Isn’t it funny that most children are born with the desire to create? Most children’s curriculums for Sunday schools provide coloring sheets to take home. When we are at home with nothing exciting to do, we know that Collin and Leah will love to open up a box of crayons and decorate any design at all, whether it be puppies, mermaids, blank pages, or our walls.
Doesn’t it seem like that quality is hard-wired into us? Maybe it’s been placed there to communicate a message? Maybe a Creator has something to say to us?
In the very first verse of the Bible, we see that, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). At the beginning of time, God’s very first action was creativity on an impossibly large scale. Could God have been utilitarian and created us in some bland, blank canvas? I suppose He could, but instead, we have galaxies, distances our minds can’t grasp, and the slight tilt to our planet that keeps us alive. We see the complexity of the human body, community that draws a swarm of bees together, and the desire in each of us to be loved. Creation is so massive in scale and every detail points to a creative Being.
I’m drawn in to passages like Romans 1:20 which tells us that “His invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.” Paul tells the community in Rome that God’s creativity in creation inherently points to His holiness and sovereignty, to the degree that we cannot help but see the hand of an Artist behind such beautiful composition. We can look at all that’s around us and know that “It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom; and by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens” (Jeremiah 10:12).
This same creativity has been hard-wired into us as well! Genesis 1:27 speaks of the incredible concept that “God created man[kind] in his own image.” Being in His image and having been given responsibility over His handiwork, we can each magnify Romans 1:20 in our contexts.
Someone who inspires me often in this way is my friend, David Marsh, whose writing in his book, The Confessions of Adam, embodies a creativity that’s reminiscent of God.
Through this fictional project, David imagined what things might have been like behind the scenes of the story of Adam and Eve and continued beyond the scope of the biblical narrative to explore their experiences with God, each other, and the budding humanity. Some time ago, I read a quote that had me immediately thinking of him –
“Vibrant cultures make space for leisure, philosophical reflection, scientific and intellectual mastery, and artistic and literary expression, among other things. Within the larger Christian community in America, one can find such vitality in pockets here and there. Yet where they do exist, they are eclipsed by the greater prominence and vast resources of the political activists and their organizations. What is more, there are few if any places in the pronouncements and actions of the Christian Right or the Christian Left (none that I could find) where these gifts are acknowledged, affirmed, or celebrated. What this means is that rather than being defined by its cultural achievements, its intellectual and artistic vitality, its service to the needs of others, Christianity is defined to the outside world by its rhetoric of resentment and the ambitions of a will in opposition to others.”
—James Davison Hunter
As Christians, we endeavor not to have cultural vibrancy stomped out by resentment and ambitions of a will in opposition to others. How do we do that? One important way is by forging forward in those areas of cultural vibrancy which capitalize on the love of Christ and His holy ambition to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Dave does this incredibly well. His writing is vibrant in a way that draws the soul into eager anticipation of the Life that God offers. It brings hope. It inspires worship.
Upon reading this quote, I sent Dave a message where I wrote: “Here’s to you – upholding a God-honoring and joyful definition of Christianity which celebrates cultural achievements, vitality, and service! To a man who never presents a rhetoric of resentment, nor ambitions of a will in opposition to others. You’ve inspired hope in me during tough times with encouraging conversations and you’ve shown me a better path forward for the Church than one of bitterness. I hope we [at GFC] have many many opportunities to support your arts and show the Body the infinite value it brings to our worship in God when so many other focuses detract our worship. You show the character of God when you create and it’s inspiring. I’m a far better man for your example! Thank you brother!”
Our church has been one that has always celebrated the arts. It has always encouraged our congregants to step forward in worship to God through creative talents and I don’t mind boasting about that fact as I am new enough here that I did not have a hand in building it into our DNA. That came from the hands of our elders and through Warren and Jeremy’s open-hearted receptivity to God in this way.
It is my prayer that this passion contradicts the divisiveness that takes front seat in so many conversations of our day. It is my prayer that God draws us nearer to His heart and mission through work that may not necessarily come at the hands of pastors, teachers, or the variety of the “faces” of the Church, but by the likes of Dave who invests and expends Himself in the spread of God’s truth through creativity which, like his Father, testifies to God’s sovereignty, holiness, and love for those which He created. Thank you, Dave, for your example which will always be a model to me of Christ that I hope to imitate (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff
To see David’s work, please visit him at https://davidjmarsh.com/. I know that it will be an incredible blessing to you.