Creativity part of the Imago Dei

The ability to create is one aspect of humanity that God has placed within us as a reflection of his image. We are created in the Imago Dei.

Mankind is the only creature who can create art. The abilities to carve a sculpture from a block of wood, paint an image on canvas or play music on a piano are direct reflections of God in his creation. It is what makes us truly human.

Only mankind can appreciate the arts. The ability to think with an artistic mind gives us uniqueness and individuality. This is part of the ability to learn, grow and reason.

The Bicentennial Man is a novella in the Robot Series by Isaac Asimov. The story formed the basis of the novel The Positronic Man (1993), co-written with Robert Silverberg, and the 1999 film Bicentennial Man, starring Robin Williams. This story looks at all things human and follows the transformation of an android named Andrew into a uniquely human life form.

I disagree with the premise in the movie version that Andrew the Robot actually becomes human. In the end, he is only a machine imitating human traits. This despite the creation of flesh and blood as part of his attempt to be human. Andrew even develops a way to end his life through aging his body. But in the end, those who created him, humans, are themselves created. Andrew lacked one thing…the image of God. Instead he succeeded in obtaining the image of man.

But what I find fascinating is the ability to create and appreciate art is where this robot begins his journey in learning all things human. This journey begins with Andrew sculpting a small horse from driftwood and follows with him experiencing what it means to be human. The discoveries focus in artistic expression. Listening to and appreciating classical music, dreaming of and creating architecture, or dancing to music are all signs of his emerging attempt at learning about humanity. The story reveals that the ability of the robot to think creatively and appreciate art is one of the signs that make him unique.

I find it fascinating that God chose to place the ability to appreciate the fine arts within the one being in his created order that he chose to reflect his image. This appreciation for things beautiful brings pleasure, an emotion that only mankind can experience. Robots can be programmed to learn, but it was the creativity of mankind that gave this imitated rationale to Andrew the Robot.

I for one am grateful for a creator who finds it pleasing to see us being creative through the arts. Whether it be engineering schematics, architectural design, sculpture or painting, the art we create is an expression of gratitude to God who has granted us this wonderful gift. Otherwise, we would be mere robots in service to him.


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