Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Where Does Creativity Come From?

I recently wrote this short article for the Royal Colege of Art CU blog. Thought it might be of interest here too.

Where Does Creaticity Come From?
A Christian Worldview

The biblical worldview begins with the seminal actions of the creator God. “In the beginning God created…” (Genesis 1:1). Christians therefore believe that all acts of creativity originate from the creative character of God. The write of Genesis describes God’s pleasure in making the earth: the trees were “pleasing to the sight” (Gen 2:19) and all creation was “very good” (Gen 1). From the beginning God is deeply interested in the aesthetic dimension of his creation.

Genesis records mankind is unique in creation as the only creature privileged to be made in God’s image. Mankind was given rule over the earth as God has rule over all creation and humanity is creative, reflecting God’s own creativity. To be creative is simply to part of our blueprint as human beings and no further justification is required.

Adam named the animals and wrote poetry for his wife (Gen 2:23). Jubel was the father of all music (Gen 4:21). David composed music and lyrics (Psalms). Bezalel sculpted images in bronze and wood (Exodus 32). Oholiab made textiles and clothing (Exodus 32). The prophets spoke in poetry and parables. Jesus himself was craftsmen in wood. By example and design the bible champions the creative arts as integral to God’s reality and valuable in his Kingdom. Since God made all things “good” it is important for we who are made in is image to graft hard at our own acts of creativity.

If all acts of creativity originate in God what can we say about embezzlement, murder, terrorism and other acts of creativity that are neither good nor constructive? Why is it we often struggle to make good work? In the biblical worldview the process of creation was compromised as humanity rebelled against the authority and designs of God (Genesis 2). After the fall Adam and Eve find themselves arguing, work has become difficult and the earth itself is cursed making it hard for crops to grow and cultivation to occur. Painting will be hard. Design will, at times, fail but the Christian worldview doesn’t end with a broken creation. On the contrary, the New Testament describes a future renewal of creation demonstrated in the renewal of Jesus’ body at the resurrection. Like Christ’s resurrected body, the new creation is described as more real than the current creation with greater clarity and vitality. The book of Revelation describes the new creation as a garden city where there will be art, design, music, poetry, clothing and architecture. Rather than an idealised vision of utopia or paradise, the new creation is founded on the memory of a death: Christ’s death (at the centre on the throne is the Lamb of God) which, we might speculate, offers possibilities for art in the new creation founded on the memory of past lament as well as the elixir of present joy.


Well here a finished painting fresh off the studio wall. "Stages", 2010, oil on canvas (90x122cm)