God is the First and Ultimate Creator

We are created beings and God is not. The difference between God and man is not one of degrees, but of kinds. God is wholly other than us. In this way, God alone is the Creator. All things are a result of His will to create. Our own existence is found in God. Yet, even though we are not supreme creators, in God’s kindness He has granted us the ability to be creative. We can be creative with our words, body language, photography, paintings and clothing, because God first and foremost granted us the ability to do so. 

 

With that being said, the creative process is best done when it finds its starting point in God’s act of creation. God created man so that man might worship him. We too, when we engage in creativity, should utilize it so that it may help push man unto the worship God.

 

God’s act of creation ex nihilo (out of nothing) was an act love and goodness, and demonstrates His own unity. The persons of the trinity exist in an eternal and loving relationship. It was out of this loving relationship that God created. There was no malevolence or anger in God’s act of creating—it was done out of love. As we involve ourselves in creativity and the arts, it must be done out of a place of love. As Christians, there is no room for vanity or self-glorification in our creative endeavors. Our works of creation should reflect God’s own love, and man’s evilness. God alone is good, and we are not. Good art, in whatever way possible, ought to communicate the gospel truths of God’s goodness and man’s futility.

 

Similarly, God did not create so that He might be good, but rather out of His own goodness, He created. Creation is a result of God’s goodness, not vice versa. Our creative undertakings should be in the pursuit of goodness, purity, justice and honesty. What we create needs to be a product of the grace and goodness God has bestowed upon us, not a fruit of our own pride.  

 

Importantly, creation was one act that was done in a perfect unity that represents God’s own unity. While God exists in three persons, the work of creation is not reducible to three separate acts. The late theologian John Webster noted that God's “creation is a common work of the undivided Trinity; there are not three creators. But there are three who create.”[1] It is vital to know that God created in perfect communion and unity within Himself. The unity that is visible in God’s creation ex nihilo must be visible in our own creations. Art, music, poetry, photography, etc., should promote unity and break down hostility. This is not to say our own creative projects should refrain from proposing truths that can be divisive, but rather, our end goal as creatives should be to unify. Just as God created in perfect communion between all three persons of the trinity, we too should create in communion with others. Creativity flourishes in a space that has various perspectives, opinions and styles.

 

As creatives, we are to find our passions and motivations in God himself. Artists are not to produce work in vanity but rather “to manifest what is expressly revealed in the Scripture concerning God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; so as that we may duly believe in him, yield obedience unto him, enjoy communion with him, walk in his love and fear, and so come at length to be blessed with him for evermore.”[2] Christian artists are to be communicators of divine beauty. We are to represent God and what He has done in Christ.

 

We are to be thankful that God has granted us the ability to create. We get to go about our creative processes out of that very thanksgiving. Through and through, creativity is nothing less than finding oneself in awe of God’s beauty and having no option but to communicate that beauty to others.

 

[1] Webster, John. 2010. "Trinity and Creation." International Journal of Systematic Theology 12, no. 1: 4-19.
[2] J. Owen, A Brief Declaration and Vindication of the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity [1669], in Works, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1965), p. 406.

 

Neal Spadafora