Whoever loves his brother and/or sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 1 John 2:10 (NIV)
The Desire to Create – Keepers – Series 1 – Part 6
(Go to Series 2)
The desire to create is one of humanities strongest instincts and purposes. The creation poem in Genesis tells us that humanity was created in the image of God.
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.” And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fertile and increase…” (1. Genesis 1:26-28.)
Fun Fact: A few ancient Hebrew scholars argue in the Midrash that when God said “Let us make man in our image…” he was talking to the earth. And so from dust and divinity, man was created in their likeness – with the ability to create and the ability to be shaped. (2.) And the singular is plural. It’s always a community of creativity, never a solo act (he created THEM and blessed THEM and said to THEM…).
I’m not saying that’s the true/right interpretation, but it’s beautiful to reflect on.
We are this weird mash-up of dust and divinity, with this innate animal instinct to create and make and obtain, but also the fragility and vulnerability to break and be overcome.
How do we navigate the tension between the two?
Cain tried to hold the tension by buying God off.
Abel held the tension with gratitude.
“Creativity is how I share my soul with the world” (quote by Brené Brown) because it’s how I channel my deepest need and purpose. It’s how I imitate my maker. After all, he shared his soul through creation, by shaping the earth and breathing into it… We are the Divine's design, and creativity is part of our DNA.
What makes our journey here on earth meaningful is the chance to boldly seize nature with all we have and create something from it. Whether you’re a parent or an artist or a teacher or a student or a florist or a police officer or a taxi driver… whatever it is that you do, it's creative because you bring life to it.
Now then, consider this:
What happens when something you make, out of the desire to create, means so much to you that you view this wondrous creation as an expression of your deepest self, that you feel a need to assiduously safeguard it; that you see yourself not merely as its “creator” but as its “acquirer,” as its rightful owner? So much so that thing you created starts owning you?
There's nothing inherently evil about making this jump from “creator” to “owner.” But it creates certain challenges. Especially when that which one cherishes was not made by him alone, but was made in partnership with someone else. When we lose sight that even though we can have land and titles and possessions in our name, we are still but as breath, a vapor on the earth. And the only thing truly worth doing with what we create is to give it away in gratitude.
Passion and desire are not evil, or bad. They're beautiful and powerful; they’re a part of who we are, and will serve us well if we learn when to let them rest, and when to let them work – if we learn how to navigate the tension.
Cain wrestled with the tension. He brought God a gift, but it was merely a token. Have you received a gift like that? Half-hearted? Or one that didn’t really feel like a gift? But more like something you would end up paying for later in other ways?
That’s what Cain did to The Divine. His passion for his creation began to own him, so much so, that he couldn’t act with gratitude.
Unbridled passion, desire out of control, will lead you down destructive, dark paths. Away from light and love.
“Whoever loves his brother and/or sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.” 1 John 2:10 (NIV).
Written by Liz Milani