Herbert W Armstrong Library
Sign In  |  MyHWA  |    
Plain Truth Magazine
September 1980
Volume: Vol 45, No.8
Issue: ISSN 0032-0420
QR Code
Kenneth C Herrmann   
Church of God

Born: 1924
Died: 2006
Member Since: 1949
Ambassador College: 1953

Inherited traits go back to our most ancient forebears. Artistic and musical ability, poetry, prose, even language itself, all reflect a peculiarly human attribute called creativity. Philosophy, imagination, speculation, and the theory of evolution too — these betray man's true origin as a carbon (dust and ashes) copy of his Creator!

   MAN IS DIFFERENT. He imagines; then he goes on to create in words, in music, in gold and silver, in concrete and steel, the images of his mind. Geologist Kenneth Crandall expressed it in Chevron World, 1979, Spring issue "Creativity [is]... a human resource — no other living thing has such an ability to create new things, to construct an image in their mind of something they have never seen." Man seeks a solution, fails time after time, then it is "back to the drawing board... to dream some more with a new set of observations and criteria, hopeful to create a new concept to explain and solve our problems."
   From where does man's creativity come? It does not originate in our schools, our educational systems, where the main emphasis is on memorization and adjustment to society's changing norms. True, an occasional course will emphasize the use of one's inborn creativity; and true, talented students might be offered a course in creative writing and thinking.
   Diligent scholars might even daydream of some day having their chance at solving the nation's or world's problems by participation in a "think tank" where a selection of the best informed, most innovative thinkers are put to work seeking solutions to the unsolvable.

Man's Imagination

   Man admittedly has an imagination, seemingly a boundless one. He among all earthly creatures meditates his origin and his destiny. Where did man come from ? Rejecting the revealed account, man has turned instead to endless speculation. Quoting Joseph Krutch in his book The Great Chain of Life, "If it really is true that [man] is merely the inevitable culmination of an improbable chemical reaction... then the fact that he has been able... to trace himself back to it is remarkable .... That chemicals which are 'merely material' should come to understand their own nature is a staggering supposition. It is also a preposterous one." (From an editorial in Life, January 28, 1957, commenting on the crisis in science at the time of the International Geophysical Year.)
   Could chemicals of themselves, with the help of just the right bolt of lightning at just the proper. moment, evolve to become men and then turn and look back reflecting on their lowly beginning as chemical soup?
   It takes a fantastic imagination to produce fiction like that! The Source of this creative nature that man alone of all physical creation seems to possess has yet to be acknowledged.
   What is man that on the one hand he should produce the music of Handel and the beauty of the Taj Mahal, the technology of radio, television and the navigational aids of our air and space craft, while on the other hand we see him produce and stockpile instruments of death and destruction. These latter are also the product of man's creativity. National honor seems to demand an arsenal of death pointed at imagined enemies without number.

The Source of Trouble

   Man's imagination has often led him into trouble — even in Noah's day, for "the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and... every imagination of the thoughts of [man's] heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). Later, at the Tower of Babel, trouble had once again reared its head: "... this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do... let us... confound their language ... So the Lord scattered them abroad... upon the face of all the earth" (Genesis 11:6-8). That separation of nations is bitterly resented by a portion of mankind even to this very day.
   Today a United Nations organization attempts once again to bring man back into a single political unit; effective translation of languages is a critical item. Yet even where men have spoken a common language from child hood, they are not of one mind. Though attempts to insure peace and cooperation among men of divergent philosophies, religions, ideologies and cultures may succeed in part, the overall trend since World War II has been a step-by-step slide in the direction of another holocaust.
   It is vital for man to understand himself and the origin of his differences, to understand his capacity for creating different ideas, different cultures, different art and music.

Creative Creatures?

   Surely man is not alone in this creative talent; or is he? Take a glance at the nest of an unknown bird and immediately the builder's identity becomes apparent. And this is true whether the next has been recently built, or whether it is centuries old. The blueprint for that nest was somehow contained in the egg from which its builder hatched. As that young bird grew and matured, it instinctively searched out the proper materials and designed a nest identical to the ones built by its ancestors.
   Visualize a beehive or a wasp nest. By definition we have already admitted that at a glance the structure positively identifies the builder. These insects do not think creatively, they do not imagine (as you did when you visualized their work). They build according to a law of nature designed into them.

Free Moral Agency

   Man has the capacity for participation in both good and evil. It is this imagination of his, this creative ability, that allows him to build for the good of himself and his fellowman or to imagine to destroy all mankind. With this creative capacity automatically goes choice, and this choice is something the rest of the biological and physical world lacks.
   The world of minerals responds day by day to the laws of chemistry and physics. The world of plants extracts its food from the mineral world; these plants grow, mature and produce seed all in line with biological laws. The energy of the sun is stored by the plant for use, not by the plant but by the higher animal world. No plant is given a choice in the matter, nor does it have an imagination to plan out its day.
   The animal world by nature (it is born that way) selects its food by instinct, seeks out a partner by chemical scent during mating season, cares for its young, once more by instinct. And an animal dies without wondering why it was born.

Unusual Traits

   While in a specific animal, one might see this or that "human" trait, these are the singular exception in its makeup.
   Do only humans discipline their offspring by spanking? There is an exception. Australia's marsupial the koala (the pattern for children's "teddy bears") watches over the conduct of its young, and "when they are really naughty the mother turns them over her knee and spanks them on their bottoms for minutes on end with the flat of her hand, during which time their screams are soul-rending" (Living Mammals of the World, by Ivan T. Sanderson, p. 27, a Doubleday publication).
   Do animals genuinely trade ideas with each other? That would be quite a different thing from the obvious communication that goes on among birds, coyotes, wolves, horses and an endless list. But to communicate ideas, and with speech; that is quite another question.
   Is the speech of man understood by animals? Almost not at all, though with one notable exception, the elephant. "Some [elephants]... actually learn to understand human speech... not... the automatic response of a dog or chimpanzee to certain sounds [but]... if acquainted with the language to which the animal is accustomed... [you, a stranger properly introduced, to the elephant by its owner] can stand perfectly still and talk the great beast into performing a wide variety of actions... even if you use different terminology from that to which it has become accustomed" (ibid. p. 292).
   While we see these exceptional traits occasionally in the lower creatures, yet there is a difference. "The animal has no such reserve of unused powers and unlimited capacity of development, in a thousand ways, as are seen in man" (The Mississippi Valley and Prehistoric Events, by C.B. Walker, p. 71).

Man's Predicament

   Man dreams, he innovates, he creates a variety of images in his mind, and then he has the option to choose whether to act on any one or more of them. The rest of the physical world, whether living or mineral, simply acts according to law. "In the natural order there is no effect without a cause; no motion without a purpose. Only the spirit of man lives outside this encompassing law. And because it does, man is the only one of the earth's creatures with the power to shape his own environment" (Official Souvenir Program of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair). And shape it he does, for good and for evil.
   Here then is the answer to man's predicament. Only man has that freedom of choice, only man has that capacity for imagination for good or evil, and only man needs that instruction in "law" to help him make choices that are in both his and his neighbor's best interests. Thus man is truly a unique creature. What is the origin of this innovative, creative bent? It is inseparably linked with man's origin.
   Describe man. "In the general features of his bodily structure [man] is closely related to the higher animals" (the mammals and more narrowly the primates), "while in his mental and spiritual powers there is a worldwide difference ... he has... faculties with a compass and power absolutely unparalleled in creation as we know it.... Physically... the most perfect, the most beautiful and noble... he seems to be the significance, the end and purpose of the system of nature as a whole... king in the earth... all nature is a book made for his reading and instruction... his range of moral powers; of distinguishing between right and wrong; of admiring purity and moral beauty and of practicing virtue... of living in the past and the future by a well-trained imagination, render him immeasurably superior" (The Mississippi Valley, p. 60).
   Again we have met that word imagination. It is the ability or tendency to form mental images. Darwin too had a dream, an idea, a view of things. Darwin's evolutionary tree, hypothetical structure that it was, was supposed to become reality once the fossil evidence from the far corners of the unexplored earth came in. As decades passed agnostic evolutionary scientists imagined that proof was close at hand, that man was a chance happening on earth, the "inevitable culmination of an improbable chemical reaction," a blood relative of the apes, a descendant of green scum. "God is dead!" became a slogan of the more outspoken radical theologians in the mid-20th century.
   The situation is not at all that conclusive in the mind of any informed evolutionist, theistic or atheistic, today.
   The arrangement of supposed blood relatives on this hypothetical evolutionary tree is in a continual state of flux with each new arrangement no more satisfactory than the last.
   How can evolutionists do this to us? We thought their imaginations were directed to the business of disseminating truth. However much some defend the doctrine of the evolutionary origin of man and all life forms, the foundational evidence is seen to be but shifting sand.

To Err Is Human...

   A quote from Life, January 22, 1971, expresses a measure of exasperation at the antics of the overly trusted minds of these servants of society. The discussion of the problem of DDT and Rachel Carson's controversial book Silent Spring brought forth the following comment: "One expects the scientists to provide the truth, scientists being dispassionate men who can eliminate prejudice and emotion.... But one learns that at the sticking point, science breaks down, and the scientists are sometimes wrong, frequently biased and usually incapable of agreeing among themselves.... They are expert in the techniques of persuasion and are just as capable as the rest of us loading arguments, waving red herrings and ignoring conflicting data" (p. 48B).
   The pronouncements of scientists in these speculative fields should really be taken a little less seriously. When looked at in an unbiased fashion, man does not at all appear to be the product of an imaginary evolutionary process but rather as a basic plan" a unique "unspecialized" creation with unlimited imagination. All other physical creatures stand out as being highly specialized.
   The plain truth about why man is as he is proves to be far simpler than the intricate fiction and the shifting arguments produced in the creative minds of evolutionary geologists and biologists of these past 200 years. Man's ancestry, unlike Darwin's dream, is properly traced back by Luke to Noah, then back another eight steps to Seth, "which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God" (Luke 3:23-38). Adam was God's son by creation, and the word God in Genesis 1 in the Hebrew is Elohim, a uniplural word indicating more than one individual in the God realm.
   God created this "first Adam" and his wife Eve and said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion [over the other creatures] ..." (Genesis 1:26). God then was the One who put this creative imaginative nature in man and woman, a talent that was to be used in the mastery of the earth and its creatures.
   What is the origin of creativity? Elohim, who created the heavens and earth and all in them, put His own creative talent into man. God created man as a dust-and-ashes copy of Himself.

Use and Abuse

   Adam was assigned a creative task almost immediately. "You are going to be in charge. Systematically begin the naming of the animals and birds. Learn about plant life; understand how each bit of the creation can be useful to you and your descendants." For "out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them.... And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast..." (Genesis 2:19-20). Only an imaginative, truly creative mind could be called upon to invent name after name as this multitude of creatures is brought forward.
   The next step in the story of man is one of misguided imagination. Lacking the direction she should have had, the mother of all mankind "saw that the [forbidden] tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat" (Genesis 3:6). They had heeded the advice of a disqualified teacher (Satan). They speculated, they experimented with their lives at stake, and came to an utterly wrong conclusion.
   A series of steps follow that show imagination in action once more. Adam and Eve now looked at life with a guilty conscience for they knew that they had done wrong. Shame took over and "they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made aprons" (verse 7). They were able to visualize clothing and then fashion it; they too were creators!
   More imagination follows as they give their Creator a rather biased account of their actions and easily see (visualize) that the other party was to be blamed. Then lest these creative individuals gain eternal life as habitual evil doers, they were driven from the source of Eternal Life. They would have to learn obedience first before that chance to live forever would again be given.

Jesus Claims Adam as a Son

   "I am the root and offspring of David... I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last" (Revelation 22:16, 13). Not only was Jesus descended from King David, but He was also David's earliest ancestor in that He had been a member of the Creating Team (Elohim) and had participated in the creation of Adam and Eve.
   Repeating from Luke 3:23-38, "Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God." In Genesis 1:26 we found Elohim as the Creator, "And God [Elohim] said, Let us make man in our image." Nearly 4,000 years later a member of this Elohim was born to Mary, a descendant of King David. Thus He (Jesus) was both "root and offspring of David"!
   Isaiah repeats this same theme, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given... his name... The mighty God, the everlasting Father ..." (Isaiah 9:6). Again in Malachi 1:6 we find that the Creator of mankind is termed man's father, "if.... I be a father, where is mine honour?... saith the Lord of hosts" and in 2:10, "Have we not all one father; hath not one God created us?..."
   In recognizing Jesus' claim to be the ancestor of Adam, we must not forget that He was not alone in that creation of man. His existence from the beginning as God with the One we now know as the Heavenly Father is attested to in John 1:1,2: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... All things were made by him...." Both individuals, the Ones known as the Father and the Son, participated in creation.
   Note the introduction to the book of Hebrews, "God... hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son... by whom also he made the worlds." Or again in Ephesians 3:9, "... God, who created all things by Jesus Christ."
   The parentage of the human race is thus clear. It is from the Creator God Family that we have inherited our creativity!

How to Use the Gift of Creativity

   Creativity is interesting; creativity is fun. It is an attribute possessed by man alone among all the earthly life forms.
   Let geologist Crandall express the joy he experiences in putting that talent to use searching out ways to bring petroleum to the surface from deep in the earth: "Science and art and any creative activity are essentially fun. They are enjoyable to the practitioner. Exploration is like a game — the more difficult, often the more enjoyable and sweeter the success."
   Unguided, that same creative talent has brought untold misery to mankind. Properly used in line with God's revealed laws for human behavior, creativity brings untold blessings.
   Children must be taught the proper use of their imaginative, innovative minds. Thus God said of the descendants of Abraham: "I know [Abraham], that he will command his children... they shall keep the way of the Lord... that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him" (Genesis 18:19). Without that teaching, Abraham's children would turn their imaginations to wicked ways also, and would not be a blessing to the rest of mankind.
   Creativity then was a gift of our Creator. It was a free gift, intended to be possessed in conjunction with eternal life. With the opportunity for eternal life made possible for mankind through Jesus Christ and the Spirit from the Father, all mankind once more will have access to the promises made to Adam and Abraham.
   Mankind, the sole possessors of this talent of creativity, has yet to be united in a Father-Son relationship, a Husband-Bride relationship and an Older Brother-Younger Brother relationship.
   Dust and ashes will be changed to spirit and thus man, born again, will have an opportunity to use this creativity forever.

Back To Top

Plain Truth MagazineSeptember 1980Vol 45, No.8ISSN 0032-0420
|  Fundamental Doctrines of the Church of God  |  Comments or Suggestions?  |  FAQ  |   Holy Day Information   |   Site Map   |   Donations   |
|  Sabbath & Holy Day Services   |   Weekly Bible Study Services   |   Video Groups   |   2016 Feast of Tabernacles   |
Follow Us: HWALibrary - Mobile Site
Copyright © 2016 Herbert W Armstrong Library
Important Notice

Please Note:

The address and phone number for the Worldwide Church of God given for material are no longer valid for obtaining the material offered in booklets, magazines, telecast and radio broadcast.

HWALibrary.com has all material offered on this site 100% free. You do not need to call or mail your requests, simply do a search for the material offered on our site.

The Worldwide Church of God dissolved after Mr. Armstrong's death in January 1986.

Visit our FAQ page for instructions on downloading audio and video files.

Sabbath Services

Sabbath Services:

Hello, and welcome to our Sabbath and Holy Day service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Services are posted every Sabbath or Holy Day. Our service consists of 3 hymns, a Sermonette, a hymn, the Sermon and a final hymn.

Continue to the Sabbath Service page.

Bible Study Services

Bible Study:

Hello, and welcome to our Bible Study service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Bible Study services are posted each Wednesday. Our service consists of an opening hymn, a Bible Study and a final hymn.

Continue to the Bible Study Service page.