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I am always amazed when people attempt to use creativity to deny and even decry the Creator (1). Here we might see a creatively defiant fist thrust up as their definitive proof.  “After all,” they insist, “I am creatively gifted, and I don’t even believe there is a god!”

All truly creative designers understand the creative process requires intelligence, knowledge, skill, and hard work. I believe, in one way or another, all persons express some natural gift for creativity (2). We see this in the countless purposeful and complex creations of our world. And our uniform experience of cause and effect reveals the cause of irreducibly complex systems is always creative intelligent design (3). In fact, with over 45 years of design experience, I can say with full confidence, nothing creative happens by accident.

According to the Bible, the first “creative rebellion” arose when Satan claimed, “I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa 14:14). Then Adam believed the lie that he could autonomously, “be like God” (Gen 3:5). Cain followed and became the father of all those who creatively defy the Creator (Gen 4:17-22). Later, a major creative rebellion erupted at Babel when unified mankind attempted to architect a stairway to heaven to, “make a name for ourselves” (Gen 11:1-6). There are countless cases of the misuse of creativity throughout history, however man’s idolatry will finally come to its zenith when he worships the man-made image of the Anti-Christ (Ex 20:4-6; Rev 9:20;13:11-15).

Today, the same idolatrous spirit is seen in many fields.  Rebellious creativity can arise among artists, musicians, engineers, scientists, and in fact any form of design.  Whether it’s Cobainian-God-is-gay-graffiti, or CRISPR-edited-gene-babies, it entails defiant creativity pridefully seeking to make a name for themselves.  Now here, we need to distinguish between designs that disregard and subvert exemplary design precedents, versus designs based on discovery and application of exemplary design precedents.

You see, creativity itself originates from God who created everything out of nothing and thus defined all design precedents. He is the prime innovator. According to scripture, only because man was created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27), may he think the creative thoughts of God after him. Therefore, creativity is a common gift of God’s grace given to all persons. Again, it is the discovery and application of exemplary precedents that accurately reflect the Creator. You see, according to the Bible, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecc 1:9). When we are honest, we recognize that all our creative gifts, and therefore our creative innovations, come from God. Therefore, designers are warned to, “Remember also your Creator” (Ecc 12:1).

An excellent Biblical role model was Bezalel who remembered his Creator through what is arguably one of the greatest designs ever conceived—the Tabernacle, a fitting place for the presence of God Almighty.  To complete this extraordinary design, Bezalel was given the following good gifts: 1) The Holy Spirit of God, 2) ability, 3) intelligence, 4) knowledge, 5) skill (Ex 31:1-5), and 6) a heavenly design exemplar (Ex 25:8-10,40; Rev 11:19;15:5).  When the unprecedented design of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant were faithfully completed, the glory of God filled that beautiful place (Ex 40:34-38).  Now, before any look down on its modest scale and complexity, go ask a truly outstanding designer how easy it is to create anything with “elegant simplicity.” 

One of the unbecoming traits observed in some who lack a particular design skill is a dismissive pose employed to mask their envy.  They are recognized when they take up the role of the catty art critic.  That is, they employ ridicule over reason.  For example, the atheist gadfly, Richard Dawkins, has infamously scorned the design of human eye as an example of “poor design” and the work of a “complete idiot” (4).  He claims the retinal nerves are wired backwards resulting in an unacceptable, albeit tiny, blind spot.  A collaborating critic quips, “a camera designer who committed such a blunder would be fired immediately” (5).  Now never mind that Charles Darwin “freely confessed” that the design of the eye was an inexplicable marvel (6).  And modern science has now shown that because of the irreducibly complex eye-brain system all such blind spots, including the much larger blockage of the human nose, have no perceptible effect on performance.  Likewise, the eminently qualified specialist in the engineering discipline of Biomimicry, Stuart Burgess, is ridiculed by Dawkins because he has shown conclusively that countless natural mechanisms could never have evolved.  Yet Dawkins himself actually has no design qualifications and has never designed a thing (7).  Here I am reminded, “It’s easy to criticize, hard to create.”  Yet designers can also be unthankful for their own creative gifts.  They sometimes behave like the ungrateful dinner guest who drops in on a carefully prepared Thanksgiving feast, gobbles up all the delicious food, belches, and then leaves forgetting to thank the Cook who created it all!

As a design engineer, I would sometimes hear designers describe their efforts as evolutionary design.  To which I might respond, “Do you mean your design process proceeds by random chance and accident over eons of time?”  I’m pretty sure our management expected a bit more timely and innovative results (8).  Now, during my 40 years in the design and development of diagnostic medical ultrasound systems I had the privilege of working in design teams that innovated many novel, patentable features.  As it turned out, all of the patents I contributed to were a team effort, with several inventors assigned.  We believed it was essential to team creativity to never exclude any true inventors.  However, it would be far worse—and even illegal—to knowingly conceal the one true inventor. 

The late Christopher Hitchens, another collaborator with Richard Dawkins, was truly a “gifted” debater who Christians often observed with a respectfully raised eyebrow.  His keen intellect, sharp wit, incomparable elocution, and pragmatic politics were truly a sight to behold.  Just before his tragic death from cancer, Hitchens seemed to favor debates with these respectful Christians with whom he formed warm friendships (9).  Still, he supplied a spectacularly ironic case of gifts used to creatively decry his Creator (10)(11).

So then, when we observe someone deny their Creator, we really must insist: gifts assume a gift Giver and creativity confirms the Creator.  Therefore, I do hereby publicly declare that all creativity ultimately gives glory to God the Creator!

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Rev 4:11

“For by him [Jesus Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Col 1:16

Ultimately, Christians believe that only when Christ is given all the glory, is the purpose for their creative gifts confirmed with the glorious presence of God Almighty, the Creator.

Footnotes:

  1. The word “decry” is not frequently used in modern language. Here is the definition, according to the Google Dictionary (Oxford Languages, 12/13/21):
    decry => publicly denounce.
  2. All through this piece I will refer to “gifts.” According to the Bible, there are two varieties of gifts: natural gifts (physical, intellectual, emotional, etc.); and spiritual gifts (manifestation—1 Cor 12:7-11,28; ministry—Eph 4:11-13; motivational—Rom 12:6-8; and more). We are all given natural gifts because we are all created in the “image of God” (Gen 1:26-27). However, only those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ are given the gift of the person of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) and only then given one (or more) gifts of the Holy Spirit. Both are gifts from God that are given for his good purpose. Only those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ may experience the joy of fulfilling the purpose of all the gifts given which is to reflect and gratefully give glory to God our Creator (John 5:44; 2 Cor 3:18; 1 Pet 4:8-11, Rev 4:11;14:7).
  3. The scope of this brief post does not allow a full discussion of the merits of creation versus evolution. Here I am focused on a particular topic. For a more thorough article see, Creation Agnosticism, by Tim Nordgren: http://www.thingsrevealed.net/Creation_Agnosticism.pdf
  4. The Blind Watchmaker, by Richard Dawkins, 1986. New York: W. W. Norton.
  5. The Human Retina Shows Evidence of Good Design, by Dr. Jerry Bergman, June 8, 2011, Answers Research Journal 4 (2011): 75–80. https://answersresearchjournal.org/human-retina-good-design
  6. The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle For Life, By Charles Darwin, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1964, p.186. “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree” (emphasis added). Even so, many claim that when Darwin developed the idea of natural selection, he successfully justified “design without a designer.”
  7. Inspiration from Creation – How Engineers Are Copying GOD’s Designs, DVD by Dr. Stuart Burgess, 2017. Dr. Burgess is world recognized expert in Biomimicry, and Professor of Engineering Design at the University of Bristol (UK), https://answersingenesis.org/bios/stuart-burgess/ . Dr. Burgess correctly observes that, “A general scientist describes what already is, but an engineer creates what has never been.”
  8. Most engineers know that the term “evolutionary design” is meant to describe modest incremental changes to an existing design. This is sometimes contrasted with “revolutionary design.” Clearly, both are ambiguous terms, but the former carries an ill-advised connection with the “theory of undirected evolution.” At best, “evolutionary design” is an oxymoron for incremental design changes. In practice, all engineering design involves intelligently coordinated feature creation of varying complexity.
  9. The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist, by Larry Taunton, 2016.
  10. God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, by Christopher Hitchens, 2009.
  11. It would be logically consistent for those who reject the Creator to go on to reject creativity itself. There actually was a movement dedicated to this notion called “Anti-art.” A short review of this absurd exercise in meaningless “design” once again proves the point: Creativity confirms the Creator.
  12. All scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.