My children love to tell it, and told it again not long ago, this joke, laughing and tripping over themselves to the punch-line. It goes like this.
There’s a scientist and God. And the scientist challenges God to a contest of who can make the better human being. God tells him that he’s on, at which time the scientist, in great delight, bends over to pick up some dust to make his human being. Then God says, ‘No, no … you go and find your own dust.’
So, sure, we create. We just don’t have the divine ability to create out of nothing. We don’t create like God creates, who, we’re told, got it all rolling after he said a word, just a word into the nothingness, but a word with a rather big bang.
Instead, we create, say, a house. Or we make a piece of art on a wall inside that house, or a work of music that a young girl plays on the piano that sits in the living room, or a story on pages bound between two covers on a nearby bookshelf.
My own children create, and we put these creations on the fridge. Or we read them aloud at bedtime. And they soak it up. Because it reminds them that what they make has value, just as they have value.
This is a noble thing, for us to speak our own word into the creation, to be co-creators, to make something from the various forms of dust that is put before us, whether that’s metal from a steel mill, or whether it’s a different sort of mettle that comes from our imagination, that’s forged in our daily experiences.
Yes, we’re created with glory that is so great that the old prophets, for all their blistering and blustering about our shortcomings, tell us to put our heads up and walk with pride because we are made just a lower than the angels. We are made, somehow, in the very image of God, a God who every minute bursts out of the little tin boxes we try to put him, bursting forth, if through no other way, through his colourful creations.
Some may think of it all as a joke. And in a way, it is, this divine comedy. And it’s the children, the newly created among us, who pick up on it so readily, who get it all so easily.