When we speak of Creation, it seems that we need to be aware of what might be called a hierarchy of creative value. At the top of the hierarchy is the Creator Himself; then there is Creation, which is those things made by God ex nihilo, from nothing; and finally there is human creation, or what Tolkien called sub-creation, which is those things made by us from other things that already exist.
This seems reasonable enough but is there a way that mere mortals can improve God’s Creation? It might seem almost blasphemous to suggest such a thing.
Perhaps the telling of a story, or what might be called a parable, might throw some light on this question ….
Once upon a time there was a rock. It was a very beautiful rock but nobody had ever seen it. It had lived under the ground, out of sight, for millions of years. Then, one day, the rock was dug up by men using tools they had created. For the first time, the rock could be seen.
Those with eyes to see admired the rock. Some said that it was beautiful. Then one man saw the rock in a way that no man had ever seen it before.
“That’s not a beautiful rock,” he said. “That’s the beautiful rock.”
The man took the rock away. For many weeks he did things to the rock.
Today, when we go to Rome, and enter St. Peter’s basilica, we can see the rock. It can be seen in the first side chapel if we look to the right when we enter the basilica. It shows the Mother of Christ cradling the body of her crucified Son. The man who saw the beauty of the rock was Michelangelo and the rock is now his famous Pietà.
For centuries, those who have seen the rock have been moved by the story it tells. They are moved to lift their hearts and minds to God. They are moved to prayer.
Michelangelo could only do such beautiful things with the rock because he’d been given five talents by God. He could only do such beautiful things because he desired to use those talents to glorify the God who had given him the talents. He shows us that true art is giving back to the giver of the gift the fruits of the gift given. True creativity is praise and true art is prayer.
Can we improve God’s creation? By the grace of God, you better believe it!
This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.