The opening passage of Scripture gives us our first glimpse into the nature of God – He created. In a most spectacular way, He spoke, and the universe – earth, sky, plants, creatures, man, and woman came into being out of nothing. In The Magician’s Nephew, that great Narnian myth that illustrates Genesis 1-3 by way of a different world, C.S. Lewis imagined what this might have looked like and gave Aslan the Creator a lilting song that became Narnian matter as it left his mouth. Trees, grass, rivers, stars, animals and other creatures – all the beauty and greatness that the world contained – came into being because Aslan willed them to do so.
In the biblical passage, not only did God create out of nothing, He created man and woman in His image. While we are most certainly not God even in a perfected state, we possess as part of our nature something of the divine nature as well. Believers hold fast to the truth that every individual possesses a creative ability according to the degree that God apportioned to each. And because we have been granted this trait, we are called to faithfully use it for His glory and the benefit of others.
Creativity can be both simple and complex at the same time. While there is undoubtedly a place for convergent instruction and thought at school – everyone must learn their math facts, historical dates, punctuation, i.e., the “grammar” of a subject – as students begin to master that we must open opportunities for divergent thought as well. They must be posed with problems and challenges that they may solve without a predetermined fashion, where they literally bring something new into being. (The difference, of course, is that while God creates ex nihilo, “out of nothing,” our creation must make use of pre-existing materials or ideas.) So elementary students may take part in projects in which they must create a tool or device that solves a real-world problem. Middle school students may be challenged to draft a thoughtful response to the themes found in a piece of literature. And high school students may be asked to act as an entrepreneur and create a small business or develop a robot that performs a specific task.
God has given us this ability so that we can steward effectively the world He has created. In essence, by developing and using our innate creativity, we are reflecting, preserving and magnifying the works of God in our world; in other words, the foundation of a true education.