A Mandate for Creativity
God brought every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens to Adam to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name ( Genesis 2:19).
We are made in the ‘image of God’ (Gen 1:27). God is a creator and we reflect this creative aspect of God. We create because God is a creator. In fact, we have the mandate to be ‘creative’. Human ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ is God-given. Therefore, we never surprise (or shock) God either with our ‘tools’ or ‘toys’. Our creativity is because of our identity as God’s Image-bearers.
In the Genesis account (Chapter 2), we see that God provides a ‘space’ for Adam to ‘create’. Gen 2:15 reads: The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it (Gen 2:15). The Garden was filled with goodness, beauty and truth. In fact, it was truly a garden of delight (Eden). God placed Adam in this Garden of delight. God wanted the goodness, beauty and truth of Creation to be sustained through human intervention.
The ‘beauty’, ‘goodness’ and ‘truth’ of the garden needed to be ‘tended’ and ‘kept’. The Garden becomes the ‘work-space’ for Adam to make ‘tools’, if necessary, to increase its productivity, sustain growth and enhance the aesthetics. Adam’s role to ‘tend and keep’ does not limit his role (as a ‘caretaker’) but rather ‘expands’ his role (as a co-creator). Adam is granted the privilege to enhance the delights of the Garden using his creativity and innovation.
Secondly, we find that God gives Adam the ‘freedom’ to exercise his creativity. Gen. 2: 19 reads: God brought every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens to Adam to see what he would call them. While God creates the ‘animals and birds, Adam is granted ‘naming rights’. Here is Adam’s first ‘opportunity’ to be creative. Interestingly, the story presents the creator God as looking forward to seeing what Adam would do with this opportunity to exercise ‘creativity’. God invites Adam to partner with him in his creative activity. Adam – as co-creator with God – gets a ‘role’, ‘voice’, and ‘status’.
Thirdly, God affirms Adam’s creativity. God expected Adam to be creative and Adam gave names to every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens (v. 20). We can safely assume that he was happy with Adam’s creativity because whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name (v19). God ‘agrees’, ‘accepts’ and ‘affirms’ Adam’s creativity.
God invites humanity to be co-creators and work alongside him. God wants us – humans – to ‘tend’ and ‘keep’ his creation. God has given humanity – you and me – the mandate to develop ‘culture’, ‘tools’ and ‘ideas’ that will add ‘beauty’, ‘goodness’ and ‘truth’ to God’s creation.
God has provided the ‘opportunity’, ‘freedom’ and ‘affirmation’ for human creativity. He waits to see what we would make of our ‘role’, ’voice’, and ‘status’ as God’s image-bearers.
Samuel Thambusamy works with Barnabas Today. He is a PhD candidate with OCRPL and lives with his family in Bangalore
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash