And what does it mean that God is creative?
Quite often God’s creativity is pushed to the side. We know God is creative because he’s the creator. Of what? Of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). To most Christians, it’s not all that mind-blowing. God made the natural world – the rocks and trees, all the animals, and us. God made the stars and planets. He made mountains and valleys, rivers and oceans. We know all this – it’s amazing. But very rarely do we progress from these well-trodden foothills and set our sights on higher peaks. The reason behind this is understandable, we don’t think there are any higher peaks. And we remain boxed in talking about the God of rocks and trees which, after a while, doesn’t seem all that remarkable. But there are higher peaks to be climbed. There are weightier and loftier things to be understood regarding God’s creativity. So if you’re tired of talking about the God of rocks and trees, then I have good news for you. There is more… so much more, and I can’t wait to talk about it.
Firstly, we should acknowledge that God’s creativity isn’t just limited to the physical. God is also the creator of the non physical; properties, laws, systems, cycles, fields, behaviors, personalities, events, and narratives. Think about the properties that exist; blue, crunchy, perforated, heavy and so on. Think about the laws God had to write; laws of gravitation and relativity, laws of thermodynamics, laws of electromagnetism. Think about the systems God has created; the solar system, the river system, the nervous system. Think about the cycles; the water cycle, the cycle of seasons, the lunar cycle. Think about the fields; scalar, vector, spinor, and tensor. Think about all the different kinds of animal behavior – how they all have their own way of interaction with each other, us, and the wider world. Think about how many countless personality types there are. And time – think about how God strings together events – how he writes saga after saga after saga of salvation history. God’s handiwork is not just physical.
Secondly, we should acknowledge that God’s creativity is different from our own. God creates everything out of nothing, gets inspiration out of nowhere, and seeks to impress nobody. God’s creation stands on its own – unrelated to anything else. It isn’t merely an artwork, and it isn’t merely a tool. God being sovereign needs nothing, wants nothing, and lacks nothing. He doesn’t need to experiment, nor does he need to calculate any kind of cost, nor does his creativity serve to extend the bounds of possibility. “For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things” (Romans 11:36) God is the embodiment of creativity. He is the author of originality. And he does whatever he wants.
For us, it can sometimes be difficult to have faith in this God. From our perspective, it can certainly look as if God doesn’t know what he’s doing at times. Why did God create venomous snakes? Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why do some people put on weight and others don’t? Why do so many children die in infancy? And why did God let me turn out the way I did? I honestly wish there was an easy answer. From what I’ve seen, it seems that every case is always different. God never does the same thing twice. The pages of scripture confirm this. Every time God saves Israel, it’s different. Every time God calls someone to follow him, it’s different. God is a God of variety and endless diversity. He’s always showing his love, power, wisdom, holiness and so on, in different ways. Sometimes we can feel frustrated because of how the world is – and perhaps some of this is justified. We long for a renewed creation. At other times though, we need to pay careful attention to our perspective. God didn’t create the world with us at the center, nor did he create the world with equality. He created the world to display his creativity. And his creative work is genius.
The real God is a creative God. If we keep this in mind, perhaps we’d find it easier to trust him.