Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Sanctified Imagination

Why did God create our imaginations? Our ability to dream, to make up stories, to play make believe?
Surely if He made it and put it in us He intends that we should use it as we interact with Him.

Sometimes though, we're scared to engage our imaginations when we pray or read Scripture because we fear our creativity will push us into the realm of heresy. We might create a make believe Bible-ish scenario that contradicts what Scripture teaches and so... well we just don't even want to go there.

The result is often a flat and one-dimensional faith. We read our Bibles but never glean anything that captures our hearts or minds because our hearts and minds are simply not engaged. We are not grabbed by anything (but our grocery-list-in-progress) when we come to the Lord, because we put more imagination into what we're cooking for dinner than we do into what it must have felt like to be lowered down a city wall in a basket with the enemy army close behind. Or a Hebrew child watching our first blood sacrifice in the Temple courtyard.

Years might even be spent in the Kingdom wondering if this is really all there is to Christianity and secretly yawning behind our devotional books. May it never be!

Of course we need to be on our guard against false teaching and trying to twist the Bible to say things that it doesn't say. Lots of preachers, teachers and Bible readers fall into that. It's the nature of our flesh. But I think we're missing out on a gigantic portion of the thriller/romance/drama/suspense/horror/comedy/poem that our Lord desires to share with us. He is, after all, the world's greatest storyteller.

Let's approach the Scriptures with sanctified imaginations. With our creativity primed and at the ready, submitted to the leading and correction of the Holy Spirit. Praying before we jump into the action, asking the Lord to keep us from making up our own comfortable truth- but at the same time to engage all of our senses, all those parts of us that love a good role play, and every fiber of our story-loving spirits.

And then let's imagine how it must have been to...

1 comment:

rhon said...

In Precepts leadership training, I remember being taught that if your experience contradicts scripture, you have to choose - your experience or scripture. This has always been a great measuring rod for me, although sometimes hard to apply.

I apply it as I watch this clip. It is an animation of the details of a specific event accounted in the Bible. You can split hairs and say that the Bible doesn't say Moses waded into the water or a million other details that the animators' imaginations portrayed here. But does that detail contradict scripture? It certainly doesn't.

The imagination used here that I think we should bring to scripture is, "How did it feel?" Look at the expressions on their faces - the awe and fear. Can you imagine what it must have been like? I think when you do, you experience a fraction of the character of God; you get to know Him a little bit better.