Imagination and Creation


What would you do with a piece of board (barn wood, plywood, etc.),  a piece of wire,  a pine cone, some small scraps of cloth, clean kitty litter, assorted pieces of tree bark, and nail polish?

You might say, “Well, if I saw those items lying around, I’d probably leave the pine cone where I found it, the piece of wire on my workbench, the kitty litter in the bag until I need it for my cat box.

I have a friend named Cheryl who has the ability to use the handful of objects listed in the opening paragraph, plus many other scraps and discarded articles, to produce creative 3-dimensional “pictures”, (such as the one pictured in this blog) many of which serve a useful purpose –  as cup holders, paper towel holders or key racks.

What makes the difference in seeing something as “scrap” or a component of art?  You might respond that it’s an artistic eye. But I believe it’s something called “imagination” and its part of God’s original creation of man.

Gen.1:27 says:

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Before God created, He first envisioned the things He would create. Before He spoke, “Let there be lights in the heavens”, He first saw lights in His mind – the sun, the moon and the stars.

You might respond. “That’s what artists do. They first envision and then they create. While the rest of us without artistic ability are simply there to enjoy what others create.”

But is that really the way it was meant to be?

What does that mean that we were created, “in His image?”

I believe that part of the “image of God” is the ability to create. And the tool for creating is a word derived from the word “image” – that tool is imagination. (Which leads me to recommend a song by that title, Imagination, from a children’s musical that David and I wrote. See links at the end of this post.)

God imaged things, then He spoke them into being; they were in His mind, then they came into existence. And we can do the same with our imaginations.

I don’t mean we can speak them into existence; for us it takes sweat and toil. But we can create what we imagine.

All the arts: music, painting, dance and theater come from the imagination. Poetry and prose, writing that tells a story or promotes a belief, a dream, or a philosophy also spring forth from the imagination.

It was imagination that led to the development of airplanes, spaceships, satellites, electricity and computers. Imagination also produced clothespins, paintbrushes and mousetraps.

So why do many people seem to lack imagination?

Many of our imaginations are surrendered to other people’s creations and manipulations. Through television, computer on-line activities, cell phone texting, game boys, and other time robbers – we are entertained, talked, or “visioned” to the death of our own ability to imagine. Often, our imaginations are led off into things that are harmful to mind and spirit and therefore fruitless: life-destroying, not life-giving.

Creative imagination functions best in a time of rest or repose. Times when our minds are at ease. Most of us hurry through the expectations and obligations of our lives and never experience wakeful rest. Some of us don’t even rest while asleep.

I have taught children’s church and junior high groups for years and find a great lack of ability to access imagination – to be creative. Unless things change, these kids will grow up to lack creativity and inventiveness.

We all need to learn to slow down, to let go of some of our frantic activities, to actually sit and think. And to encourage our children to do the same. We need to free up our schedules so that there is time to relax – a time to allow the “image of God” to come forth as we spend time with Him, out in His creation – without TVs or cell phones or game boys.

How are you using your God-given imagination? And how has that led to creativity that reflects the image of God – creativity that blesses or benefits those around you? Share your thoughts with me.

Real Things, available as MP3

Real Things, available on CD format

©2011, Marcy Alves

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About Marcy

I love my Father-God. Together we are walking through a season of my life where I am standing with him against cancer. He is my strength and trust. As one of his daughters, my passion is to share his love with others in practical, everyday illustrations and insights.

Posted on August 5, 2011, in Christian Growth, God Encounters, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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