Creative expression as a revelation of God's thoughts
Updated: Nov 9, 2021
I’ve been pondering on a quote from Stephen R Covey on the process of creating.
“All things are created twice...There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things.”
Our desire and our ability to create must I assume come from our likeness to God the creator.
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;”
God is by very definition a creator. He thought about you and then that thought was spoken and became reality and you were created. In the description of the seven days of creation the phrase “God said ...’ is continually used. The process of creation happened at the speaking out of God's words.
“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”
God’s word goes out and it accomplishes that which God desires.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
Within the Jewish tradition , the Word is seen as being a living, interactive, personal entity that goes out and accomplishes the desire of the creator.
"Since God was often perceived as somehow 'untouchable,' it was necessary to provide some kind of link between the Lord and his earthly creation. One of the important links was "the Word," called memra in Aramaic (from the Hebrew and Aramaic root "to say," the root used throughout the creation account in Genesis 1, when God said and the material world came into existence). We find this memra concept hundreds of times in the Aramaic Targums, the translations and paraphrases of the Hebrew Scriptures that were read in the synagogues before, during, and after the time of Jesus."
In the Gospel of John we see Jesus referred to as being this living Word.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made."
Indeed, Jesus explains his earthly ministry as being a living out of his Father’s intent or desire.
“Jesus gave them this answer: "Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
If we are born in the image and likeness of God, it is understandable that we too have the desire to, and a propensity to create. That is a wonderful thing... thinking a thought, speaking it out and actioning it... seeing it realised.
But maybe, the even more exciting revelation is that like Jesus we are invited into, rather than just expressing our own creative intent and acting upon it, expressing and realising the creative intent of our heavenly Father: partnering with God. Only doing what we see him doing. Indeed, Jesus is the very personification of the active expression of who God is and yet he became subservient in order to realise his Father's purpose: showing us what he is really like.
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
So not only can we act like our heavenly Father and think thoughts and see them realised, even more excitingly, we can act like Jesus: we get to participate in the even greater privilege of hearing God’s thought and seeing them realised.
Prophecy understood as God revealing his thoughts about us
We know that God continually thinks about us.
“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.”
God reveals his thought to us in the form of prophetic revelation.
“Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.”
Indeed he speaks to us all the time about his plans and intentions. Prophecy is God sharing his thoughts with us in the intention that like Jesus, we will hear those thoughts and see them realised. Prophecy can in some contexts be unconditional (it will happen regardless of our intent or action) but I think it is largely, conditional (it involves our partnership). The Father does not want to do things to us but rather (like with his son Jesus) do things with us: involve us in his plans.
What an exciting prospect, to fully give over our own creative thought life and expression in subservience to God. Our art being an outward expression of a revelation of the Father’s thoughts. Our own thoughts and creative endeavors are wonderful things and should be cherished, but how much more wonderful to give over our pride and desire for individualistic expression. To sacrifice it, follow the example of Jesus and live our lives, and allow our artistic expression, to be a revelation of God’s thoughts.