently when we took our kids to the zoo. I saw creatures there that I never knew existed.
The range of colours, sizes, shapes, textures, designs and survival skills was mind-boggling. It occurred to me several times throughout the day how difficult it would be to walk through a place like that and still cling to the idea that all of those amazing animals, fish, birds and every living thing that didn’t seem to fit neatly into any of those categories, had somehow randomly appeared out of nowhere, with no intelligent design or designer.
The breath-taking display also reminded me that we are made in the image of a creator God, and therefore we too have the capacity to create and to be creative. When I write, I am deeply aware that the source of that creativity is not me. I feel it flowing into me and out of my fingers (on good days, anyway) and I know there is something outside of and greater than myself—that which I know to be God—that is at work.
The idea is exhilarating, and deeply humbling.
Creativity is a gift and a sacred trust. To represent a creator God, to be the conduit through which he displays his glory, is a thought that makes me tremble even as it fills me with inexpressible joy.
But this is not a gift that has been given only to a select few. We are all made in the image of the same God, and we are all, in ways as vast and varied as the creatures my family and I saw at the zoo, endowed with some form of creativity. Those who write or draw or act or dance or play an instrument display an obvious creativity. But someone gifted in mathematics, for example, has an integral contribution to make to the creative process.
Music, for example, is deeply mathematical in nature. Each note is held for a certain number of beats, the music needs to flow in a particular rhythm. Words are the same. A paragraph or chapter that ends in a rhythm and beat that captures the flow of the words is much more powerful and impacting than one that doesn’t.
Deviating from the correct mathematical equation in any work of art, whether in a performance piece like a dance or a symphony, or a visual such as the portrait of a face, just doesn’t feel right to the viewer. Even if they can’t quite put a finger on why, they will instinctively know that something is not flowing properly. That knowledge creates a disquiet in the soul, a restlessness, a sense that something is off, somehow, that whatever they are seeing isn’t quite finished or complete.
So numbers are as essential a tool as the pen, the paintbrush, or the violin to the creative process. God is a god of order, not chaos, and when that order is reflected in art through the guiding principles of mathematics, we know, not only on a visual, emotional and mental level, but also on a spiritual one, that all is as it should be. And when that happens, the work of art, whatever it may be, glorifies the one who is the source of that creativity.
The earth, the sky, and all the universes beyond our tiny part of creation, display the work of a creative God. As a beautiful story or piece of art reflect back on the writer or artist, so all of nature reflects the indescribable talent of the designer. It is no wonder that the psalmist declares that “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork”. (Psalm 19:1)
May the work of our hands also bring him glory as we use the gift of creativity, bestowed on every one of us, in whatever way we are called to do so today.
Sara Davison has been a finalist for three national writing awards: Best New Canadian Christian Author; Best Column – Single; and Best Novel – Mystery or Suspense. Davison is a member of three different writers’ groups, two of which she helped to found. Her favourite way to spend the days (and nights) is drinking coffee – a running theme throughout her novels – and making stuff up.
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