C.S. Lewis stated the following in his book, Christian Reflections,
“In the New Testament the art of life itself is an art of imitation: can we, believing this, believe that literature [or art] which must derive from real life, is to aim at being “creative”, “original”, and “spontaneous.” “Originality” in the New Testament is quite plainly the prerogative of God alone. If I have read the New Testament aright, it leaves no room for “creativeness” even in a modified or metaphysical sense. Our whole destiny seems to lie in the opposite direction, in being as little as possible ourselves, in acquiring a fragrance that is not our own but borrowed, in becoming clean mirrors filled with the image of a face that is not ours.”
This last sentence is a reference to 2 Corinthians 3:18.
“We with unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the glory of the Lord.”
I agree with Lewis in that our motivation for our art (our lives) should not be to glorify ourselves and that we should not think that we possess any sort of creative power that is unique and distinctive to ourselves. However, I believe we do have creative power within us and that such power is one of the gifts God endowed us with when He created us “in His image”.
Lewis uses the term “image bearers” referring to mankind as not only containing the image or signature of God as a part of our inherent properties as creations of God, but also as call to duty. Being an image bearer means that our purpose and our obligation is to act in such a way that God is glorified by our lives – that God’s goodness is manifested by our choices.
I believe that God endowed His own creative power within us and that we each have a choice to exercise that power in a way that points to God or in a way that points only horizontally to and about the world. Taken as a whole, our lives can be distilled down to our choice to either fight against our created purpose – to struggle against the current that is trying to pull us to God – or our choice to surrender to that spiritual current and allow God to take us safely to the place He has prepared for us.
When we choose to exercise our creative power in such a way that points to God, projecting and reflecting to goodness of God, we act as partners with God in His on-going creative process. God finished His initial creation at the end of the sixth day, but by no means was God finished creating. The whole of history manifests God’s continuous process of creation – to make what was dark and sinful into something radiant, pure, a redeemed reflection of Himself for His glory.
When we exercise our creative power vertically we yield to the stream that carries us and reveal to the world “pictures of God” that point to His goodness, mercy and grace. We add new beauty to the world casting forth a light that brings joy and awareness. As such, our creations are balanced with the divine creations God made and thus, reflect the same holy and sacramental quality that God’s does.
Our awareness of the endowment of creative power God gives us should put us in awe of His grace. To think that God would give us the same ability, like Him, to bring something into existence out of nothing should give us pause and be amazed at his generosity and faith in us. God past to us this spiritual genetic marker and this power connects us directly to Him as His offspring.
When we exercise our creative power vertically glorifying God, we do so not as ourselves, but as those who are redeemed and being ever transformed into the image of our Creator. What honor God gives us. What great responsibility as well.