Beyond Talent and Creativity
Whenever we talk about creativity, extremely talented people like Beethoven or Einstein or Shakespeare come to our minds as if by default. However, creativity is not confined to exceptional people like them alone. Any human activity involves some element of creativity. It primarily reveals the fact that creativity is the result of the correct application of God-given talents in our works. The creative force within us enables us to do our work with zeal and with perfect free will. Thus, even a child is being creative when she plays with her toys.
Deeper reflection on the nature of creativity tends to reveal that creativity is one of the defining characteristics of humankind. It is the visible manifestation of our talents in action. And because of this element of talent and creativity in our works, we can no longer take our work simply as an issue of profession but as something of much higher significance – Work has more to do with becoming than doing; it is more a question of identity than of function. Thus not to do anything is to lose our existential purpose and worth. This has implication. If opportunity to work, to create, or to care is taken away from somebody, then it is as sinister as depriving someone of a chance to feel fully human.
Parker Palmer has some very important things to say on the above point. He succinctly puts, “Perhaps the primitive fear that some of us feel when we cannot answer the question “What do you do?” comes from a deep, unconscious intuition that inaction is a sign of death.” It is God’s way of sharing his power by enabling us to give form and shape to those ideals by which we live. Thus, our creative desires to give birth to something new and in so doing is another way of saying indirectly that we want, for a while, to be less creaturely and more like the Creator. This creative power enables us not only to see beauty in creation but also play our roles creatively in the scheme of things that He has set in motion.
Perhaps, for many who do not believe in the creation account of life and universe, creativity will forever remain an enigma. But for people whose belief is otherwise, God is the master and author of creativity. He is the source of our talents. All creations are signs and manifestations of His creativity. We can even derive some apologetic inspiration from here. Indeed, creativity is one of the most unmistakable marks through which we can understand that we have been created in His image. Human creativity is the DNA of God imprinted in every single human being. When we indulge ourselves in creative works, we display God’s likeness or character in us.
Here a passing remark on the nature of sin is in order. Sin essentially brings about alienation from God and also from work. We fail to enjoy our work. This results in suppressing God’s creative power in us. The result is disorder. Inasmuch as God by His creative power established order out of chaos, so also human creativity by implication ought to bring about order or harmony in our lives and also in our relationship with God, others and works.
Such is the nature of our relational life with God and work that Dennis Bakke asserts, ‘work was intended to be an important act of worship. It was one the most significant ways in which we could honor our Creator.’ Christians in the marketplace often draw our attention to the following verses to remind us of our calling to work: ‘there was no man to work the ground” (Gen 2:5b) and [after creating the first man] “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Gen 2:15). The point to be noted here is that work is neither a curse as some Christians tend to believe nor some accidental feature of life to become rich but intrinsic and defining characteristic of our humanity. Before we stray too far into this point, let me come back to my focus and then close with this observation: Talents are given not only with the purpose of edifying self or for serving God and others, but for something more fundamental – “To discover who we are.”
(Venusa is a full-time MCS student at BGST.)
Chapel This Week. The chapel speaker for this week is Mr Chou Fang Soong, Provost and Executive Vice-Principal of BGST. Before joining BGST, Fang Soong was a SVP of a multi-national corporation.
Council members ...
Dr Philip Satterthwaite, a UK citizen and Singapore Permanent Resident, has taught at BGST since 1998. He was educated at Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester. Prior to joining BGST, he was Research Fellow in Hebrew and Aramaic at Tyndale House, Cambridge, and the Oriental Studies Faculty, Cambridge. Philip has made a special study of the Old Testament Historical books, resulting in a book, Exploring the Old Testament Vol 2: A Guide to the Historical Books, published in 2007 by IVP and
At BGST he teaches the Old Testament Foundations courses. He has taught elective courses on a number of biblical books (Genesis 25–50, Judges, Ruth and Esther, Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes), as well as on other topics such as Old Testament Ethics and Preaching on Old Testament Texts.
Besides his teaching role, Philip is Dean of Biblical & Theological Studies and is the other Faculty representative in the BGST Council. He also heads the Academic Committee. As announced in last week’s bulletin, he is the Acting Principal from October to December 2008.
Philip is a member of Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church. He preaches regularly there and elsewhere in Singapore, and has given sermon series on Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs. At Prinsep he has taught survey courses on Old and New Testament (the latter entitled ‘An OT Scholar Looks at the New Testament’). He has also held seminars on topics such as: the Health and Wealth Teaching; Jesus and Old Testament Prophecy; Text and Canon of Old and New Testament.
Philip is married to Eileen, a lecturer in Biblical Studies at Discipleship Training Centre.
BGST PUBLIC LECTURE
Power and Spiritual Abuse
Speaker: Rev Adrian van Leen
Date: 25 Oct 08, Saturday
Time: 7.30 - 9.00pm
Venue: Zion BP Church,
4 Bishan St 13 (map)
Admission is free.
About the speaker: Rev Adrian van Leen is the Director of Concerned Christians Growth
(CCG) Ministries Inc, an Australian-based Christian Counter-cult Ministry.
BGST FUND-RAISING DINNER & TALK
Thanksgiving & Thanks-living
Date: 21 Nov 08, Friday
Time: 7.00 - 10.00pm
Venue: Pioneer Spring Restaurant
2 Telok Blangah Way #02-05
Safra Mount Faber
The Dimensions of Godly Gratitude
Special Guest & Speaker: Dr Daniel I Block (Gunther H Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College, Illinois.)
Admission by invitation only.
For enquiries on hosting a table, please contact Serene at Tel: 62276815 or email
“Churches Living with
Seminar at Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, 25 Oct 2008 (Sat), 2 - 5.30 p.m. Admission is free. Please call Mr Vincent Ho to register (64784750 or email: