What is creative expression? How does God express creatively? How do humans express creatively? How has all this been distorted? We look at some big pictures to explore what it means to be created in the image of the Creator.
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life…what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1,3
God is the ultimate creator. Everything He has done has been an expression of Himself (Romans 1:19).
The whole earth is full of His glory (Isaiah 6:3)! God’s creation declares His glory. Our creations should also declare His glory. So what is His glory?
We are the only creation created in the image of God. When we were created, we did not have the knowledge of good and evil, so we expressed nothing corrupt. But once we fell, our expressions changed from representing God to representing useless and base things. Idolatry is a perfect example of these. We perform worship for a creation rather than the Creator.
Apart from God, our creative expressions are misdirected and point towards things other than God. Once mankind was out of the presence of God, they begin making things – musical instruments and tools of metal. Is this a response aimed to compensate for the fact that they can no longer commune with God? Expression is no longer pure and directly connected, so are they looking for ways to “reconnect” with their Creator? When creative expression naturally flows out of relationship with God, it is spiritual. Separate from that, we are left to physical tools and physical means. This deteriorates from makings songs, to making idols, to making the Tower of Babel. Our creativity given us through the image of God now becomes the thing that gives voice to our pride in the invention of the brick. Bricks would later solidify our slavery in Egypt.
Outside of relationship transparency, we have to figure out a way to communicate what is going on; we need to find a medium. If we could simply and purely communicate, would we still have the desire to utilize the medium to create the expression? Is the whole purpose of creative expression to communicate God to others? To utilize a medium to cross a communication gap? We don’t know. There is plenty of singing in Heaven.
Corruptions in creative expression begin with the fact that there is a separation. And then they start to point towards other things. We also appear to have a desire to build and control. Is our drive to create the same drive that pushes us to overtake other people? Are we trying to manifest the “image of God” in our own power, apart from the Spirit? If this is so, then when this is redeemed, we can then bring about redemption, peace, and justice. Redeeming the “creative” drive in us, the part of the image that creates, builds, and manipulates, will declare the glory of God and end the distortion that leads to destruction, imperialism, and oppression. There is no way to “get back to the garden” without reforming creative expression.
When we empower and encourage people to express God’s glory in their own way, it can bring great unity in the Spirit through the diversity of the Body of Christ.
Our expressions come from what is inside of us (Matthew 12:33-37). Psalm 45 shows an expression that is inspired by God and directed to Him:
“My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”
Creative expression encompasses many things, but most practically the arts. We explored the specific example of music throughout scripture to see what role it played in the interaction between man and God.
- David set aside men to prophesy with music
- Many of the verses quoted in the New Testament as being prophecy of the coming Messiah are from Psalms.
- The Psalms declare God’s character
- Songs were used for teaching and correction
- Song, and creation itself, were involved in the birth of Jesus, and creation testified at the death of Christ.
- Music was shared with other members of the Body, often in giving thanks
- Music was used to edify the Body, and is likened to spiritual acts such as teaching and speaking in tongues, which could be seen as other creative expressions
Next week we will continue to explore creative expression.
Beautiful Eulogy – “Instruments of Mercy” from their album, “Instruments of Mercy”; available at www.humblebeast.com. Used by permission.
Josh Garrels – “Colors”, from his album “Home” www.joshgarrels.com
This episode originally broadcast live on August 28, 2015 on KXEN 1010AM in St. Louis, MO
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