God the Artist

Earth Day takes on a special tone for many Christians as we find ourselves thinking about the creator of nature. This day reminds us that he put us in charge of cultivating this planet on his behalf, bringing all of it into the order found in Eden—God’s sacred space.

For Earth Day 2019, I find myself thinking about God as artist and creator, for the universe shows us that God loves to make nature. He is bigger than we ever could have imagined and has more going on in the universe than just our little planet. This lines up with what we know about him, for God is a creator and an artist and I know of no artists who have said, “I took care of that itch, I’ll never have to do that again.” Artists love creating.

And you don’t have to be an artist to love creating things. There’s a drive in many of us to create children and bring new life into this world. There’s hope to create new programs that protect and take care of people. There’s the desire in many to build houses, businesses, software, and more. We love to create and the list of how we do so is endless. It seems we are gifted with the same itch our Creator had. 

And God even joins us in that process which we can see when we look at Exodus 31:1-5. Believe it or not, one of the first gifts of the Spirit we see in the Bible is the gift to create:

The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.

These men were going to build God’s holy tabernacle, “a copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (He 8:5). In doing so God gifted them with everything they needed to do it. He gave them artistic skills and therefore, co-labored with humanity to create through them.

And things don’t end there. Though God has already created the world, he continued to create new things through Jesus: a new temple (Jn 2:13-22), new birth (Jn 3:1-15), new water (Jn 4:13-14) and a new place to worship at (Jn 4:21-24). He does a new thing and reconstructs the spirituality of human beings as they receive Jesus and his Holy Spirit.

Thousands of supernatural healing stories throughout history and into modern times have taught us that God still creates today. He does the impossible and restores broken pieces of our bodies, bringing us into new health. And while we scientifically know how babies are made, we know that this gift of life is from God, for as the Bible says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Ps 139:13). He “gives breath to the people on [the earth] and spirit to those who walk in it” (Is 42:5). Or to quote Job, “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10).

He created us, sustains us, and continues to create with us and through us. As Paul Wallace says,

God works cooperatively. God does not stand wholly apart from creation, does not reach in and coerce it. Creation occurs only with the participation of the cosmos (including its creatures) and never overpowers it. Creation occurs always out of creation. Creation did not happen in the past any more than it is happening now. A new thing is always being made. (Stars Beneath Us)

God has created and will continue to create. He is not done. For one day he will create around us, “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1).

This is an adapted excerpt from my book, Alien Theology.

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