I love watching my son create- seeing him scribble all over a piece of paper and promptly declare that the Jackson Pollock-worthy piece is “Daddy.” Or watching him form pieces of play dough into balls, or seeing him build towers out of Duplo pieces. Most of all, I love when he finds my percussion lying randomly around the house, and starts to sing to his own accompaniment.
And I am reminded that this boy is, every day, a creator. Whether he knows it at this stage or not, the little man is demonstrating the very nature of God.
You see, we are created. Made, formed, shaped- however you like to say it, God created us. And when He did, He left the imprint of Himself on our nature. In short, God made us to relate to, and to mirror, Himself. Part of Himself that He implanted in us is the ability to create- just like He did.
Children have an innate grasp of creativity, perhaps partly because they are learning so much every day. They live in an undisguised sense of wonder, in an uninhibited (if unaware) appreciation of the beauty of Christ. Everywhere they look is a new mystery, a thing to be uncovered and understood. This is a representation of God’s nature in His creation: Always a new mystery; always a new understanding.
But it goes further still. The beauty of God is in Christ. I rarely think in these terms, to be honest. When I think of who Christ is, I’m not sure my first thought has ever been, “Beautiful.” Think with me, though: God created the world, and declared it good. He filled everything He made with beauty. He created us; thus, in us, there is beauty. But we are broken, sinful, and dead because of our sins. Yet 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” Our beauty is restored because Christ has recreated us. Creation brings beauty. The Creator gives His beauty to us. And we, in turn, can give that beauty to our creations.
We learn so much of the nature of God in creativity. We see His wisdom; we see His imagination. We come to understand that God pours Himself into us- His love, His heart, His passion- just as we pour into our creations. And it gives to us such a sense of security, of resting in the Hands that formed you, formed you not impassively or coldly, but with the greatest care and the most sincere desire for your good. When I create, I discover what it means to be loved by the Creator.
I want my sons to find these treasures, to find safety and security in knowing Who made them and the care He took in making them. And I want them to experience for themselves- to find a passion for creativity, in whatever manifestations, that will allow them to explore and make and feel the nature that comes from God Himself.
It would be so easy to impose my understanding of creativity on my sons. Music, literature, and story strike deep, resonant notes in me that lead me to pursue God’s beauty. But it may not be so for them. Their passions may lie more analytically, more physically, than mine do. “The Arts” as we know them don’t monopolize creativity. And it is my job, as their father, to steer them not toward my sense of creativity, but toward their own- wherever that may lie. To steer them toward that passion in their lives that will cause them to pursue the beauty in this world, and- more importantly- the Beauty that put it here.
May I never be guilty of imposing my understanding of God’s beauty on my sons.
May I never so force them into my own mold that they give up the pursuit of becoming beautiful as He is.
May our sons ever be in pursuit of the Divine Beauty, creatively exploring how the Beauty has imprinted Himself in this natural world, and seeking an ever-deepening knowledge of Him through His perfect creative acts.