Genesis 1:26 (ESV)
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
When we read that God created man in his own image, we learn two things:
- We’re created in His image.
- He made a point of telling us this. It’s something He wants us to know.
God has planted in His creation a wonderful clue about Himself. We can learn about God just by looking in the mirror. This doesn’t mean God has ten fingers and ten toes – it’s something more important – but what?
Of all the possibilities, one stands out – creativity. Creativity is the most obvious trait of the creator. Creativity is the most profound and relentless difference between us and the animals. It’s why restaurants give crayons to children.
We can learn a lot by studying the things we create – such as novels. When we play the role of creator, we see the relationship between created things and their creator from the other side. While there are differences between our creations and God’s, the analogy is very instructive.
Because analogies are dangerous, let’s note the differences first. Obviously, God’s creation is vastly larger and more complex than a novel. Also, there’s no communication between us and the characters we invent. And incarnation is impossible in a novel. You can write yourself into a novel but that’s not incarnation; if he/she suffers, you don’t feel it. Lastly, your characters cannot get promoted out of the novel into the real world. You can’t create an analogy to heaven.
But the similarities are intriguing. First, a creator doesn’t live in created time and doesn’t need to create things in chronological order. You can write the ending of a novel first. Also, a creator lives in a higher level of reality and has higher purposes. Imagine Romeo wondering if Shakespeare is on the side of the Montagues or the Capulets.
This is a lot to chew on. We can learn from meditating on these concepts but they’re dangerous too. We must never stop being humbled by the magnitude of all this. If some analogy gets us thinking we actually understand, we’ve lost our bearings. An analogy can move us from saying, “I can’t imagine how …” to, “I can imagine how …” but never to, “I know how …”
Meditation and prayer aren’t all that distinct. If you never stop seeking God’s guidance, then meditating on tough issues isn’t very different from prayer. You’re just being a student – studying, thinking, and asking for help.
That can be a very productive quiet time.
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