The Creative Echo

The other day, I was discussing art with a few people, and my painter friend, Erik said something that resonated with me.

We were talking about the creative process, how people come up with the most amazing ideas, seemingly out thin air. He said something like,

Sometimes when I sit down to paint, looking at a white canvas is like staring into the infinite abyss. So many possibilities and I don’t know where to start.

It made me think about writing. So many nights I sit in front of my computer, staring at a white screen. Sometimes I come to the table feeling inspired, ready to flood the page with ideas. More often, I come empty-handed. I spend hours in silence as the blinking cursor taunts me from the top left corner of the screen. Write something. I’m just waiting for a spark.

A Genesis moment.

Suddenly, one word makes two, three, a sentence. Sentences become paragraphs, and so on. It’s remarkable, the creative process.

This is true of the arts, but really for all of life. Creativity is a part of the human construct, and we are all creators, in a way.

Like the artist with the blank canvas, the scientist works with the elements. Teachers create methods for delivering complex information. Business owners develop systems for greater efficiency. Parents not only participate in the creation of their children, they establish environments conducive to child growth and development.

Everywhere, all the time, culture is being created. It’s fascinating.

And it echoes through the centuries, back before square blocks became round wheels and we traded horses for motor vehicles. We hear it from before man figured out how to fly and space exploration became more than a fantasy.

It echoes from beyond the pyramids of ancient Egypt, from before man fashioned hammers from large stones. I think it’s why we marvel at sculptures and skyscrapers. We know that these sophisticated structures began in the mind of someone else.

When we stumble upon amazing things, we search for the source. Who wrote the song? Who dreamed up this movie? To quote Ravi Zacharias,

You would never look at a dictionary and conclude that it came from an explosion in the printing press.

It’s far too intricate. Is it really that much of a stretch to imagine an ultimate Creator? The idea of mankind being made in the image of God seems at least plausible in light of the majesty of human innovation.

Consider the biblical account of Creation. God takes a formless void, an empty canvas, and fills it with life, developing an ecosystem that in turn creates life. He then creates human beings and gives them the task of cultivation and multiplication.

By our very nature we feel compelled to create. Could it be the divine reflection of a greater Creator?

I think this is why we marvel at sunsets. I think there is a creative echo deep within, something that knows the painting in the sky started in the mind of someone else.

What do you think? Join the discussion below.

Photo Credit: Home of Millican (Creative Commons)

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