Church leader Thomas Monson said, “God left us the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon. He left the electricity in the cloud, the oil in the earth. He left the rivers unbridged and the forests unfelled and the cities unbuilt. God gives to man the challenge of raw materials, not the ease of finished things. He leaves the pictures unpainted and the music unsung and the problems unsolved, that man might know the joys and glories of creation.”
God used six days to create the Earth. First, God solved the problem of darkness. Then, He divided the water in the air from the water on the land. Next, He divided the water and the dry land. He put seeds in the ground and made them grow. He then put animals on the Earth. Finally, He made male and female and gave them dominion over the whole Earth. In other words, He said, “You are in charge, take care of this wonderful place and these creatures I have given you.” He didn’t put men and women on the Earth in the darkness and say, “Work things out.”
God is a generous, loving God who wants His children to be happy. Just look at the beauty and variety of His creations. He didn’t just throw the world together and say, “That is good enough for those who will dwell here.” No, He saw that it was good. Probably the word “good” in the Bible is the most magnificent understatement of all time. There is not a word to describe how wonderful His work was. He gave His best to the last detail, and He was satisfied with His labors. We, as His children, are expected to follow His example. Part of multiplying and replenishing the Earth has to do with continuing creation, not just bearing children.
God started His creation with a master plan, and He worked His plan to the last atom of the last cell. He is a God of order, not of chaos. Humans' intricate theories about the creation fall apart under the lens of the Bible story. Order is the overriding theme of the creation. Big bangs and jumping DNA from one species to another tend to shatter the concept of order, not align them in magnificent order and supreme precision. The workings of the world, as God created them, are still patterns of order. Babies still go through the same growing process. Animals are never born full grown. Seeds still produce the intended outcome. Seasons still follow the same patterns. Chaos has never been able to produce that kind of repeating order. Even humans become creators as they seek to bring order to paintings, poetry, sculptures and other works of art. They do not just throw the paint on the canvas and say, “Behold the Mona Lisa.”
Humans, like God, find satisfaction in creating something of value, and the effort they exert in the creative process makes all the difference. Creativity begins with formulating a plan. What will we need? What will be the first step? The second step? What will the final product look like? Will it work the way the creation was planned? Creativity, in effect, is bringing things together that exist in chaos and putting them into meaningful order to make something useful or beautiful. And the creation is most effective when it makes a difference in someone else’s life.
Artists know the feeling of creative fulfillment when they mix colors and spread them over the canvas to send a message in visual form. They are thrilled when their work communicates their message to someone else. Farmers know the gratification of clearing a piece of land and planting seeds in a certain order. As they watch it grow and produce, it gives a feeling of satisfaction. If they share their harvest, it is even more meaningful. Writers start with a blank piece of paper or a computer screen and fill it with words that take on meaning and emotion. Satisfaction comes when writers re-read the words and feel the emotion in what they have created. It is twice as nice when someone else is blessed by the words they have written. Composers, actors, screenwriters, inventors all take gratification in their work. Every advertisement, road sign, highway, building and invention begins with a human’s creative plan that is carried out from the planning stage to the final product.
There is a special connection between creating and sharing. God took pleasure in His work, and He enjoys it anew when we appreciate what He has done. Gratitude plays a big part in gratification. We humans need to have someone appreciate our creative works.
I wonder if much of the dissatisfaction and emotional illness in our society comes from the lack of creativity and from not using the inbred creative abilities God gave us. The more we are consumers instead of creators, the more frustrated we become. We need to continue God’s creations by using the materials He has so mercifully provided us. We need to be able to express ourselves and allow ourselves to create. It is definitely easier to sit in front of the television or flip through our mobile device and enjoy what someone else has done rather than use the energy to create something of our own. But internet scrolling leaves little, if any, satisfaction.
God’s crowning glory was the creation of Adam and Eve. God created them after His image. What does that really mean? If humans are in the image of God, they are like Him. We have His attributes and divine potential. That means we have limitless possibilities. Of course, we are mortal and subject to the frailties of the flesh, but if we are in the image of God, we can accomplish much more than we allow ourselves to imagine. We must tap into the God-given powers of creation. We must allow ourselves to think bigger and use our creativity to become all that we were intended to be.
God gave Adam and Eve dominion over all His creations. Dominion means to govern and to have authority over something. God also gave Adam the responsibility of naming the creations. People still name their creations and discoveries. Naming, governing and taking care of the Earth is a big job, but God knew they could do it. He expected them to grow in capacity and power. Even today, He expects great things from His children. He expects us to be producers, caretakers and creators. Each one of us has talents and God-given abilities we can use to bless the lives of others. We have a divine mission to perform. How do we know what that mission is?
We can live day to day wondering and trying different avenues. Trial and error are effective, but it takes forever. There is a better way. Reading the scriptures and praying are much more effective in discovering our divine potential and our mission in life. God knows us. He answers prayers. He has promised that if we ask, we shall receive. It is not enough to just read the scriptures. Deeper meanings only come out with deeper reading and pondering. We must ask questions and be willing to listen for the answers.
Prayer is a two-way communication process. It is not a grocery-list kind of prayer: Give me this and give me that. It is a father to son or daughter conversation. Ask questions like: What are my talents? How can I use them to create something of value that will bless others? Where do you want me to serve today? What does this scripture mean? How does it apply to me? These questions are effective, but it is not good enough just to ask. Listen for the answer. Answers will come into your mind, and if you act on those answers, God will lead you gradually and steadily to your potential. Be ready to give up a few things of the world and to do more than you ever thought you could.
There are still magnificent inventions waiting to be created and shared. There are still paintings that need to be painted and movie scripts that need to be written. There are still medical wonders that need to be discovered. God has not finished the Earth. He has left that part for us to create, name, protect and use the raw materials He provided, and to find joy in the journey.