I Am a Sub-Creator
CONFESSION #6: I like to think that I am an original and innovative creator, but compared to God, I'm merely a sub-creator.
A few days ago, I focused on how God has made mankind in His image and given us the gift of creativity. Humans are creative beings made in the image of THE creative God. However, being made in the image of God does not mean that we are like God. What do I mean by this?
Well, here are some of the attributes of God:
- All knowing (Psalm 139)
- All good (Psalm 31:19)
- All loving (1 John 4)
- All powerful (Genesis 18:14)
- All present (Proverbs 15:3)
- Unchanging (Malachi 3:6)
- Holy (Isaiah 6:3)
- Sovereign (1 Chronicles 29:11-12)
- Righteous (Ezra 9:15)
These are just a few of the many aspects of God. But if you go back through the list, you'll see that humankind is none of these things. We're not always loving. We're not always good. We can't be always present. We're definitely not unchanging. We certainly aren't holy. And there ain't no way that we're sovereign.
We are made in the likeness of God, but we definitely can not compare ourselves to God.
And this truth applies to creativity and making art as well, whether your art is painting, writing, filmmaking, gardening, building, or what not.
As an artist and creator, God spoke things into being (Genesis 1). He created new and beautiful things out of nothing. Nada. Not even dust. He even made dust out of nothing. How mind boggling is that??
As an artist and creator, I can't speak things into being. I can't create new and beautiful things out of nothing. I am what Matt Chandler calls a "sub-creator" in his book, The Explicit Gospel.
"You and I are stymied in our own creativity. We can only create as sub-creators, and even then our best work is only sub-creation."
"God doesn't NEED material. He MAKES material."
I highly recommend this book by Matt Chandler, because it explicitly shares the gospel, hence the title. But it also gives an accurate perspective of man's relation to God. In this case, man is a sub-creator.
Let's meditate on this idea.
Anything an artist makes is made from material that God has already created.
Making a film? You're using people, sets, props, cameras, editing software, etc that was created by people, from material created by God.
I like when Matt Chandler says that even our best work is only sub-creation. Our best work can never compare to God's best work.
This truth is super cool (because God created amazing things from nothing and I will never be able to do that), but it's also really humbling (because God created amazing things from nothing and never will I ever be able to do that).
As an artist, I am reliant upon the material that God has created and provides for me.
It puts things into perspective for artists and those that enjoy art.
This post is part of a 31 Day series called Confessions of a Creative Christian.
Check back tomorrow, as we begin a few days focusing on perspective in the midst of creativity.
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