I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well. (Psalm 139:14)
I was asked to give a devotional on creativity to one of our member organizations. It was a fun (and creative) task. In my research, I came across the writings of Jonathan Edwards who wrote about God’s beauty made evident all around us, emphasizing God’s glory in creation. It inspired me to write this short devotional on God’s creativity.
OBSERVATION #1: GOD’S CREATIVITY REVEALS HIS GLORY TO US
Nature gives us incredible reasons to glorify and praise God. From the magnificence of a mountain skyline to the feel of a baby’s fuzzy head, we know — we simply know — that God is the author of creation. We are God’s creatures, living in the creation, created by the Creator. All of these words point to one of God’s most supreme qualities: creativity.
God’s creativity is intimately woven into His character and makes Him evident to us. To see the works of His hands is to see Him. When we are amazed by the hues of the sky at sunset, we are experiencing the physical manifestation of His warmth and goodness to us.
When unrelenting waves crash against the shoreline, we feel His unrelenting power and greatness. A cool breeze on a hot afternoon replenishes our bodies in the same way the Holy Spirit replenishes our souls.
A tree, still and laden with snow in the cold and crisp morning air, sharpens our senses, reminding us of His presence. From soaring mountains to flat deserts, the terrain of the physical world floods our senses. These are echoes of God’s majesty. They all attest to His creativity.
OBSERVATION #2: GOD CREATES FOR HIS OWN GLORY AND ENJOYMENT – QUITE APART FROM US
While His creative work benefits us in this way, this is not the sole reason He creates. When we see a beautiful lake or feel the touch of something soft, we might inwardly pray, “Thank you, God, for creating this for me to enjoy.” This is a good and proper response, but it is not a complete response because it only captures His creativity in light of our seeing it. Creativity, like all of God’s essence, stands quite apart from our enjoyment of it.
When the first underwater explorers began to experience an entire world below the surface of the seas, they were stunned and awed by beauty that had never before graced the eyes of man. Why had it been in existence for all these years? It exists to glorify Him as an ongoing and unseen testimony to His creativity.
When the microscope first gave us a glimpse of a miniature and unseen world, it opened up a whole new landscape never before known to us. From the beginning of time, it was known only to Him. As our telescopes reach ever further into space, we are privileged to peer into realms known only to Him. Imagine the worlds of creativity that we will never see! His creativity is infinite!
OBSERVATION #3: OUR CREATIVITY REVEALS HIS GLORY
Creativity also helps us understand how we are created in His image. It is a part of His nature and He has given us creative powers. We, His creatures, love to create. We paint, build, draw, sew, knit, design, photograph, form, write, and so many other things – often for no more reason than enjoying the act of doing it. There is creativity in thought, culture, art, literature, work, economics, and all other areas of life.
Theologians have long discussed what it means to be made in His image. Our ability to create and be creative is certainly an expression of Him in us. Our creativity is authored by Him and comes from His hand. It is one of the most important ways that we can imitate Him. When we create, we are simply acting out one purpose for which He formed us. He is extending His creativity through us.
A PRAYER FOR CREATIVITY
Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing Your creative nature to me. You are filled with infinite imagination and endless innovation. Your hands form works that are too much for me to comprehend. I glorify You that, even if I would have eternal opportunities to explore Your creativity, I would never be able to exhaust the ways in which You have created. I am thrilled that there are unknown worlds that testify to Your beauty and wonder.
Thank you for giving me the ability to create. I revel in the fact that I can experience what it means to form something new that might reflect the smallest portion of Your splendor. Help me, Lord, to create in a way that honors You and brings glory to You.
Questions For Reflection
1. Where do you see God’s creativity? What draws you into gratitude or praise for what His Hands have made?
2. How or what do you like to create? What creative endeavor feeds your soul and captivates your imagination?
3. What creative activity have you long wanted to try, but have never given yourself permission? What is holding you back? Why not take try it today?
Dr. Ted Esler
Dr. Esler is the President of Missio Nexus which seeks to advance the effectiveness of North America’s Great Commission community in its global mission. Ted is a part of The Living Room Orlando, a house church network in Orlando, Florida. He has a B.S. in Computer Science, an M.T.S. in Theology, and a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies. With his family (wife Annette and their five children), he has served as a missionary in Belize, Croatia, and Bosnia. He formerly served in leadership at Pioneers before working at Missio Nexus and has authored Overwhelming Minority.