Rachel Conrad Carlson
God as Maker: Creative Thinker, Creative Energy, Creative Power
"...maker of heaven and earth, of all thing visible and invisible..."
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” - Colossians 1:16
The third line of the creed tells us that God is “Maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.” A short line packed with ideas that, when fully considered, can alter our very perception of the physical world and how we live in it!
Let’s start with the image of God as a maker. In looking up the various definitions and synonyms for “Maker,” I realized they break down into three distinct categories:
God as originator of the idea - “framer, originator, inventor, founder”
God as the energy force behind the creation - “architect, artist, author, composer”
God as the power who built the creation - “manufacturer, constructor, producer”
In creating both heaven and earth, God fills the role of all three definitions of maker–originator, energy force and powerful builder.
In her book The Mind of the Maker, Dorothy Sayers describes the three roles all creators fulfill as reflective of the Trinity, and through this we can see how God’s way of creating reflects his very self as a Triune being! She explains, “For every work of creation is threefold, an earthly trinity to match the heavenly. First, there is the Creative Idea, passionless, timeless, beholding the whole work complete at once, the end in the beginning: and this is the image of the Father.” When we contemplate what kind of mind could have conceived of this world and all its expansive galaxies and minute complexities, we catch a glimpse of the identity of God the Father. A creative mind so limitless, so boundless, so imaginative that we can never find the beginning or end of His thoughts or creative powers.
Sayers continues her trinitarian description of God as maker: “Second, there is the Creative Energy begotten of that idea, working in time from the beginning to the end, with sweat and passion, being incarnate in the bonds of matter: and this is the image of the Word.” By Word, she refers to Christ, the “Word made flesh.” God’s creation of the physical world is a reflection and perhaps foreshadowing of how Jesus then became “God made [into] man,” a divine and perfect creative energy that imbues worlds, continents and creatures with His own Spirit.
Then Sayers explains that, “Third, there is the Creative Power, the meaning of the work and its response in the lively soul: and this is the image of the indwelling Spirit” (Sayers 37-38). Think about that for a moment–the Holy Spirit indwells every piece of His creation with meaning, and that we (as created beings made in the image of God) can respond in our lively souls to every piece of it. I think about how biological and geographical and space exploration continually wow us with new discoveries and how all of God’s created works reveal more of His Spirit to us. And what is truly inspiring to me is that in His roles as creative thinker, creative energy force and creative power are all reflected in us when we too create. In college, I first encountered the phrase “we are most like the Creator when we create” in Leland Ryken’s wonderful collection of essays, The Christian Imagination. That idea has stuck with me through the years and whenever I create–even by simply writing this essay–I feel closer to our triune God and His creative ideas, creative energy and creative power.
The last point I want to dwell on is how those wonderful dichotomies of both heaven and earth and the visible and invisible signify how God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. Both creation and human beings act as the visible signs pointing to the invisible qualities of God. The Catechism beautifully explains that humanity’s “openness to truth and beauty,” “sense of moral goodness,” “freedom and the voice of conscience,” and “longings for the infinite and for happiness” cause us to question ourselves about the very existence of God. And that through our questioning, we “discern signs of [our] spiritual soul” which can only have its origin in God. So then, as we experience ourselves marveling at truth and beauty, as we hear the voice of our own freedom and conscience, as we long for infinite goodness in a broken reality, may we each be able to acknowledge these moments as reflections of God as a creative thinker, creative energy and creative power.