I'm struggling to intertwine two loves. I'm in love with the deeply satisfying riskiness of creativity. But even greater is my faithful, mysterious, extravagant God, the Father I adore. How do these two relate? I've heard the philosophy of creativity that's popular among Christians right now: Because we are made in the image of God, we create to imitate our Creator. I believe this. I've felt it. God has come to give us life and my most alive moments have been creative ones. And I've heard the now cliché advice: "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you give glory to God by the way you do it.
Those are good, Biblical answers, but I need more than that. I find myself thirsty for God's purpose and I won't be satisfied until I know: Do artists really matter to the kingdom? Do I matter? Or am I better off using my gifts in more "spiritual" ways, like writing Bible studies on Proverbs or fighting for social justice with the local non-profit?
A few weeks ago, I finally heard God speak. He told me the story of the temple's dedication:
After years of work, artists were finally finished with the last reverent details of the temple's decadence. The ark had been brought inside and now it was time to dedicate the house of the Lord. All the priests gathered, most of them musicians, artists. And they started to worship, with trumpets and cymbals and harps and lyres: "He is good! His faithful love endures forever!"
What a picture: artists gathered to reflect God's glory! Can you imagine the power of this worship service? Hundreds of people, each of them artists, declaring Yahweh's glory with every bit of their humanity! Creativity truly reflecting the glory of the Creator.
But it was the next part that really blew me away.
"At that moment a thick cloud filled the temple of the Lord. The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the temple of God."
Did you catch that?
They stopped creating – stopped reflecting God's glory – because God entered the room Himself.
Artists live to reflect God's glory. We shout his goodness and his love, flash glimpses of his beauty to an ugly world. But all along we long for the day when glimpses are no longer necessary. We long for the day when God himself will reveal his glory!
1 Corinthians 13:10,12 says it beautifully: "When perfection comes, the imperfect disappears... Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face."
In essence, we as artists live to work ourselves out of a job. And what a sweet unemployment!
What are your thoughts on the theology of creativity?