In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness with no shape to the earth, nothing to separate morning from evening, and no living creatures exploring the vast unknown. All that existed was the Spirit of a creative God hovering over the waters, poised to make His next move.
Suddenly, out of this black nothingness, the creative Voice spoke: “Let there be light.” For the first time in the course of history, light came into the darkness and ignited a subsequent creation that had never before existed. As the Eternal Voice continued to speak over the course of the next five days, bringing everything out of nothing, the Earth as we know it began to take its purest, original form.
Dazzling blue waters formed white waves that crashed into sandy shores, rising and falling with the tide. Further inland, mountains rose majestically from the ground, casting shadows on the land before them as they loomed high above the rest. White billowing clouds were placed in a newly formed sky with an artistic flair, yet as the light hid itself in the evening, dazzling stars could be seen glowing against the black backdrop of the galaxy.
On day three, this inventive God designed something different: life. As living trees and plants began to sprout up from the fertile soil after a simple command of His voice, it was clear that something was different here: this vegetation wasn’t like the oceans, the mountains or the clouds. The vegetation was spoken into existence with the ability to create seeds — and with those seeds falling to the ground, God had given the plant the potential for it to create yet another plant.
This God had begun creating creators; speaking into existence things that could bring, in turn, new things into existence. The plants were living creations, but they were only a small taste of what God would come up with next. On day five, the air was filled with birds that made their homes on the mountains and in the trees, soaring high over the land. In the water, fish and creatures of all kinds swam throughout the deep. Just as He had with the living vegetation, the Voice once again proclaimed that these creatures would be given the potential to reproduce — creating even more creation on their own.
The joyful genesis was far from over, because God still had big plans up His sleeve to unveil. The Voice boomed into the cosmos: “Let there be land creatures of all kinds!” and suddenly, it was reality. Rhinoceros stampeded in herds across the plains, monkeys swung playfully from tree to tree, wolves congregated in packs accompanied by wagging tails, and lizards lounged around on the sun-warmed rocks.
All of the living creatures who now inhabited the land were given the power to create more of their kind, just like the sea animals and plant life before them. All of creation was on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what He would make next.
It turned out that the amazing land mammals were only the beginning of God’s plans on that sixth day, because He soon made this pronouncement: “Let Us make something new, something in Our own image.” Instead of speaking something else into being (as He had with everything else thus far), the very hands of the Eternal God reached down and scooped up some of the dirt He had created on the third day, sculpting it into the shape that we now recognize as human. It wouldn’t do to have a big pile of dirt sitting around, so God did something with it: He breathed some of His own breath into the nostrils of this dirt figure.
Human life began on that sixth day as His divine breath instilled flesh, blood and a soul into what had been the dirt sculpture just moments before. This creation, called man but more specifically given the name Adam, was tasked with naming every single creature that populated the newly formed world. As you can imagine, the further along in the process Adam got, the more he realized that it was a lonely job. Animal after animal; name after name — and yet none of these animals would be suitable as a partner for Adam himself.
It was clear that there was yet a void to be filled in this creation. After placing Adam into a deep sleep and taking a rib from him, the Craftsman fashioned a second human who would be the perfect partner for the man. When Adam awoke from his slumber, he was overjoyed to find this new creation standing in front of him. He came up with one more name for this new kind of human: woman, to remind all of humanity that she had come from the man.
So it came to be that all of creation came into existence in six days; each and every piece of it pronounced as good by the Creator Himself as He savored the beauty of what He had put into place. The humans were not only given the power to reproduce but also commanded to do just that, to “be fruitful and multiply” and increase in number. As God rested on the seventh day, He overlooked a creation who was created to create. The creative process wasn’t really over because much of it would continue to reproduce brand new living beings into existence for the rest of history.
Exiting the wonder of that moment and fast forwarding several thousand years to arrive in modernity, it’s easy to identify a world populated by humans who have forgotten the amazing awe of those first few days. Today, a mountain is simply another obstacle to get through on a trip across the states, the vast expanse of the oceans are a dumping ground for garbage and other sorts of pollution, and the reverence of human reproduction has simply become another statistic that can be silenced by abortion.
In the midst of that kind of a world, it can become easy to forget that humans were created to create. We have become stuck in a pattern of stagnation, simply engaging in work and other parts of life because it’s all a part of the planned schedule. Seemingly gone at times is the joy that Adam and Eve celebrated alongside the creative God as agendas and itineraries direct our every step. The humans who were created to create have often made the choice to create absolutely nothing.
What if life was meant to be about so much more than what it has become? If we truly believe that the God who designed the heavens and the earth did so creatively and joyfully and made us to be just as creative, then it seems that we have settled for less. The truth is, there are endless ways to use our creativity as members of the human race if only we have the eyes to see the potential available to us.
The most obvious way that humans have been the power to create is through sexual reproduction. In today’s world, sex has become just another step in the ladder of romantic dating — a far cry from the committed reality of marriage that God created between the first man and woman. Consider for a moment the miracle of human birth; the reality that the infant wouldn’t have existed without both the mother and father’s involvement to create a brand-new life. No two other people in the universe could have come together to create this new life with this specific DNA and personality. This power to make that which could not have existed under any other circumstances is raw evidence of the creative power that we’ve been given.
The human power to create goes far past reproduction and can either be used for good or evil. As an example, simply take the time to consider the kind of media available for consumption today. While many have chosen to make beautiful and meaningful art in the form of paintings, music and movies, there are countless examples of creation gone wrong. Horror movies have been produced that exist solely to visualize graphic and violent ways to destroy the human body. Romance novels and pornographic websites cheapen God’s gift of sex and turn it into a fantasy.
There are all sorts of ways to use the creative process for evil, but God wants Christians to be in the business of making the kinds of things that change the world. Jesus made it clear that we are to be the salt and light of the world, and we have the responsibility to create the kinds of things that fall into that reality.
Ultimately, it may be our emotions that often dictate the kinds of things we create in this world. The wrong use of romantic passion leads to breaking the sacred matrimony of marriage, an overabundance of grief can end in depression and even suicide, and unchecked anger can result in hate that causes even the most levelheaded individuals to act out of their character. Whether you realize it or not, how you control your emotions (or allow your emotions to control you) has the potential to create beauty or pain in your life and within the world around you.
As an example, consider the power of anger and what it has led people to do throughout human history. It’s not hard to locate a guy who struggles with anger at a pro football game; he’s the one screaming at the referee every single time his team receives a penalty — whether it’s deserved or not. Anger has ended countless friendships, been the source of many abuse cases, and even could be blamed for a multitude of murders. Anger is a fuel that humans use to create horrible, hellish realities on earth every single day.
On the other hand, anger can be used to fuel beautiful acts of redemption through Christ. If it seems hard for you to believe that anger could ever bring about something positive, take a moment to consider a few of the following statistics:
Approximately 35.8 million men, women and children are victims of slavery in the world today. In the West African nation of Mauritania (one of the largest sources of modern-day slavery), estimates range from 1 to 4 percent of the entire population being slaves. That may be as many as 160,000 citizens of the nation who are living their lives in captivity. While the United States falls far below the number of Mauritania, it’s still a sickening reality that there are approximately 60,000 captives located in the land of the free and the home of the brave today.
It’s hard not to get upset when you come to the realization that not only adults but children are being taken advantage of around the world. It’s only natural for a Christ-follower to get angry when they hear about people being abused and mistreated. The anger that comes from this kind of a revelation is very unlike the anger of the guy who yells at the referee during the fourth quarter, because righteous anger has purpose and meaning and brings forth beautiful acts of redemption.
One of the Free Methodists who have dedicated their lives to this kind of righteous anger is a man named Kevin Austin, a missionary who decided that he wants to be a part of ending modern-day slavery. He has decided to spend his life freeing the captives through the Set Free Movement, an organization that proclaims true freedom for all. God is working through Austin to create amazing new futures for people throughout the world who previously were bound in darkness.
As you determine what your purpose is, simply begin with the world at the end of your fingertips. How can you redirect your emotions to increase the beauty and compassion in the world? What kinds of things are you righteously angry about in your community, and how could you make a difference through Christ to impact a change? How can you partner with your church to create love in the lives of those who have no love and throw parties for those who have no parties?
We have been given an amazing gift by the Craftsman of the universe to create just as He did, imaginatively and using the originality that we’ve been gifted with. We are a creation that has been given the power to create; humanity that could bring redemption into the darkness. May we each discover the creativity instilled within us, may we bring light into the dark places in endlessly creative ways, and may we make things to which God responds “it is good.”
Josh Avery is the director of student ministries at Freedom Church in New Middletown, Ohio.4