Monday, January 2, 2012
Our Imaginations are God-given communication devices
I was reading my Bible from Genesis 6:13 onwards, when God instructed Noah how to build the Ark. Once again, I found myself thinking as I often used to, It would be wonderful if God would communicate as clearly and precisely now as He did to people like Noah. I imagined Noah standing in a field and gazing up at the sky while a deep voice boomed from the clouds, Make it 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high... put a window 18 inches from the top... coat it with pitch inside and out.
The majority of modern people you ask would surely say that's not the way God's chosen to communicate with them. Several times, I've heard, "God's instructions aren't given to our ears and eyes but to our spirits." Although I used to think that sounded a bit airy-fairy, I could go along with it. It seems reasonable that our Creator, who isn't a human being, doesn't choose to use the same limited communication methods humans are restricted to with each other. He made the 5 senses but He is free to transcend them and communicate His thoughts and instructions to us at a far deeper and more visceral level. Perhaps that's why He's given us a wonderfully receptive tool which can't be pinned down and probed.
If we were able to whiz back in time to witness folk like Noah receiving their inspiration, I wonder whether we would really hear the booming voice we might expect. Is it reasonable to imagine that He might have communicated His deepest plans to their receptive spirits and imaginations which they gladly made available for Him to fill.
Think of Moses being given the 10 Commandments to etch on stone tablets, and the detailed plans he received to build the original tabernacle in the wilderness. Later, King David received God's awesome blueprint for the magnificent temple which he drew up to pass on to his son, Solomon. The prophet Jeremiah was given God's Word which he dictated to his secretary, Baruch. If we could be present at these occasions with our twenty-first century expectations based on sensory information, is it possible we may be disappointed to find nothing but guys with long beards madly scribbling things down?
Hang on, that's all people would see if they step into my house while I'm working on my books (except, of course, I don't have a beard, thankfully). My kids would be quick to say those moments are very unexciting to witness. When I write my novels, the characters and their plights fill my daydreams. Sometimes I rush for my notebook to jot down their dialogues before I forget them. Am I just another person in a long line of folk who have received detailed guidance from God Himself when I devote my imagination to Him? The way in which sudden ideas tend to ignite my mind without my volition makes this seem credible. Often, something deep inside tells me, Yeah, that's just the thing, when a particular idea for the story or a character's reflection gels with me. Could this be God's guidance?
Have you had these moments too? Have you ever felt your spirit soar when you hear a wonderful song that you just know was God-inspired on the part of the composer? Have you seen a work of any medium of art which has brought tears to your eyes?
The flip side of this is that if we're not careful to make sure our imaginations are available as tools for God alone, they can fill up with all sorts of weird and terrifying things that can drive us to the brink of despair. At different times in my life, I've experience this too. But when we make it a practice to consciously dedicate our imaginations to God and squelch the other stuff, He has promised to honour our wholehearted commitment.
Albert Einstein said, "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift." In 2012, let's remember that our imaginations are definite gifts God has given us with the intention of communicating with us through them. And then let's watch our creativity soar!