I recently read Images and Idols—Creativity for the Christian Life by Thomas J. Terry & J. Ryan Lister. It was published by Moody Publishers in 2018. This is a very small book filled with very big ideas. It gave me much to contemplate and to rejoice over. The following are several quotes from the text. I hope you’ll read them and think about them.
We don’t just survive, we create.
We do this because God is the Creator; all creativity stems from Him. He is creativity’s origin point. …
Creativity, though, not only comes from God, but also is for God… But sin constantly corrupts creativity’s purposes… Creativity in our sin-stained hands always becomes self-serving… Reclaiming creativity, on the other hand, is about reorienting creativity back to God’s original and most fulfilling purposes.
God is your creativity’s origin story… His creative work bears the seal of His eternal power and divine nature (Rom. 1:20). Simply put, everything He makes sings His creativity.
…His world demonstrates His creativity while His Word interprets it for us.
In His wisdom and grace, the Lord directly or indirectly gives us everything we use to make things. … J. R. R. Tolkien calls our imaginative appropriations of God’s handiwork “sub-creation.” We submit our “fantasy worlds” to the Creator’s original because as image bearers we are the copy, and so is our creative output. Tolkien explains, “We make … because we are made; and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.”
…We do not bear the image of God to serve ourselves. Being made in God’s image is a divine gift, an honor bestowed upon us to play a principal part in filling creation with God’s glory and making paradise a part of the human experience. Your imagination is an instrument for this. God uses it to fulfill His mission, which, in His brilliant providence, often includes our happiness.
So, to borrow again from the great anthropologist Remy, there is something about humans. We don’t just survive, we create. As we create beautiful things, we serve our neighbors. They are confronted with God’s transcendence. They see God’s reflection in our image bearing… With our creativity, we seek to preserve God’s image on His earth, to care for our neighbor and to connect our human worth with the worthiness of God.
What are you doing with your God-given creative nature?