It is a God given wish of all beings to create. Why? Because it is a reflection of you; part of you ends inside that creation. While flying back to Oklahoma City from a business trip to Indianapolis on June 1, 1994, I noticed a beautiful cover on a magazine. It was the painting “Medicine Woman” by artist Helen Hardin. I picked up the magazine and found a wonderful article on the artist. A quote from the late Helen Hardin that appeared in the United Airlines in-flight magazine, “Hemispheres”, June 1994, was as follows:
“I don’t fear death because I know I’ll always be here through my paintings. I want to be good at what I’m doing, I want to make it complete. It’s the reward of living and the reward I have to give to those who survive me. It’s the only thing I can give that’s really me.”
Helen Hardin died of cancer on June 9, 1984. I’m not going to comment on her theological beliefs, but I know by this quote that she did know something about creating, and that is what I would like to deal with here. Note her words, “…I’ll always be here through my paintings.” She knew that in every painting, Helen was inside, of course not physically, but as a reflection of who she was. Further, Helen knew that it [the created art] was the true reward of living. “It’s the only thing I can give that’s really me.”
There is an inner spirit in each of us, created by God and in His image and character that is, the creative “juice” that will move to do creative things. I like to call it “juice” because it (whatever “it” is) this creative essence in each of us “flows”. You can feel it when it is moving and you know when it dries up. Haven’t you heard an artist say things like, “I don’t have it anymore” or “nothing was coming to me”? Every artist has a dry period; a period when the juice is not flowing. The juice hasn’t dried up forever, gone and never experienced again. No, the juice is still within you; it has only ceased to flow at that given time. It is best to just get up and do something else for a time. When the juice is flowing, you can do amazing things. Michelangelo’s statue of David can be carved out of a rough block of marble. Frank Lloyd Wright’s house called “Fallingwater” in Bear Run, Pennsylvania can be designed. Leonardo Da Vinci’s 16th Century painting of the “Mona Lisa” and Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” can all be created out of nothing, ex nihilo!
Every time you read a novel, a poem, a sonnet, a play, any literary work, you have revealed something of whom the writer is and about their life. You can see that Michelangelo understands human anatomy when you view his drawings, such as the portion of the Sistine Chapel ceiling called the “Creation of Man”. Most architects display “their style” to the point that a person can view a set of buildings and place the architect’s name beside each one. In the created object, there is indeed part of the creator.
On the airplane going to Indianapolis, one day earlier, I visited with a pleasant woman sitting next to me. Our conversation gave way to theology; she asked me some questions. Questions she must have been asking herself for some time. I told her I didn’t believe in evolution and once you could really see God’s creation, it would be clear to her that everything is God created. She then asked me, “why did God create us, what does He need with us?” Michelangelo understands God reaching out to create mankind; it was this energy that empowered him to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling masterpiece. My answer had some of the sentiment found in Helen Hardin’s quote above. Not the part of leaving something behind to “survive” Helen, God is not dead, but my answer expressed the idea of completeness. Our creation by God “completes” God’s creation; it is all about “relationship”. Helen said, “It’s the only thing I can give that’s really me”; her art was about “relationship”…relationship with the beholder. So it is with God, He wants relationship with us. We are created to glorify God, we are not God. Jesus redeems us from our sins so that we may believe and be close to God in relationship. What better way to have a close relationship than to have part of Him in us! God is part of us, just like Helen is in her paintings, we are created in the image of God. When we view her paintings, we see part of Helen. When we view God’s creation, we see a reflection of who God is.
We must be careful in this type of discussion, however, for there are many who think we are all just spiritual beings and therefore God is us. They think God is in every thing…in the forest, in the sunset, in the universe. This is a pantheistic view and is not orthodox Christianity. All things are created by God and God is omnipotent, but all things are not God. God’s power can move through you, but don’t think that it is you that is the power.