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September 17, 2013

Godly Creativity vs. Novel Ideas

I have always been torn on how I am supposed to use my art for His glory if I’m not constantly drawing the face of Jesus or painting angels flying around in the heavens.

I started drawing in high school, where I was assigned specific scenes or objects to draw. This solved my inner debate over artistic content, since I had no other option.  When I began testing out my own creative concepts, however, I started feeling guilty for wanting to make outlandish pictures or realistic faces the subject of my artwork instead of scenes that were strictly Biblically inspired. 

My thoughts were, if God gave me these gifts and abilities, shouldn’t I desire to please him with my work? I think the answer is: absolutely. But does this mean the subject matter must always communicate an explicit Scriptural message in order to do so? That is where I have an issue. I believe the very acts of drawing and painting (insert your preferred medium here) alone please God, not just artworks that encompass the story of Jonah and the Whale or Noah and the Ark.

To examine this, we must start from the root of all creativity, which is God himself - the ultimate Creator.   It says in Genesis 1:1 that the heavens and earth as we know them are a result of creativity: God’s creativity.

God is pleased when His sons and daughters use the gifts He has bestowed upon them.  It is not limited to traditionally inspired artwork either; God is the most original artist known to man. He is the only one who can take credit for supernaturally creating something from nothing.  He shaped mountains, designed the human body, adorned the ground with flowers, and gives humans the capacity to develop and grasp ideas with their minds.  If this is the God we serve, then of course He finds joy in us creating pieces of art inspired by novel ideas! He played a part in making those ideas Himself.

We are also informed from the book of Genesis that God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:27).  We all have little pieces of our Creator built into our core because He chose to make us in His image.  He wanted us, even as finite human beings, to have the opportunity to achieve a relationship with the Creator of the Universe.  We were God’s ideas; just as a monster with 34 eyes or Taylor Swift riding a seahorse through a patch of sea cucumbers are ideas floating around in our brains (All hypothetical, of course). Wild as they may be, even those ideas could not have been comprehended if God had not wired our brains in the unique way He did. He gives us those ideas and is pleased by His children when they give Him full credit. If it were not for His original creation of the universe, artists would have no inspiration.

Any artwork possesses a piece of its creator, just as we possess pieces of ours. This forms a beautiful cycle - one in which every product of the creative process can be viewed as a shadow of the Ultimate Creator’s work. Even T. Swift mermaid paintings.

Written by Brooke Jeary, Creative Journey Intern