"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 2:19
While attending Westminster Theological Seminary, I went with some other students to New York City to meet with a Chinese Christian pastor. That pastor (whose name I do not recall) arranged for us to see a Broadway play and also went with us to the top of the World Trade Center building while we were in town. While on the observation floor of that building and looking out over the city skyline, I entered into a deep conversation with this Chinese pastor. Along the way I made the comment, "I'm not very creative." This man immediately rebuked me (and rightly so) reminding me that I was a son of Adam, made not only in his image but also in the image of God. "Our God is a creator, and he made Adam in his image, making him also a creator. You also were meant to create. Never say you are not creative." Adam's creativity is seen in the very earliest of acts that we read of him: the naming of the animals. That may seem like a simple enough task except that there were and are literally thousands of different animals (Wikipedia suggests that there are currently 8.7 million species!). Okay, so I got it: don't ever suggest that any person is not creative. We may be disobedient to what we were meant to be, but we are all sons of Adam, meant to reflect the likeness and image of God.
In Genesis chapter 11 we find mankind showing a great amount of creativity, saying, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves…" Here the problem was not the people's creativity but the fact that it was meant only for their own glory – to make a name for themselves. This is the problem with most modern art. Be it on a canvas, on a musical score or on the silver screen, it is all about the elevation of man and rarely for the glory of God.
And now we come to 2020, one of the darker years in modern history. Following the COVID-19 coronavirus and just when we thought, "Can it get any worse?" we had the George Floyd killing, and with that protests and riots. Mixed in with some well-meaning protesters were those with evil intent (be it to pillage, to create mayhem or even to incite war). Antifa was a word that we read and heard about: a self-described anti-fascist political movement with a variety of objectives that are to be met by either non-violent or violent means. Associated with this group have been such acts as covering buildings with graffiti, burning buildings, destroying cars, defying the police and tearing down monuments. The Chapel Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), later renamed the Chapel Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), considered an outgrowth of the Black Lives Matter (BLM), has come, by some, to be associated with Antifa. If you have seen pictures of this multi-block area in Seattle, Washington, you have undoubtedly gotten the impression that far from being interested in CREATING, this group seems intent on DESTROYING. They oppose the police and their presence (until someone is murdered and they need some help), they oppose the government (though they are keen on creating their own), and they oppose any differentiation between people (though within their own ranks, those in leadership have far more than those who are not in leadership).
The World Trade Center building – the very building in which I was challenged to consider myself creative – took years to build but was destroyed in minutes. Jesus said of our enemy, "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy" (John 10:10a). Anyone can tear things apart; anyone can destroy a car, a watch, a cell phone, or a person's life. Our purpose in life is not to destroy, but to create, and to do so to the glory of our Creator God. So be creative, brothers and sisters, for the glory of God!