Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Art of Discovery (Part 3)

I started what has become a three-part article by looking into some of my own recent experiences of Discovery. I will finish it with some cautionary advice, also gleaned from personal experience.

There are those who warn against using the word "create" and its derivative nouns and adjectives as being something akin to blasphemy.  They reason that using this word for anything other than referring to the Creator's direct creative acts and the resulting Creation attempts to dilute the power and uniqueness of that primary act. I can certainly understand that viewpoint and even have some sympathy for it. However, I believe there is still an appropriate use of these terms, when humans are involved in what has come to be known as creativity.

God's highest achievement in His creative work was undeniably the creation of humankind. In the first part of Genesis, God is seen finishing off the perfect work of creating by saying: "Let us make man in our image— our God created man in his own image...male and female he created them...God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." There is a rich depth of meaning bound up in the phrase "made in his own image," but for this brief article I would like to consider just one aspect.

In the opening narrative of Genesis, we certainly see God primarily as Creator of all. It would be surprising, therefore, if this creative talent/skill/bent was not among those aspects of "his own image" that He placed in His highest creation, mankind. Because of this, I believe strongly that the ability to "create" (in the secondary, not primary sense) is an integral part of who "Adam" is (and we, by derivation) . This ability to take what is unseen, unmanifest, and bring it into physical reality is a gift beyond words, beyond imagining. This gift, along with other God-like aspects of our character, is worlds apart from the rest of the Creation. Why God put this absolutely stunning power within us defies explanation. But nevertheless, there it is.

CREATION, bronze sculpture,
© Irene McCoy, all rights reserved
The power to "create" (and this is the last time I will use quotation marks to differentiate our abilities from God's) is so amazing, so astonishing, that it is also intoxicating. Just as a rare and exquisite wine can have the wonderful attributes of color, clarity, bouquet, and other gustatory delights (and, apparently, Jesus made/created some amazing wine Himself!– see John 2.10) it has the ability to stupefy, as well as uplift the senses. I have written previously about the exhilaration that can come with the adventure of discovery, and with anything that is so exhilarating comes the potential for "drunkenness." We can easily become "drunk" with our ability to create, and not appreciate it for the gift it truly is.

Being a creative being carries with it tremendous responsibilities. First among them is to realize that God Himself, alone, is THE CREATOR. All creative ability and acts are purely a gift from Him. There is nothing of merit that we can do, apart from Him. Because of this, it is incumbent upon the creative person to seek this Creator God, to know Him, and to know His direction and guidance for the whole of our lives, including our creative work. Then, in the final analysis, it is only right for us to thank Him for this grace, and to appropriately give Him all the praise and glory for the outcome.

This last part can sometimes be difficult. It can be so fulfilling and pleasurable to receive praise from others for the artful works that come about by our agency. But this is a trap that can only serve to sever the channels of creative flow that come from our God. If we believe, and if we allow others to believe, that this creative ability is our own isolated possession, we cut ourselves off from the true Source, the true Spring of creating. By claiming to be the sole source of the creative pulse that flows through us, we set ourselves up in the place of the Creator and forget Who He is, and we are then simply left to our own paltry devices.

Know the Creator God, and glory in His wondrous work, whether it comes through us, through others, or simply and directly from His own capable hands!

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