Writing as a Creationist

I am a creationist. Now, I know that’s a loaded term, so let me provide two important qualifiers. First, when I claim “creationism” as a stance, I assert that God is the first and prime mover in the course of all things, but I also acknowledge that the manner in which he has moved is mysterious—so much so that it cannot be fully understood this side of eternity. I grant that. Second, the modern debate that concerns the age of this earth features concepts above my capacities to understand; and frankly, those I’ve tried to comprehend have not affected my view one way or the other. Regardless of the method or means, I hold God as responsible and brilliant in his execution of bringing reality outside himself into existence.

If the beginning of life occurred at a cosmic level that echoes itself through billions of years of expansion and minute changes over endless generations, then I believe the method to be breathtaking in its sophistication, inspiring in its patience, and stunning in its intricacy. If, however, God chose to take a shorter unit of time to speak each level of matter into an aged state, then I find the method immensely efficient and wonderfully simple. Each concept has its beautiful features, and I am sure that God chose the best one. I simply do not know what that was; and neither way reduces the truth at the heart of things.

That truth being that God created, and here we are. This view then affects all other views—or at least, it should—for creation implies inherent purpose. A created thing is a very different thing than an accidental one. A profound joy in being a creationist is that all of existence is meaningful by virtue of its being conceived and continued with intentionality. I am a firm proponent that life, in and of itself, possesses value by virtue of this origin. Living creatures of all sizes from the amoeba to the human, are here because a higher, grander mind deemed them worthy of existence and, by that very fact, they hold objective worth (even in small degrees).

Further, creationism speaks beyond value to ownership. The view that God made all things informs the treatment of those things as being his possession and existing for his purpose. If God made this universe and its contents, then surely he has first and ultimate rights to them all (even if he chooses to do things with which we may disagree). Therefore, we are stewards rather than owners and caretakers rather than kings, beneficiaries of divine blessing rather than recipients of “good fortune”. And let’s be honest, if the latter were the case, it would be a tenuous fortune at best, susceptible to being lost and all but forgotten until the end of time. This mindset that God made, owns, and gives all good things breeds true contentment over time, if we have the willingness to cultivate it. Real gratitude to an actual Being becomes a way of life, for we cannot help but be grateful to one who allows us to enjoy his bounty. While he may allow others to enjoy it more, we recognize that the kingdoms of the world and the wealth of nations are his to give to whom he will for purposes we cannot see. I find it deeply encouraging that the one who created all things also guides and oversees them, for they are his.

But the fact that a creator exists also infuses more specific aspects of human interest.

Creationism provides artists a connection to their work that is unmatched, for if we are indeed the product of creation, then our creative efforts echo the chief action that brought forth existence. This is no small thing. Consider that if God sculpted the man of dust, then every sculptor throughout time has echoed this divine action through his art. Of course, this is merely a dim copy, for the sculptor cannot breath life into his work as God did. However, the act of sculpting takes on a new beauty, for it shows us the glory of God on a smaller scale. If the sculptor sees his work and considers it to be good, he gets a small glimpse into the Lord’s character, for the Lord himself looked upon creation and declared it to be good. One might very likely conclude, and rightly so, that one manner in which man “bear’s God’s image” is humanity’s penchant for the creative, for desiring to form new things with thought and intention, not merely for our own benefit but because we believe that very thing should exist.

Following this line of thought brings us to writing and for obvious reasons. When I see the universe as a created thing and God responsible as an intentional creator, I too see him as a storyteller. I see the universe as his page, and I see his divine movement throughout history as his penstrokes.

Before I pursue that comment, however, I need to offer a rebuttal to the criticism some will no doubt cast at me here. One may read the above and say, “Aha, I have caught you, you do not believe in a real God, you believe in a false god to whom you can attribute your favorable ideas and attributes (creativity) in order to make him more tenable to your own interests.” (writing)

This is a common criticism leveled at the religious, and I doubt my response will satisfy those who hurl it. Nonetheless, I’ll offer a counterpoint since I know the criticism will come. I do not see God as a writer because I am a writer, I merely see the way in which my being a writer echoes his image. Regardless of what I would choose to do or how I might identify myself, God would still be God, and I would still consider him a storyteller. I consider him a sculptor, though I am not a sculptor; a father, though I am not a father; and a king, though I am not a king. I do not give him attributes outside of what else presented in Scripture; rather, I take what is presented in Scripture and ask, “in what ways do I relate, how better do I understand, which attributes do I clearly see?” Some may call this semantic redirection–a reading to which they are entitled–but my stance is no less sincere for their refusal to accept it.

Now, back to writing. God is creator and has formed reality with purpose; he has chosen to allow his creation to experience this reality through what we experience as time, and this provides us a framework by which we engage the world around us and make sense of it in a linear, contextualized fashion. In writing, we refer to this as structure. The author wishes to tell the story, so he or she puts events in order of sequence in order to get at the heart of what he or she is trying to communicate, and a good writer chooses his or her sequence with great concern for the overall theme and purpose of the writing. One can only imagine the vast themes and virtuous ends God has in mind.

When I think of my own adherence to this principle in my work, I cannot help but be in awe of God in his. I compose a limited narrative of limited characters on a limited canvas. While doing so, I see these characters making choices—at times even to my own surprise–and regrettable events inevitably occur. In the end, I attempt to bring these events into some sort of culmination that represents something honest and valuable.

In light of my experience, I consider God as fellow writer–the first of writers–and I am filled with a new awe and wonder, for if my better storytelling sensibilities are an echo of his telling an overarching story—how great must that story be! We could quickly derail into a discussion of fate versus will (which may certainly have its place); however, let us instead just remain with a larger view of what God is doing and how he might feel for us. God is telling a story, and his stage is immense and populated with seemingly countless players. He has been telling his story for generation after generation. He is using these events to culminate in a fitting  close.

If even I, as a novice at the craft of story, have sincere adoration for my characters, care for the worlds they inhabit, and a longing to for them to be beautiful, then I cannot imagine the adoration, care, and longing God has for us. This must be a great depth of love, indeed. God creates the universe, he fills it with life; he allows that life to endure and evolve (at least at some level), and he enables it to continue—seasons change, the sun sets and rises, nations come and go, and mankind journeys forward. And we can do so with the confidence that wherever we are going, God is leading us there–characters in his ongoing saga, creatures of not mere habit and matter but of worth and purpose.

I delight in this thought, and I cherish it. I think of the joy I take in the written word—of seeing ideas take shape or characters grow–and I cannot help but wonder, “does God not feel it also and, if so, is it not limitless?” For the creationist, writing carries a new weight and joy. The worlds we create and the characters that inhabit them provide an echo of reality that is beautiful and sobering. Inasmuch as we adore our imagined locations, events, and characters, we lament any tragedy that befalls them. However, we allow for the tragic to occur, for the hardship to strike, for the drama to unfold—all because we seek to tell the greatest story we can, even at great cost. In experiencing our own sadness and heartbreak at these things, we receive a glimpse of God’s perspective on our world, on our place in it, and his response to it. The love we have for our own creations should encourage us about God’s view of us.

This is writing as worship; to see in the act of storytelling a reflection of God’s character and to adore that character with greater reverence and joy as a result. Creationism not only informs but truly defines this experience. Because he has created, I feel joy in creation; through the process of creation, I better see him. In seeing him better, I love him more deeply. In loving him deeply, I seek to worship. And when I write, I do, for I no longer simply put words to a page to inform, entertain, or encourage, I echo his image as creator and storyteller, and I thank him for allowing me to do so.

About C.J.:
Enjoy what you are reading??? Let’s connect. I'm currently on Instagram, LetterboxdFlickrTwitter, always as CJstunkard. Please consider giving to THE GIFT OF WATER Project to build a deep water well in a region that desperately needs it.

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