Like you, I've often said that this or that artist, writer, guitarist, is really "creative." But when we say that, we're always wrong.
No human being has ever, strictly, created anything. That is, we've never brought anything brand-new into being ex nihilo. At our very best, we're re-creative. We may rearrange some molecules or tonalities in an inventive or fresh way. But even there, "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
And when we are re-creating, I wonder whether all of us face the same frustration.
For instance, I've actually very recently gone back to drumming. (Cue our Bill Gothard alum readers.) Listening to Chicago's Danny Seraphine in my teens got me interested in drumming, and my longsuffering parents let me purchase a drum set. As in so many things, I was too undisciplined to stick with lessons, but I wailed away on my own in my room, until I was probably somewhere around "barely adequate." Then, after my conversion, the ministry I was under told me rock was bad, so I got rid of the drums.
But I've always had a love of rhythm, and a deep feel for it, even in playing guitar. (The Gothard fanboy readers cock an eyebrow and nod significantly.) Our church has a very skilled drummer (cue our "Satan put drums in church" readers). I sat down and messed with the drums a couple of times when no one was looking. Then I started finding extra time to practice a little, and scrape off the rust. Then the pastor heard me. Then he invited me to sit in one Sunday evening when they had no drummer.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Now I'm in the rotation, and scheduled to play again for the two services this Sunday. (Cue the "amateurs performing in church" critics.) (Cue the "I-can't-believe-you-used-the-word-'perform'" gang.) (Cue the "too-many-parenthetical-remarks" colloquium — oh wait, that's my crowd!)
All that to say this: every time I play, I'm frustrated. I have some really great ideas in my mind and (you'll pardon me) soul, but I just can't get them out my hands and feet! It was the same playing guitar.
In fact, it's the same in everything I do, even the things I arguably do better than other things. I love preaching more than just about anything — but in maybe three decades of preaching, I've never yet sat down and felt a sermon was exactly what it should have been. Ditto my writing, my parenting, my husbandry. More or less adequate for the task; never just what I was aiming at, to say nothing of what it should be.
So?, you ask.
So this makes me think how great God is. Listen:
The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;Listen again:
by understanding he established the heavens;
20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew (Proverbs 3:19-20)
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,Or consider the Creation narrative of Genesis 1—2. These chapters stand in such stark contrast to contemporary creation myths of Moses' day and earlier. In those fairy tales, there is no account of ultimate origins; all is born of strife and battle among the gods.
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
he puts the deeps in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm (Psalm 33:6-9)
By stark contrast, Genesis depicts one God creating everything out of nothing, by the mere exercise and expression of His will. There is no struggle, no challenge. He says, "Let there be," and there is. Just like that.
I picture the array of the Krell power dials in the wonderful classic Forbidden Planet. Were they measuring the exertion of God's power in creation, not a needle would have flickered. God's power is that vast; quite literally unimaginable.
And what's more, He never experienced the frustration that you and I feel, the disconnect between heart and hand, between idea and reality. "Good," He says, again and again throughout creation. And then finally, when He has crowned the whole with the creation of man, "Very good." Creation reflected the idea of God. The Father's decree was carried out by the Son (John 1:3), and overseen by the Spirit (Genesis 1:2), and the whole embodied exactly what He had meant to create. Perfect conception, perfect execution.
Creative? You, me? Nahh, not really.
Oh, yes. The Creator, you might say.