Creative Design: Echoes of Eden
In fourth grade, I won a coloring contest and proudly brought home the prize - a simple film camera. I look back at this moment and recognize the great crossroads it was in my life. A film camera sparked my creative design to life!
At the time, I simply basked in the glow of winning a contest. The grocery store employees affirmed my creative design and gave me another tool to use. Now, four decades later, I’ve added to my creative toolbox: words, painting, curriculum development, and out-of-the-box parenting.
My husband, a talented engineer, sees the world in a matter-of-fact manner. He sees the most straightforward way through. He suggests a simple solution that cuts through my list of unique solutions. And while he may not see it, my husband is very creative. When our car breaks, he fixes it, even though he may not know how at the beginning. His workshop in our garage is a testament to his talents in the handyman category. That takes creative problem-solving to a whole new level. It astounds me!
For most of us, though, we may have abandoned our creative side in elementary school. We walked away from the crayon box and never looked back. Our routine life settled into a rhythm of work, relationships, and faith. Along the road to adulthood, we lost sight of the beauty of creativity, a gift from our Creator.
We celebrate the truly gifted artists in our midst and encourage our children to color, paste, and create. Yet, we’ve forgotten our Creator designed us in His image. Creativity lives in our souls as an echo of Eden. In fact, it’s a gift that reminds us of our glorious Father.
Where do we hear echoes of Eden today? What ignites to life our creative design?
Let's look. God’s song of joy and creativity reverberates in the soundtrack of our ordinary lives.
- Once in a while, a song will play and cause a longing in our hearts to rise to the surface.
- We’ll gaze at a beautiful sunset and feel the burdens lift off of our chests.
- A turn of phrase in a book will cause us to pause.
- A unique and well-cooked meal will surprise us with delight.
- Our coworker will offer a compelling solution to a complicated problem.
- A clever comedian lightens our load with laughter.
- The pastor expertly illustrates a basic Truth in his sermon that connects with our hearts and makes us think.
- A mother suggests a modification to her child’s homework routine. It revitalizes the child’s perspective and helps them engage.
These are the markers of creative design in our everyday life. With a bit of nurturing and encouragement, we can reclaim creativity as a venue for communicating the gospel in a world that has lost track of beauty and truth. The echoes of Eden point to our good, holy, creative God.
How do we reclaim our creative side? Do we all have one? And, if we do, how does our creativity bring glory to God?
A BIBLICAL BASIS
Creativity begins with the first words in Genesis and weaves through the entirety of scripture. Woven like a colorful thread in a tapestry, God’s creativity is on display beginning in Genesis as He speaks our world into existence and then gifts His people with the beauty of imagination, art, and creative thinking. From clothing and music to the temple and Jewish feasts, God receives the glory for the innate creativity we see displayed in humanity.
The words “in the beginning God created” are the opening notes of a symphony of creativity. As the animals parade in front of the first man, he stands in the presence of God and names each one. Skipping ahead, we find a man crafting a beautiful coat arrayed in splendid colors for his favored son, Joseph.
A few years down the line, God delivers His people from slavery and they rejoice with song and dance in worship to Him, with Miriam leading the way. God graciously dwells with His people and commissions artisans to build a Tabernacle. Calling out skilled men and women, He fills them with His Spirit as they weave, carve, dye, and craft according to His design. You can read their stories in Genesis, Exodus, and I Kings.
But what of those who dislike arts and crafts?
Yes, God displays His glory creatively in their lives, too. From Joseph, who creatively solves the famine crisis in Egypt, to Abigail, who bravely intercedes to avoid a crisis, we see God’s people living in their creative design. God's people serve and glorify Him.
Creativity is a means of pressing truth deep into our hearts.
The Psalms, given by God and written by men, are poems and songs that teach us the character and nature of God and turn our hearts to worship. Jesus wove stories with truth as He spoke in parables to reach the hearts of His people and awaken their understanding.
The list could go on for pages to illustrate the beauty and creativity found in Scripture and in God’s people! However, sin has infected every aspect of our lives, including our creativity! The Tower of Babel, though a feat of engineering and creativity, brought destruction to the people because of their rebellion against God. At the foot of Mount Sinai, the people again rebelled against God and created a golden calf to worship.
“Beauty unconnected to God leads humans into pagan idolatry. God himself says he will destroy all beauty not rooted in him (Isa. 28:1-4).” Timothy D Willard, The Beauty Chasers
We must remember this truth - we glorify God with our creativity when we use our gifts under the authority of the Holy Spirit and for His purposes.
Discover Your Creativity
Maybe you don’t feel creative. In fact, being asked to think this way scares you just a little. Remember, being made in the image of God doesn’t mean everyone is an artist! Whew! Are you relieved?
However, you possess an amazing heart and mind that think creatively. We were creatively designed on purpose and with purpose.
Here are two ways you can begin exploring this side of yourself.
- Ask a friend or trusted family member how they see you exhibiting creativity in your life, your relationships, or your work. Their answers may surprise you!
- Evaluate your history and skills. - where can you see creativity in your life? Examples: creative problem solving, projects at work, disciplining your children
Today, you can enjoy our Creator by pursuing your creative side. Whether it is taking a local class with a friend, putting pen to paper to record your thoughts, or trying out a new recipe for dinner, build space into your schedule for this gift from God. Enjoy life, enjoy God, and enjoy being creative! In doing so, you will bring glory to God, point others to beauty, and see life through fresh eyes.
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