Baptism of the Imagination
As I drove through the Dublin Hills today, I couldn’t help but be awestruck by the sight. The rolling mounds beamed with life and color! The vibrant, green grass danced with the gentle wind. How could anyone not admire such a scene? My mind began to imagine a time when the hills were not carved out by a highway, when this land was only known by the wildlife and God. How has it changed over hundreds or thousands of years? If the hills, grass, and trees of Dublin had a voice, what stories would they share?
Through my imagination, I could hear the slightest whispers of the land. It spoke of times when the change of the seasons and the migration of animals were the hot topic for millennia. Eventually, the first humans eyed this land and made it their home. These creatures were different, but it wasn’t their form or craft that set them apart. Humans were the created made in the Creator’s image. They were the ones who could hear the song of Creation. The brooks, trees, and fields of the valley sang their chorus, giving glory to the Creator, hoping man would hear the melody and join in. Creation is always singing this song, but man, with blind eyes and deaf ears, cannot hear it.
The imagination is one of the most powerful faculties of humankind, but like all things, one can use it both for good and evil. We know this to be true. This fact forces us to consider how one ought to use their imagination. With it, one can create worlds, live in the shoes of another, or envision a brighter future. These are all qualities of the imagination that our society praises, but I want us to try to think about the human imagination from God’s perspective. Why did God give mankind an imagination? Although there may be many true answers to this question, I’d like to propose that one reason why God gave mankind an imagination is so that we may be able to “hear” the voice of creation as they proclaim the glory of God.
The purpose of the imagination is to hear and see things that the eye and ear cannot sense. Sometimes the eye and ear cannot sense something because it is not actually there, thus leading us to believe that the products of the imagination are solely trickery and illusion. However, what if there actually were voices and sights outside of the physical world? If “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1) as David claims, then how do we hear this declaration? The ear and eye are designed to capture sound waves and photons of light, respectively, so they are chained to the physical world. In contrast, the imagination is not chained to the physical world. God may have designed the imagination to hear and see beyond the limits of the ear and eye.
Our minds are corrupt and deprived because of sin, but I believe that God can sanctify the imagination, allowing us to hear the song of Creation. According to Psalm 19, Creation does indeed have a voice, and heaven and earth use their voices to proclaim glory to God. Do you hear it? During the dawn, the sun, sky, and hills all sing triumphantly together in perfect harmony. When it rains, the mellow melody of drops pitter-pattering on the hard earth are hymns to our Father in heaven. Among the towering stalks of grass, the ants march in perfect rhythm to the song God orchestrated for their kind. Once again, I ask: do you hear it? It may take some imagination, but the song is always there for our enjoyment and benefit.
I ask you to allow the Holy Spirit to baptize your imagination. Allow God to open your blind eyes and deaf ears to the choir that’s around you. May Creation’s song of the eternal power and divine nature of the Creator move you to sing your own song of glory to God.