Creativity Part 1: The Beginning

So try this.  Some cool, clear evening, gather around a fire, outside, under the stars, with friends.  Find someone who is a really good story teller, and have him - or her - tell the story of Genesis, from chapter 1, verse 1 through chapter 2, verse 2.  Resist the temptation to read it silently, or aloud in stentorian, scriptural tones.  This is a story that is meant to be “told.”

Listen, as if you had never heard it before, to how God created the heavens and the earth.  Hear the poetry - because that’s what it is.  

Hear the contrast in the words that seem to create motion:
    light and darkness,
    earth and sky,
    land and sea,
    day after day, and it was good.

Feel the voluptuousness as life emerges from land, and sky, and sea: 
    plants bearing fruit,
    water teaming,
    birds flying,
    herds of animals across the land,
    day after day, and it was good.

And finally listen as God makes man - male and female - in His image.  And it was all very good.

This story is old - very old.  Older than Moses, who supposedly wrote it down, older probably than Abraham, told by countless generations of priest/story tellers, around countless nomadic firesides, under clear desert skies.

I dare you to do this and not be moved by it.  This is exciting stuff, this story of creation.  And here’s the amazing part - it’s all good!  There is no conflict in this story, nothing bad happens, God creates the world, and it is good. 

I wrote this before the terror attacks in Paris last Friday night, before the attacks in Beirut the day before that, but not before a nine year old boy was lured into an alley in Chicago and assassinated by his father’s gang rivals. Not before a gunman killed nine people at a college in Oregon, or another gunman killed nine people in a Charleston church.  I almost didn’t post this, because it is very clear that the world is not all good.  A conversation with a clerk in Trader Joe’s this morning changed that.  It gave me an ending, this:

God created this world to be good.  And He created us to be good, too.  Demonstrably, the world is no longer all good.  Parts of it are still very, very good, and parts of it are, in fact, very, very bad.  The work of creation now continues in us.  We have that divine spark of creativity - in God’s image - and it is up to us to make it good.  Where we can, whenever we can - we can make good.