Theology of Creativity
“The modern notion of art is an essentially religious or magical one in which the artist is viewed as a holy beast who in some way, big or small, receives flashes from the godhead, which is known as creativity.” Tom Wolfe’s characterization of the artist is dramatic, but speaks to the heart of the idea that creativity is as close to God’s character as humans can reach.
Our creative God has given us all the ability to create and speak God’s truth if we open ourselves up to our inner artist. In order to grow in creative ability we must continually ask for the creative Spirit and find new ways to practice creativity in our daily devotional life. This increase in creativity will infuse our preaching with a creativity that allows us to see and interpret the Word in new ways.
Paul Levy, in his article “Spiritual Experience,” says that artists are oriented toward the invisible, the mystery and what is yet to be revealed.1 Artists have been characterized as persons with heightened sensitivity to the ordinary experience.
Visualize Jesus as an artist with great sensitivity to the suffering of people. He transmits the vision of the kingdom of God. Renown for his storytelling, an art form of ancient times, Jesus created images whose message continues to speak to us today.
Come to know God, the creator through Genesis 1:1, the creation story: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The story is poetic and lovely, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis1:27). God created. God created in God’s own image. We as God’s creations were meant to create. God assigns the Israelites the duty of making the tabernacle, God’s dwelling place, God’s vision to be realized by human hands in Exodus 35. God calls Bezalel and Oholiab by name, and “all who are skilled” (Exodus 35:30-35).
Finally the Holy Spirit, our gift on Earth of God’s presence among us as a constant inspiration is the theology of creativity. Artists are seekers of the Holy Spirit and divine inspiration. Seeking to be present, seeking to be a medium of God, seeking to create. Thomas Merton said it well, “God Who, in [God’s] mercy, completes the hidden and mysterious work of creation in us by enlightening our minds and hearts, by awakening in us the awareness that we are words spoke in [God’s] One Word and that Creating Spirit which dwells in us, and we in [God].”2
1 Levy, Paul. “Spiritual Experience.” http://www.awakeninthedream.com/spiritual-emergence/ Accessed 03/01/16. Paraphrase.
2 Elsheimer, Janice. The Creative Call: An Artist’s Response to the Way of the Spirit. (Water Brook Press: Colorado Springs, 2001), 42.