Forsaking Fig Leaves — On Sin and Creativity

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Devotional, Creativity

There is no question that we were created to create. To reflect God’s creative power and wisdom. Speaking life and justice and truth into the world through our words. Expressing love and beauty through the work of our hands.

We are engineers. We are medical professionals. We are parents. We are poets.

We cook. We do hair. We run marathons. We build things.

But it all falls short if our motives are amiss.

Picture this. Adam and Eve. God’s first creative team. Adam named all of the animals. That’s some creative endurance right there! Then, when God gave him a wife, Adam wrote the first poem in the history of the world:

“At last! This one is bone of my bone,
and flesh of my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
because she was taken from ‘man.’”
Genesis 2:27 NLT

(Side note: I’m not a feminist, but the fact that man’s first creative work was a poem about a woman is not lost on me.)

This new world was full of life, draped in color, glowing with beauty and bursting with creativity. It was perfectly in tune with its creator, and everything was right side up.

Adam and Eve were naked and they felt no shame.

Then an act of disobedience perverted everything, including their creativity. Eve’s afternoon snack literally turned the whole world upside down.

After Eve ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to her husband, “their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.” (Genesis 3:7 NLT)

Sewed fig leaves together?

Let’s quickly recap. God creates Eve, gives her to Adam, Adam writes a poem. Eve eats the fruit, gives some to Adam, and now they’re tailoring clothes.

Two acts of creativity. Two entirely different motives.

God put Adam and Eve on the earth to enjoy him, to enjoy each other, and to create new things that future generations could enjoy. He set them in the Garden of Eden where Adam named all the animals. And Eve, well, Eve created something to.

The first things created by human hands were objects of shame. Masks in the form of fig leaves. An attempt to hide from God, because suddenly we weren’t who we had been created to be, and we just couldn’t be honest about it. Thinking that covering the outside would hide the inner brokenness was a futile endeavor that is still en vogue today.

God created us to live freely. To explore the wild, and tame it where we can. To use our brains, our bodies, our whole beings to create that which brings glory to our Creator. But instead, we make fig leaf underwear and run to hide in the bushes.

I am not preaching. I am confessing.

When I do something that I know does not please God. When I believe the serpent and eat from the tree, too often my first instinct is to grab my emotional sewing kit and make a mask out of anything I can get my hands on. And usually those materials are not from God.

I’ve worn masks made out of blame. Others have been formed out of fear, anger, or depression. My most frequented masquerade party is the one where I go as the confident girl with the designer label mask, meanwhile my soul is nervously shrinking, biting its nails in the corner. Because no matter how good the fig leaves look on the outside, they are never enough to repair the damage that sin inflicts on our conscience.

The irony in all of this is that our reflex when we sin is to create something. To go back to God’s Plan A for our lives and make meaningful things that represent his goodness. It’s actually an attempt to find God again and earn his approval as his created and creative sons and daughters. But Satan highjacks our minds and injects a little fear of rejection, a little shame of our imperfections, a little discontentment with our life circumstances.

So, instead of running to God and receiving the mercy and grace we need to fashion life-giving things, we retreat and make cheap veils out of Satan’s ridiculous lies.

This cycle is a sucker punch to our creative potential. Really, it’s a threat to our potential in Christ altogether. We were created to create things that breathe life into dead things. Bring freedom to those in captivity. Speak truth into falsehood. Enact justice where evil and corruption have reigned.

That’s what we were born to do. And if we are going to do it, we have to forsake the fig leaves and stop hiding.

The fig leaves are not faith-friendly. They are deceptive, and they drive a wedge between us and our Father in heaven. A deeper wedge than the original sin that we tried to cover up in the first place.

Here’s what I mean to say…

Sin is real. And it’s important that we face it. But it’s more important that we face God in the midst of it. Own the things we do that don’t please him, and believe that his goodness and mercy transcends them all.

If you’ve read this far, I suppose these observations are speaking to you. I pray that you will be redeemed from the masquerade and embrace your call to create beautiful things for God.


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