Christians ought to be leading the way in creativity, but we rarely do.
God is the Creator of all things, and He created us in His image. Creativity is woven into the very fabric of our humanity. Therefore, Christians should value and champion creativity as a vital part of our image-bearing role. Instead Christians often don't know what to do with creatives and creatives don't know what to do with Christianity. On one side you have Christians who neglect or discount art, imagination, and beauty altogether. On the other, you have artists who make idols out of each of these good things.
Ryan Lister, a theology professor, and Thomas Terry, a spoken word artist and founder of Humble Beast, team up to help restore the connection between creativity and theology. Images & Idols is a theological and artistic exploration of creativity in the Christian life. It will help creatives build a strong theological foundation for their art, while challenging the church to embrace a theology of beauty and creativity.
Mankind is by nature creative because mankind (male and female) we were created in the image of God. We are not all creative in the same way or to the same end, but we are creative for the same reason, to display the glory of God our Creator. But our creativity, like every other aspect of our humanity, has been corrupted by sin.
In "Images and Idols" Thomas Terry and Ryan Lister explore creativity for the Christian life. They explore creativity through the lens of what the Bible says about creation and the corruption of sin.
Thomas and Ryan write: “In the chaos of cosmic treason, those made in the likeness of God fashion replacement gods in their own shattered likeness through their own misplaced creativity.”
Our creative drive can be steered in wrong directions and cause us to worship our own creativity or the response of those who follow our work. This is wrong. God created us to create for His glory. Instead of working for the glory of God we become glory stealers. We need to view our work through the lens of a biblical understanding of God and mankind.
In the book, Thomas and Ryan give us a good framework – built on the solid foundation of Scripture – to form our thinking about our creativity, vocation, and how we live.
Please don’t think that this book is only for “creatives” (whatever that is). It is wisdom and encouragement for all of us who are redeemed sinners living for the glory of God in Christ.
Few books have given me context from the beginning of time, helped me see my purpose now, given me deep hope for the future beyond this life and inspired me to actively work toward Jesus’ glory through every aspect of my life, like this books has helped me to see.
We look at our lives and think we don’t have anything of value to contribute to this world but God has creatively breathed you into existence as His very own work of art. God is using you to point this chaotic world towards Glory with everything you have, including your creativity!
As you pick up this book the first thing you see is the detailed cover with the beautiful lithographed ridges and furrows. The texture of the book in your hand inspires you to open its pages to see if the rest of the book lives up to the cover. Maybe you are skeptical like me about a book about creativity and Christianity. As I started to read this book my skepticism turned into inspiration.
There is so much to quote in the first chapter alone but don’t get me wrong this isn’t just a book full of good quotes and tweetable phrases. Its a well-crafted book that gives you a theological foundation while simultaneously interweaving a fictional story that anchors your emotions around the truth that was shared. It’s a scriptural and inspirational journey that captures your mind, your heart and excites your spirit to be in wonder and awe of The One Uncreated Creator of the cosmos.
Thomas J. Terry & Ryan Lister have done a wonderful job in writing this book in an engaging, creative way that brings God glory and has been good for my soul. Thank you guys for the hard work you have put into studying, writing and fashioning something that has inspired me greatly.
As I finished this book and set it down I felt encouraged and spurred on in my love and worship for Jesus and the creative good that God has given me to do in this world.
This quote from the book sums it all up for me.
"We can rejoice in this: God is the artist who is making us worthy to stand in the gallery of His new creation, to point to Him as our Creator and Redeemer with our life, worship, and, yes, still our creativity."