Creativity in Heaven
When you begin a creative project, there is always an image in your mind of what you want to create. However, when the work is done it never quite seems to capture that first picture. The artist’s vision of the work has a perfection that never comes out the same when you actually make it. You picture the beauty of a dance but your limbs can’t quite do it; you hear the piece of music in your head but when you finally perform it it seems flat. If you are highly skilled, the sculpture captures the form your mind saw, but something about it is still as dead as the inanimate stone it was carved from. Art contains an elusive element, just beyond your grasp, that your creative impulse can touch but never quite fully bring down to earth.
This creative ideal or artistic vision is a memory of heaven—a fleeting touch of true reality—that earth is only a shadow copy of. That first vision of the work is seen in your mind in the colors of heaven, and sung with the voices of angels. With the eyes of heaven you see the sculpture in living stone instead of dead marble, and you visualize yourself dancing with the power of a resurrection body. Creativity sees glimpses of heaven on earth, and attempts to translate it to others.
This is true because when you are creative, you are acting in the image of God, to birth something out of nothing. His image in you, connected with him, connects you with heaven. The image you see in your mind carries the imprint of heaven, but when you try to make it here on earth, out of earthy stuff, it never quite does justice to your original vision. The words get in the way. Our minds can never quite translate what we see accurately, because the picture was of heaven and the only tools we have to communicate it are of earth. It’s the same challenge of bringing heavenly insight to earth that Jesus faced when he tried to explain God to us.
Designed to CreateIn God's original design, we were made for heaven, not earth. We were designed to create out of the living stuff of heaven, not the dead things of earth. When we go to our real home, we will have living colors to paint with. With heaven's extra dimensions, the color wheel will expand by orders of magnitude, into a multi-dimensional spectrum of unimaginable hues. Imagine if you could paint with thirty tubes of ultramarine blue, the exact same shade, but the paint in each tube played a different note when you looked at it. Whenever a person's eyes scanned over the canvas, the clear blue sky you painted would explode into melodies and harmonies. The sound would add a whole new dimension to your art.
That's what art in heaven will be like. You'll have entire new dimensions to explore. You will sculpt with rocks that cry out the glory of God, and dance with bodies that carry the visible glory of God. There your hands will be able to fashion what your creative vision now only captures fleeting glimpses of.
The Place of Art in EternityOn earth, art is the interpreter of heaven. It captures glimpses of the unseeable and unknowable and puts them into a form we can understand. Art is an intermediary between us and heaven, taking a beauty beyond earth and attempting to express it in human language.
Then what will art be in heaven? Who will need to paint God when God in his full glory is always visible? What need will there be for those who can capture glimpses of an unseen heaven when heaven is fully seen by all? Does art cease to exist in heaven?
The interpretive function of art (that brings glimpses of heaven to earth) ceases in heaven, but its creative function comes into fullness. Art there does not represent heaven—it creates heaven. It does not try to communicate an unseen reality—it brings into being new reality. When you compose music in heaven, you add to the fullness of heaven. Your work opens new vistas, introduces new thoughts—it expands heaven. On earth "there is nothing new under the sun": it is hard to come up with something genuinely new, that doesn't merely reflect what God has already done. But I believe that living in heaven, and breathing heaven's air, will unlock us to create new things out of nothing, just as God did. Every new song written there will increase the glory and knowledge of heaven. When you sculpt the living stone of heaven, you will create something new in the universe that adds to the glory of all that is made. You were created in the image of a creative God, and you will have a hand in creating a universe.
This article is from a forthcoming book on heaven's perspective by Tony Stoltzfus. When I finish it, you can get it at Coach22!