The Original Designer
Creativity is the basis of Design, Art, and imagination. But what is interesting about creativity is that it is unique to humans. Animals may create beautiful designs using the environment around them but its merely a tactic of instinct to survive or procreate. Humans, however, create to express. We communicate emotion, feeling, and concept that comes from who we are, what we've been through, and where we are going.
Thats not a mistake. We are expressive. We create out of an excess of emotion.
God created out of an excess of emotion along with the spirit. God created us out of an excess of love. Not only that… but he created us in his image. So it is no surprise that he created us to express. He created us to create.
God is the original artist of the bible, the original artist of the universe, so naturally we start with the biggest creative endeavor throughout all of eternity.
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." Genesis 1:1-2
From the very beginning, we see the spirit’s role in creating the beautiful world we know today. God, with the spirit, designed. He dusted mountain tops with white powdered water. He designed vibrant displays for birds to use in order to attract a mate. He dressed flowers in a vast array of differing shapes and colors to simply attract the right insects, birds, and animals so that the plant could be pollinated and hope to live on as seed. He created water to take on three separate states, and travel thousands of miles so that it could carve and split rocks and mountains to form painted canyons; not to mention being the substance of life itself. He created the iris in our eye with such color and depth, so not only do they control the amount of light we see, they also communicate vast emotion, identity and attraction. He did all of this for us. Before the fall of man, we lived in perfect harmony with our creator. God, with the Spirit, created all of creation for man to see his majesty and his glory.
Then the fall happened. Man became separated from God. God was no longer able to walk with man in the creation he created for man. That bond and that relationship which was far more valuable than creation, was severed. However, in the Old Testament we still see God’s creative spirit at work even after the fall. And not only do we see his creative spirit – it rests on a man. So now enters a man named Bezalel. The first indication we have in the bible of God’s spirit filling a man is in Exodus 31: 1-5:
"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'."
He wasn’t a teacher, businessman, pastor, disciple, priest, or king. He was an artist. A designer. A craftsman. And now in the great relationship with man and God, the tides have turned. Here we see the spirit of creativity, in man, commissioned to create for God. Bezalel was tasked with using the spirit, and gifts God had given him to design and build the tabernacle – the very dwelling place of the divine presence. Imagine being tasked with such a feat, yet having complete confidence in your ability because you have been filled with the very spirit that created the unfolding spiral of a fern leaf, the pattern on the wings of a butterfly, and the delicately formed facets of a snowflake. Man now is charged with creating for God, due to man’s fall and separation from God. However, this still wasn't Gods intended design for his relationship with man. So it changes again…
God continues to create a way for humanity to be redeemed to original intentions. So then another man comes; this time a stone mason or carpenter. This time fully embodying God and his Spirit, born of a virgin. A perfect man sent to reconcile imperfect humanity through his death and resurrection. Jesus too created. He created an artistic work in people, for people. He created a work of compassion, love, joy, goodness, kindness, and humility. We can see this throughout the work of his teachings and miracles. We can see this in the way he shattered norms and spoke in parables. He then died so that we could encounter and experience a life full and complete with God. He then sent his spirit to dwell in all who accept and proclaim his name. Now we have access to the same creative spirit of Bezalel that now dwells in us, not just to create works for God but now to create with God for other people, just as Jesus did. So in light of the teachings of Jesus we have been charged to follow in the same foot steps of Jesus and create works in people through, kindness, love, teaching, wisdom, and compassion. This is the space in which we currently reside. This is the part of the story we get to live in.
Skye Jethani sums it up brilliantly in his Devotional:
"Those who belong to Christ are artists, gifted by God’s Spirit, and sent into his world to create beautiful things. We create communities of love, grace, peace, reconciliation, and justice where he can dwell and reveal himself to the world.”
Throughout the history of humanity, and throughout the bible, we see the active work of a creative spirit. The only thing that changes is our relationship with God. In light of what I know now about the current era in which we live, and in light of the sacrifice that has been made on my behalf so that I may live a life with God, I must respond with creativity not only visually but also relationally, and personally.
So whether you consider your self a designer or not, consider the role the spirit plays in your life. Consider the power you have to create. Consider how being filled with the spirit plays into what you create today.