Read Job 38-42. If twelve-year-old me were writing this, she would be telling you to read Job 38-42 because it proves the existence of dragons. When I was younger, I wanted nothing more than to believe dragons were real. I had all the books; the ones I couldn’t find, I wrote; my sister and best friend were in on the obsession and together we saw dragons everywhere, especially on long car rides. But now, I’m telling you to read these five chapters because I think they help explain why Christians should be the most creative human beings out there.
When God’s goodness is being questioned by poor Job, and Job’s friends are misinterpreting God’s identity, and everything is basically a massive mess, how does God affirm his identity, glory, and power to Job? He talks about what He’s created. God’s creative power is so awesomely on display that even the staunchest atheist is “without excuse” because “[God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Romans 1). What makes God’s glory inescapably present in even the lives of those running away from him is his creative nature. And Christians are called to emulate that nature as an aspect of our ultimate goal to glorify God. God actually blesses people with creative gifts so that he might be glorified in that (Exodus 35-36).
So why do we want to glorify God? What’s he done to deserve that?
He is the only one in the Universe who inherently deserves glory. Why?
He created us for that purpose.
This makes people so angry! When God is called the potter, and we are called the clay, it feels like autonomy is ripped from our hands! But ultimate autonomy was never really ours to begin with; “for when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6).
God chose to show his glory in saving sinners from what they deserve. He himself — Christ, fully God and fully man — came to our world, lived, was murdered, and resurrected on the third day, defeating sin and death. The pinnacle of God’s glory is Christ our Savior, who reconciles God’s people to the Father with his atoning blood by paying the debt of sin that we owed to God eternally.
If we’re trusting in Jesus, we should be screaming God’s praise in any way we can, to anyone who will listen. And one way to do that is to follow our Creator’s example and use the creativity God has blessed us with to share his goodness.
Smelly Davis Needs a Bath doesn’t have an explicit gospel presentation, for all secular school districts reading this and having a panic attack. But Russell’s desire to help his friend, who is different from him and undesirable because he is smelly, stems from a Christian perspective. There are parables about men who were forgiven an impossibly high debt; in return, they treated those indebted to them horribly. That’s not what Christians should do. Christians should be the most forgiving, understanding, loving people on the planet, because of what we’ve been forgiven, how Christ understands our sufferings, and how God loved us while we still hated him. So even in a story as seemingly neutral as a kid who needs a bath, there is the inherent cry to ask, “Why do we love people even when they’re smelly?”
Because “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5).