Genesis 4:21 (ESV)
His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.Genesis 4:21 (ESV)
This is, by far, not the first expression of creativity in scripture. Obviously, creation had already happened and God called it either good or very good. It is not even the first creative expression by a human. Remember, Adam and Eve used their creative mind, however futile the attempt might have been, to cover the couples’ nakedness with fig leaves. In the beginning God created for his good pleasure, for His glory. However, creating to cover a mistake, as man did in the garden, was more utilitarian. In Genesis 4 we get our first glimpse of man operating in a gift that had been given by the first Creator. Not only is Jubal the first of the musicians, Moses wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that he was the first of all musicians. A system or community was being established.
Every brainstorming session with your creative team, spontaneous worship song, Michelangelo painting or hymn that has ever been penned finds its origin here. Man being given liberty to create, now for his good pleasure. This is our opportunity to live as though we are created in His image and do a little creating ourselves. What lays before us as we stare at a blank computer screen/canvas, music sheet or dance floor, is our dominion. It’s our palette to use how we see fit. What will be the message? What will be the subject? What purpose will we meet? And maybe the biggest struggle for all creatives, who will get the glory? If creativity is inspiration mixed with perspiration, we could easily say that the core of creativity comes from His inspiration. That’s the unexplainable, supernatural part. But the perspiration, that’s our part. Is it? Is that true? Perfecting our craft, whatever that means, now earns us the right to lay claim to the glory? I don’t think so.
Romans 11:29 says, “Our gifts and calling are irrevocable”. There are a couple ways to interpret this verse but, do you ever wonder why people with amazing giftings are being allowed to use those gifts to glorify ones self? This could be one scriptural reason. Or it could be that all creativity points back to a Creator. It’s all His, even if that little “creator” is using that gift to glorify self. Oral tradition claims that Jubal, Tubal-Cain and Jabal used their gifts collectively to deceive many. Whether that is true or not it fits with the creative dilemma that lives in all of us. Our community and even our audience know the heart or fruit of our creative expression. Our Creator knows it as well. Motivation can’t be hidden for long. The truth always comes out. Our culture values authenticity now more than ever. I believe that if we pray that He show himself in our creative expression, that He will be faithful to answer those prayers with a resounding, YES. He uses self glory seekers. How much more will He use those seeking for the glory to go to Him?