Creativity, Spirituality, and the Future

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Creativity is a clue that we are not locked into a purely predetermined system of cause and effect.  While all human choice is preceded by causes and followed by effects,  and the variety of choices may be limited, there is still room for surprise.

I once asked someone if they believed God had the capacity to laugh at a joke. I added that if God knows everything then he could not be surprised. And surprise is what makes a joke funny. If this is true, and God cannot laugh at a joke, then God is poor. To not be able to laugh is poverty.

But I think God can laugh… and be surprised.

God has made man, like himself, creative. Since the early days of our species when we domesticated fire, we have continued to master the world. We have released the power of the atom. We suck the world dry of its energy. We create robots that will go to war for us. We topple trees and the natural habitats of many other of the Earth’s creatures. We have created a technological environment that is changing faster than our ability to adapt. That’s a prescription for extinction.

Mark Twain wrote, If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?”

It has been said, “The level of thinking which got us into the problems we face is not the level of thinking that will be able to get us out.”

If our technological powers continue to grow, and if we continue to try to master each other and the world, we may destroy the earth, our womb. In this next century, our species will need to reach a whole new dimension of creativity and spirituality. New ways of thinking, being, and living are essential if we are to overcome the problems we’ve caused and if we’re to create a human future.

I think God has designed a universe that has both stability and chaos, predetermined cause-effect and randomness. One of the biggest variables in the cosmos may be us. How will we choose to use our ever growing technological power?

We have entered the era of DIY genetics. Natural selection is not the only driver of evolutionary change anymore. There’s a new kid on the block that can reach into the fundamental fibers of life and create new forms of life.  That new kid is us and the possibilities are unimaginable.

This could be a disaster about to happen. But we could also be in for a surprise. I would like to think that we still have time to do something so wonderfully startling that it would make God laugh a deep laugh from the stomach.

What do you think?


9 responses to “Creativity, Spirituality, and the Future”

  1. Mike Weaver Avatar

    Thanks for your thoughts Alex. I agree. Laughter certainly emerges out of surprise and it also emerges out of pure joy. God, I believe, takes delight in his people’s use of creativity to bring beauty into the world. St. Irenaeus once said, “The glory of God is a human being truly alive.” To be truly alive is to be creative.

    1. alexandermcmanus Avatar

      Thanks Mike.
      Since you are an improv artist, I’m wondering on your take on this question:
      Does God improvise?

      1. nonetpreaching Avatar

        Alex, I drool when I read your question because I love to enter into that conversation. Yes, I do believe God improvises. God limits himself for the sake of the relationship with humanity. A great example of this, but certainly not the only, in the Scriptures is the creation story. Instead of God naming the animals, he asks Adam to do so. God chooses become a servant to Adam by leading the animals in front of Adam to name…and gives Adam the freedom to name them. God could have done the work himself, but he entered into the present moment with Adam and accepted whatever name Adam gave the animals. The story of creation continued in partnership with Adam’s creativity not in spite of Adam. At the heart of improvisation is an interdependent relationship between two actors on stage listening and responding to the offers given in the moment. A friend of mine at Second City LA sees Jesus as the greatest improviser the world has ever seen because of his ability to respond in the moment to changing circumstances around him. Jesus knew the end of his personal story and was committed to that end, but the way he got there, as we see in the gospels was quite improvisational.

  2. gnotek Avatar

    Brilliant thoughts and ponderings Alex. I know it’s said God knows everything. But does God really see the future and knows every exact minute action, every thought, every outcome? Does God know what I’m going to write in this post before I do? Did God give prophets of old word-for-word dictations—or give them brilliant inspirations of Truth and these prophets wrote these Truth in their own words? When did Jesus know how he would die? Did Jesus have free will to decide NOT to bear our sins? Is free will the great wild card of life and existence?

    Or is it more along the line of brilliant reasoning? If this, than that. Is God just so smart he can figure out the chess moves well in advance, rather than look into a crystal ball?

    I thinks it’s more of God being the ultimate chess master and free will being the great wild card. I mean really, why would there be such a battle of good and evil if good is predetermined to win? Why fight? What’s the point? “To take as many of God’s good people to hell to make God suffer.” That’s lame reasoning. People say that all the time. What would have been the point of the temptation of Christ? “To show us how to fight temptation,” in my best white shirt and tie voice.

    It seems to me there was a VERY REAL DANGER—and perhaps even TO God and all holy eternity—in God becoming man to save mankind’s hide!!! What is sacrifice on a sure bet? Jesus just may not have defeated Death—and THAT may have been a danger to all holy eternity! God might not have risen back to the throne of heaven! Jesus could have succumbed to temptation and THAT could have been detrimental to all Creation. Or Jesus may have decided to let the cup pass, not bear humanity’s sins—and you and me brothers and sisters would be looking at a very bleak eternal future.

    But what an ultimate show of love. Consider that. Not only did Christ “suffer” for yours, mine and all mankind’s digressions, but there was a real “danger” to God in doing so!

    Back to my episodes of Sleepy Hollow on Hulu now.

    1. alexandermcmanus Avatar

      You’re thinking dangerous thoughts, John. And I like it.
      So, you’re watching Sleep Hollow too? Nice

  3. JON Avatar

    Sounds like process theology or much like Open Theism. But that’s ok. I am an open theist myself (with a caveat). 🙂

  4. emiljon Avatar

    Sounds like Process Theology or much like Open Theism. But that’s ok. I’m an open theist myself (with caveat). 🙂

    1. alexandermcmanus Avatar

      I am an atheist who is still surprised by his own conversion towards the God of Jesus Christ. Thanks for chiming in.

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