God is Good (6)
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it wasvery good. Genesis 1.31
God the Creator
The Scriptures are emphatic that the cosmos came into being at the behest of God, and by the power of His Word:
Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast. Psalm 33.8, 9
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away. Psalm 148.5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. John 1.1-3
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11.3
For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water… 2 Peter 3.5
Matter is not eternal. To modify a phrase which the ancient Arian heretics wrongly applied to Christ, “There was when it (the creation) was not.” Matter has a beginning. Time has a beginning. Contrary to the flimsy and condescending argument of Lawrence M. Krauss in his book, A Universe from Nothing, and borrowing from Oscar Hammerstein III, “nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.”
Even the word used in Genesis 1 and elsewhere to describe God’s work of creating, the Hebrew verb בָּרָ֣א(bara), seems to be reserved primarily as a divine prerogative, especially as it relates to God’s original work of creation. In other words, only God can bara, and His work of bara is a special work, unique to Him, a work of great variety, immensity, complexity, beauty, mystery, intricacy, bounty, and wonder. We should not doubt, knowing this work to be so special, and God to be so infinitely wise and strong, that He could accomplish this work in six evening-and-morning days.
And, at least in the beginning, all this fruit of God’s bara was “very good.” God creates, and creating is an aspect of what makes God good. Out of His goodness, God created everything into nothing by the sheer power of His Word.
In his book, Creators, eminent historian Paul Johnson explains that all human creativity derives from the creating goodness of God. Out of His goodness, God created people in His own image and likeness, very good. That means that all people, made in the image of God, are creators, and that creativity is good. This is true even though all humans have fallen into sin and live in rebellion against God. Merely because we are sinners does not mean we are no longer God’s image-bearers. It simply means that we have chosen to deny or ignore our true nature, preferring instead to define ourselves – and everything else we regard as good – according to our own preferences and priorities
So because human beings are God’s image-bearers still, they will create, and much that they will create will be good.
Creativity and goodness
But not all creativity is good. As we might suppose, creative efforts that make for hostility, promote unrighteousness, sow disharmony, and put things into a state of confusion and disorder are not good, because they do not reflect the goodness which God is.
But creativity rightly understood and properly pursued – mirroring the creative goodness of God, and working to bring His goodness to light in the land of the living – such creativity is good, and can be very good, indeed.
The better we understand the workings of creativity, and the more we apply ourselves to the disciplines that engage our creative powers, the more we may expect to know the goodness of the Lord in all our good works.
God is good, and in His work of creating, the goodness which inheres in God is refracted through temporal and material beings and things. God’s creativity signals to us that He considers it a good thing that His goodness be extended throughout everything that is. God intends to fill His cosmos with His goodness, which goodness, as we shall see before long, is ultimately to be discerned in the One Who became flesh to declare God to the world (Heb. 1.3), and whom the young ruler rightly referred to as “Good.”
And with Whom God is filling His cosmos with good (Eph. 4.8-10).
1. How would you define creativity? Do you agree that everyone is creative? Explain.
2. How might we be able to tell when some creative effort is good?
3. How should you expect to express the creativity of God in your own life?
Next steps – Conversation: Where in your life do you have opportunities to do something creative? Talk with a Christian friend about this question.
T. M. Moore
What are you doing at 8:18 am? If you’re with Bruce Van Patter, you’re observing the goodness of God in your immediate surroundings. Take a look at Bruce’s column, and let your world come alive with goodness (click here). You can subscribe to receive 8:18 as often as it comes out, right on your desktop.
Our Mission Partners Outreach can help you follow God’s call to share the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom with the people in your Personal Mission Field. The training and materials are free, and the program is available in two formats, and can be used in your Bible study group or Sunday school class. Watch this brief video (click here), and download the informational flyer to learn more.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.