Genesis 1:1 (NIV): "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Genesis 1:27: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them."

Colossians 1:15-17 "He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over creation. For by him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things and in him all things hold together."

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

One of the most basic claims of the Christian faith is that when God created the world, he formed it and shaped it, not out of need or necessity, but simply out of joy and love. This same joy in creation found highest expression in God's creation of humanity, whom he formed in his image. To be the image of God (imago dei) implies in part that God has given us certain abilities not exactly like his but analogous, that is in a fashion that can be meaningfully compared to his. Thus, Paul tells us that we are "God's workmanship." The Greek for this is poesis, from which we derive our word "poem." God the Creator, who created the world and called it good, has created us to do good works as well.

Sometimes people speak of artistic creation, comparing painting, music, and literature to a kind of creation not unlike God's because these art works originate something new and different. The author of The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien, for example, called the human ability to imagine and design stories with fictional histories, languages, and geographies, a "subcreation," an ability that creates after God's design. Others have been reluctant to use this term, preferring to save the term "creation" for what God does and the term "making" for what humans do because only God creates out of nothing, while we must always base our pictures and stories on what already exists.

Whatever term we use, "creation," "subcreation," or "making," all suggest that God's design and joy and love are models for our own constructions. When we look at the creativity that goes into a work of literature, we learn to see part of how God has blessed human beings.  Just as God bestowed his intelligence, care, and beauty on what he makes, so should we.

Central Insight: The creativity, the world-making, of literary artists is part of what it means to be the image of God.

Suggestions for Application: Discuss how an author has made a particular literary world.  Reflect on how this is representative of the imago dei in human beings.