Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling
Continuing our series on how to navigate life’s journey with 2020 vision, the eighth element of spiritual clarity (and second of our escape routes from temptation) is co-creating. As mentioned in last month’s article, God always provides a means for avoiding that first step toward sin’s downward spiral (1 Corinthians 10:13). The reason we use the word “co-create” is that there is only one true triune Creator of all that exists in our universe:
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:66 ESV
All things were made through him and for him. While he does not need us to complete himself, he has graciously created us in his own image and has tasked to co-create with him:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” …Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. Genesis 1:26 and 2:19 ESV
While subduing demonstrates ownership, naming expresses the relationship—both of which are means of emulating our Creator’s activity as his image bearers. And just as the Father took delight in his creation and declared it good, so we are to follow his example through his Son:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 3:10 ESV
The Greek word for workmanship, ποίημα (poiēma) is the same word from which modern english derives the word “poem.” In other words, we ourselves are God’s creative work. For this reason, he invites us to pay it forward and express our creative longings through the gifts of his Holy Spirit:
The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. Exodus 31:1-5 ESV
The above text reminds us of a couple key elements. First, we are “called by name.” Again, we see this aspect of naming and its importance. Secondly, he fills us with the Holy Spirit who gifts us with abilities and intelligence and all other skills required to create. There is one major obstacle, however: sin. Sin mars our likeness as god-bearing images—and this includes are creative works. One of the best biblical examples of this is the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). Humankind had creatively developed the knowledge and skill to make bricks which would support taller structures. Tainted by sin, these craftsmen sought to use their creative skills to obtain equal status with God. Resultantly, humankind was scattered and divided by the breakdown of a common language that once united civilization.
Today, through the work of the Holy Spirit, our multilingual Church is united in Christ as image bearers of our Creator. We have been gifted to speak and sing creative words that bring life to wounded souls. We have been equipped to create beauty and rest out of the mire and chaos of our fallen world—pointing lost souls to their Creator. And when we take the escape route that the Holy Spirit has provided through co-creating, our hearts and minds turn from self-absorption and other forms of idol worship to the One who has delighted in creating us. It is in these moments that we escape temptation and are able to refocus our 2020 vision!