Creators, Second Class -- By: Ben Johnson

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 11:1 (Fall 1993)
Article: Creators, Second Class
Author: Ben Johnson


Creators, Second Class

Ben Johnson

Professor of Music
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Faculty Lecture
January 26, 1993

When God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth was without form and void” (Gen. 1 : 1, 2). Only the Master Creator could make something out of nothing. God created man in His own image” (Gen. 2:7). God created men and women with minds. The human mind is what made us superior to the animals and is the reason God gave us dominion over “every moving thing that moves upon the earth.” When God gave us minds, he gave us the ability to find creative solutions to our problems.

The name Yahweh comes from the Hebrew verb “to be.” “The name derived from it would mean ‘He who brings into being’ or the creator. God’s ambassador Moses, sealing the covenant with the children of Israel, brought into being the community of Israel. In this way Moses himself became a creator...The monotheism of Israel affirms a single Creator and the righteous ruler of the world. In the West, belief in a Creator-God was a way of confessing that the power to make the new was beyond human explanation.., just as the human need to create has transcended the powers of explanation.”1

To be creative is to capture the energy of God.

Man’s power to make new was the power to outlive himself in his creations .... He dared to make images of himself and of life around him. He made his words into worlds, to relive his past and reshape his future. Both the nature of one’s creativity and its degree vary widely. Some people have ten talents and double this, while other timid souls bury their meager gifts in the soil of tradition. “Talent is that which is in a man’s power,” J. R. Lowell observed, “[while] genius is that in whose power a man is.”

Let us look briefly at a few creators of the representational arts. Because John of Damascus and his theological cohorts prevailed with their common-sense psychology, the Christian church encouraged painting, sculpture, drama, and music. In drama, man found ways to create unique events for delight, reflection, and dismay in order to make experience outlast the actor. To create drama, the spectator had to be separated from the actor .... The hilly landscape helped by making possible for Greeks seated in rows to see the drama below. By 534 B.C. Thespius performed Greek tragedy in primitive form. Tragedy was a vision of events at a great distance in time from the spectator. Comedy held up a mirror to th...

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