Creativity and the Glory of God

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

Creativity is not a gift just for artists or for visual learners. The gift of creativity is used in almost every vocation. From plumbing to graphic design, we each use creativity to solve complex problems or to express truth in new and interesting ways. While gifting varies, all people possess some level of creativity. And if all people are able to create, where did this good gift come from? It is merely a random trait that all humans share or does it come from something deeper and is it meant to point us to some even more glorious?

The foundation of creativity

The book of Genesis is the story of the creation of the world and everything in it. In Genesis 1-2, we read how God, in all of his wonder and glory, created the entire world and then created humankind. God created humans differently from the rest of creation. The Scriptures tell us that God created the heavens and the earth, the waters and the land, and then created humans separately from and to rule over all of creation. Verse 26 tells us that we are created by God in God’s image and are to reflect that image in all we do. No other part of creation, including the beasts of the field, birds of the sky, and fish in the sea, were created like humans. God endowed each of us with certain faculties, responsibilities, abilities, and gifts.

Being made in the image of God, we are bestowed the ability to create in ways similar to the way God creates. And yet, because we are not God, we create in a different way, a way that doesn’t compete with God’s creative powers, but, in some ways, extends those to the raw materials he’s given us in creation.

Creativity is at the core of what it means to be human. Creativity is a distinct gift given to us so we can reflect the nature and creativity of our Creator. We don’t create in the same ways that God creates because we can only create things from what has already been created. God created everything that we have ever seen or know from nothing, but we create things with the colors, patterns, textures, emotions, visions, and thoughts that God has already given to us. Nothing that we create is truly original. This is a reminder that we are God’s creation and workmanship. Each time we create we point back to the One by whom and through whom all things were created.

Creativity is hard

Later in Genesis 3, we read of the fall of humanity, when sin entered the world. God’s creation rebelled against him, ushering sin and death into the world. All work became difficult and laborious. The ground, in many ways, fights back. Sin invades the creative process. Creativity is now exhausting and time-consuming. Often we make mistakes in design and creativity and have deep disagreements on how best to communicate a message. Still, though sin entered our work and made it difficult, our work and the abilities given to us were not completely crushed by the Fall. God’s command to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” is still the task assigned to us as his image bearers. This responsibility was not given to anything other part creation. As image bearers, this calling is ours to own. That task and responsibility is to reflect the glory of God in our work and through our gifts of creativity.

When we design or create, we are doing the hard and often tedious work of taking the things of creation given to us and expressing them in new and interesting ways that can engage the mind and the heart. Because the work of creativity is much more than drawings on a computer, some paint on a canvas, or an intricate problem to solve, we should value the work of creativity and design. This work is unique to us as God’s image bearers and has an intrinsic value.

Our creativity is not a vain task but something given to us to reflect the glory of our creator God in all of his beauty and mystery. Our creativity employs God-given emotions, thoughts and desires. The beautiful things we create can communicate truth in ways that no other creature can. Good design engages the mind and help us to communicate with others. Good design evokes emotions and draws out desires that lie deep in the heart of every soul. Good design helps us us recall forgotten and buried memories.

Because of the fall, creativity isn’t always an easy task but a worthy one. In this good work, we can show the glory of the One who has created all things. Through our creativity and design, we seek to take what is in our mind’s eye and make it a reality for all to see and share.

Creativity and design can bring deep joy and wonder but it is not meant to fully satisfy those longings. God’s glory should be at the center of all creativity as we reflect him through the things that we create. Our hearts will never truly be satisfied in any work of our hands or minds, but only once they rest in the One who created each of us. Creativity is a medium through which God has given us to show the truths of the universe and to reflect the truth of who God is and what he has done. How we use this medium is important and is something that we should seek to steward well. We create because we are made in the image of the one who created everything.