Posted: 9/12/17 at 8:00am. by Ed Jordan.
This past weekend at our church, we experienced an evening of creativity as we watched a movie about people showing and explaining their inventions in the early 1900s. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the United States was flooded with legal immigrants who came to contribute to the American dream. It was an era of possibilities, when people became catalysts to one another. Some of their ideas are laughable and came to nothing. Some of those attempted inventions are now a part of a typical day, such as air travel, life boats and their launching systems, railroad crossing bars, car bumpers, talking clocks, automated food delivery, and other things. What have you invented lately? Have you even considered trying to create something useful?
One of the things that makes humans unique is the invention of new tools. Some animals instinctively use things in the environment to do what they normally couldn’t do. For example, we have a cat that uses the covered barbeque grill to get them three feet closer to the window in order to jump up to the window sill. But the cat can’t create and make that grill, nor the window sill. So where does our human propensity for creativity originate? It comes from God, the ultimate creator of us and all we see. In Genesis 1:27 (NASB) we read: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”
In the first two chapters of Genesis (the word Genesis means “beginnings”), we find the account of God creating the heavens and the earth, and all that is in it. There is a special attribute given to humans that sets them apart from animals, which is that humans are “made in the image of God.” This does not mean that God is a huge human (which would be making God in our image, rather than us reflecting and demonstrating his image). It means that humans have some of the unique characteristics which God has, such things as: intellect, communication skills, relational skills, complex language usage, and the ability to create. However, unlike God whose creativity created the heavens and earth out of nothing, our creativity is the ability to take already existing materials, create a design and plan, and then make those materials into new, previously non-existing machines or products.
Creativity is still happening today, but it is not as obvious as it was in days gone by. Furthermore, much of what we call creativity today is really adaptations of older inventions. Satellites were a unique invention many decades ago. Today we make adaptations to use them to transmit radio and TV signals. Satellites, radios, radio waves, TVs, and TV signals are previous inventions, upgraded to use today. GPS seems new to us but has been around for military purposes long before being something that most cars have and many drivers use.
Innovations are wonderful, and frankly I am more of an innovator than a creator. Perhaps some of my creativity happens in writing columns each week and creating and preaching sermons each week. I occasionally create new words, but my wife tells me that I cannot use them because they do not yet exist. My response? Unless someone makes the word and uses it, that word never will be used and become recognized as a word! So there is some image of the creator in me.
What product do you wish existed? What is needed in your daily world that has not already been invented, or is not in use? How could that problem or need be lessened or eliminated? What would happen if we put our minds and creativity to practical use to make our world better? Wouldn’t that be a more productive use of our time and talents, than sitting around griping and complaining, while pointing fingers at neighbors, or the powers that be? People with a need create. People with a problem figure out a way to overcome it.
Why not spend some time this week dialoguing with God about how your skills and mental processes could be applied to making the world a better place to live? Be creative, or at least innovative, and let God use your gifts and abilities to improve life. Make a list of the things God brings to mind. Choose the best one, and begin to focus on how it can be achieved!