When I was a child, my younger sister and I each had a teenage doll. They weren’t real Barbies, but that didn’t matter to us because we pretended they were international spies. Our mom’s old shoeboxes became their private airplanes, and our dolls would fly around the world, communicating with each other on their walkie-talkies cleverly disguised as the matching bracelets they wore.
That make-believe I played as a child was an expression of creativity—an early attempt to explore my own voice and way of being in the world. No, I didn’t grow up to be a spy and I don’t have a private airplane, but my sister and I are still close, I still have a lively imagination, and I still find creative ways to communicate.
Creativity is an inherent part of being made in the image of God. It’s so fundamental to being human that we can’t help but create—in the way we play as children, in music, painting, drama, and other creative arts, and also in our daily work as adults. Work is not “a necessary drudgery,” says theologian and novelist Dorothy Sayers, but “a creative activity.”
In “Why Work?” Sayers argues that work poorly done is an insult to God. “No crooked table legs or ill-fitting drawers ever, I dare swear, came out of the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth,” she writes. “Nor, if they did, could anyone believe that they were made by the same hand that made Heaven and earth.” Whether our job is making tables or waiting on them, working at a computer or driving a bus, changing diapers or changing legislation, any work that is worth doing is worth doing well and meant to reflect some of God’s creativity.
As God completed each stage of Creation and called it good, so our human creativity is also a good gift from God. With creativity we play, we work, we make useful and tangible objects, we perform real services, we speak into the world around us. As we express ourselves in myriad ways, we can create a mood, create friendships, create family, create community, create a life.
Yet creative expression is not only about expressing ourselves—not only about voicing our own thoughts and feelings, not only about exercising our own imaginations and vision. In a larger sense, creativity is about reflecting the image of God to the world. Whenever we create a beautiful photograph or a beautiful garden, we reflect some of God’s beauty. A beautiful friendship reflects some of God’s goodness and care. A beautiful meal expresses some of God’s provision in nourishing our physical bodies and nurturing relationships around our table. Just as the created world points us to the Creator, so human creativity also points us to God—inviting wonder, inspiring us to look beyond ourselves, giving us a glimpse of glory.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today, April Yamasaki