In exploring the creative process of Genesis, I’ve found one of the most profound aspects of the whole endeavor to be the creation and placement of humanity.
There are so many fascinating elements at play here:
- Humanity is the first instance of God creating something from another substance.
Every other element of creation was brought into being by the spoken command of God.
But with humanity it was different…
Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Gen 2:7 Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
God stooped down into the dirt he had called into existence, and started shaping and forming and crafting.
And when He had finished, He didn’t speak life into the man, rather, He breathed into his nostrils, so that the man’s first breath was the very breath of God, giving air to his lungs, and life to the spirit within him.
There are so many ways that God showed his greatness through His creation, but none so personal as when he formed a man who would bear His own image and represent him in the Earth.
2. Humanity is the most deeply personal component of all that God created.
When God made man, he effectively put himself into his art.
There is so much in this.
What we create and how we create it, will always reflect something about ourselves. Our artwork is marked by our story. By our humanity. The joy of living and the pain of living. The laughter and the heartache. The hopes and dreams, the disappointments, the journey. Our failures and learnings, our successes and yearnings. Our work and our earnings and the futility of so many of our pursuits.
The fall of mankind and our redemption.
To create art is to tell a story. And to tell it well, we must put ourselves in the picture.
Somewhere, in someway, our art reflects something about who we are.
And who’s we are.
Humanity which has not been redeemed will tell a story that begins with searching and longing and ends in hopelessness.
But humanity that has been found in redemption, has a different story. Though it often begins the same, full of the brokenness that comes from our failures, the story eventually changes and becomes reflective of the divinity which brought about our redemption. The one who’s image we bear and who’s breath still gives life to our spirit. The one who’s story becomes our own as our path begins to be increasingly intertwined with His.
3. When God put humanity into the picture, he effectively gave away his completed work of art.
God blessed them:
“Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
Then God said, “I’ve given you
every sort of seed-bearing plant on Earth
And every kind of fruit-bearing tree,
given them to you for food.
To all animals and all birds,
everything that moves and breathes,
I give whatever grows out of the ground for food.”
And there it was.
God looked over everything he had made;
it was so good, so very good!
It was evening, it was morning—
What an interesting way to wrap up this work. He gave it away. To humanity.
It was meant to be explored and enjoyed. To become an inspiration, framework, and substance, for every work of art to come. And how profound that this, the greatest masterpiece, was given away. Free. Whether it would be used or abused seemed not to matter.
Perhaps the joy is in the creating, and in the giving.
It is something to ponder. Our work can be a job or a joy. Maybe even sometimes both. At times, the things we do for the monetary gain, become a burden. Not always, but often. And then on the other side, there is also a joy in experiencing compensation for the things we produce. Both can be satisfying.
But joy is always connected to giving. Unless we can give something for which we will never be repaid, we cannot enter into this divine demonstration of generosity.
This is something to explore in our art.
Perhaps this comes back to the purpose behind our creations. Who we have made them for.
If for instance, I wrote and recorded a song for a friend, I would give the song to them as a gift. But if I also sell the song and receive compensation for it, now, what was a gift, has gained a dual purpose, so perhaps some of the original meaning of the gift is lost, though not entirely if the friend still appreciates it.
I see this happen many times in Christianity. We make things for Jesus, songs, art, etc… But then we sell them and make money off of them ourselves.
I’m not here to say it’s right or it’s wrong, merely to pose the question. Who is our art for? What is it’s purpose?
And I’m not assuming EVERY creative work has an intended purpose. Sometimes we create merely for the joy of creating. I look at the galaxies and know that the majority of the things God created will never be even seen or explored with the human eye.
Yet He made them anyways. Maybe He had a reason to make galaxies so far away we will never even find them, or, maybe He didn’t need a reason.
Maybe He just… Felt like it.