What Makes Us Human?
As a shovel is made to dig, a knife to cut, and a hammer to strike, so you and I are made to create.
To say, “Oh, not me, I’m not creative,” isn’t humble, it’s ignorant. You might as well say, “I’m not human.”
God Created Creators
When God created light, night and day, land and sea, fish, birds and animals, he checked his work and pronounced it, “Good.”
But when He created human beings in His own image—as micro-copies of Himself—He did NOT say it was good. No. Instead, He looked at the human being he had created and said, “Very good!” He had created a creative being.
Then God set Adam to work. His first task was, of course, a creative one. He brought each animal to Adam to see what he would name it, and whatever name Adam came up with, that was its name. God didn’t interfere or correct, He trusted Adam’s creativity to come up with a suitable name.
God Created Us to be Imaginative
God made human beings with the capacity to imagine—to picture in our mind, to visualize something in our imagination. We see the finished product with the eye of our mind. Our imagination is God-given, it is one of the things that sets us apart from animals.
When our first grandchildren, twin boys, were about two years old, they loved to “fix” things. From their favorite kitchen drawer they would equip themselves with “tools” such as mixer beaters, a metal spatula, an egg beater, etc., and crawl under the dining room table to tap and rattle their tools on the bolts and metal slides. In their imagination they were repairing cars, trucks, rockets, and who knows what?
Is COVID-19 A Benefit?
For generations, creativity was trained out of us by our culture. In the past three months, however, COVID-19 has forced us to use our creativity to do things counter-culturally. Naturally creative school children are no longer taught to follow the old rules and color between the lines. Instead, old rules are out, and teachers, parents and students work together creatively in unique ways to to teach and to learn.
Workers in factories and offices were made to work like robots, doing the same thingsover and over again. Employees were fired for exercising creativity—thinking of other, better ways to do things. In the past three months, employers in many industries are encouraging people to work from home wherever possible.
Moms at home with their kids have had to be creative to keep the kids busy while not allowing them to play with other children, or even go to the playground.
Five months ago, if you had asked a roomful of adults, “How many of you are creative?” few people would have raised their hands. But, once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and the opportunity comes up to ask this of another roomful of adults, probably every hand will go up.
When we need to solve problems, especially in situations we have not encountered before, our creativity has a chance to emerge. During our decades in Brazil, for instance, Jo creatively adapted her recipes substituting Canadian ingredients with whatever was available in the Canela village during the no-fruit season. Yes, she used crackers, lemon juice, and cinnamon to make a pie that tasted deliciously like apple pie.
As it did in God’s mind, all creation starts in our imagination. He imagined light, expressed it in words, and it sprang into being. So it is with us. We imagine an improvement to our home, a story to write, or a solution to a problem. We express it, talk about it with others, and begin work to create a reality.
What Does God Expect of Us?
God expects us to serve Him, not by blindly obeying a set of rules—a list of do’s and don’ts—but rather by creatively using our minds and hearts, our experience and skills, and our relationships and resources to do His work. No, most of us don’t need to name more animals, but there are problems galore to solve creatively in this sin-cursed world.
We are to love our Creator God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
May our Creator God guide us as we commit to using the creative imagination he gave us to love him by lovingly meeting the needs of others in this needy world, from the homeless man or woman around the corner to Bible-less people groups around the world.