We the Sub-Creators

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The following is an excerpt from my book, Faith and the Imagination! Be sure to get your own copy if you haven’t already!

My favourite author of all time (tied with his long-time friend, C.S. Lewis), Jonathan Ronald Reuel (J.R.R.) Tolkien, developed a theory that was true at the world’s inception and will remain so until its appointed end. That theory is Sub-Creation. Tolkien’s theory, simply put, is the ability of humanity to sub-create in the image and likeness of their Creator. I believe in the truth of this theory and if embraced, the many possibilities and potentialities that can come from it.

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Sub-Creators by Nature

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”…. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26, 27)

This is the original purpose of man: to look and act like God on earth. Therefore, by nature, we are gods. Please hear me out before you burn me for a heretic! When the physician-apostle Luke listed the genealogy of Christ for Theophilus, he listed Christ’s bloodline all the way up to Adam, then God.

Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:38)

This is not the “Son of God” in the sense that Jesus is, rather the “son of God” as the angels are: glorious created beings with the breath of God in us. We are the sons of God and thus, little gods just as the early Christians were called “little Christs”; not Christ themselves, but presumably, the image and likeness of Christ in the earth.

Furthermore, the Psalmist backs this claim up.

I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.” (Psalm 82:6)

He, prophetically, equates the children of the Most High (humans) with gods themselves. We do not reside on Olympus, neither are we demi-gods (half-gods), but again, we are the offspring of God. Therefore, as the “children of the Most High,” “son(s) of God,” are we not then expected and required to reflect our Source of life in our own spheres of influence? The answer is absolutely yes.

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Sub-Creators by Mandate

When King David described humans as “gods” he goes on to say this:

I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.  But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.” (Psalm 82:6-7)

He declares man’s divinely royal heritage and in the same breath, their eternal doom.  But why does he do this? Excellent question.

Just the other “sons of God,” the angels, left their “former estate” in Jude 1:6, we too forget and leave our former estates (mandates, positions) when we fail to -create in the world.

When God created us, it was a sovereign act of His unfathomable dominion. He created the universe and beyond to rule, yet as the Ultimate Father, gifted us with the rule of Earth.

The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men. (Psalm 115:16)

In His first and eternal mandate to humanity, God entrusted us with the dominion and authority to rule over the earth and thus, sub-create.

Then God said…”Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  ….Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)

In our spheres of influence, we are to look and act like God: we are to have dominion over everything on the earth accept human beings themselves. And we are to not only have dominion over it, but to “be fruitful and multiply” it. Enter sub-creation.

Sub-Creators by Gift & Ability

Sub-creation, fruitfulness, multiplication—whatever term you like—is not merely procreation. It certainly includes that, yet it is so much more! God created us with the seed(s) of creativity already inside of us to beget not only biological children, but to conceive and beget spiritual children, dynamic inventions, ways to deal with and manage the psyche and emotions, business models, and much, much more (Genesis 1:29-30).

It’s like a Maple Tree: when the seed germinates and grows in the earth it doesn’t just produce roots; it produces the bark to cover the tree trunk, that grows limbs from the trunk, that grows leaves from the limbs, that has sap flowing through it’s veins that winds up as the nectar we smother our waffles and flapjacks with and all of it has the seed to produce millions upon millions of Maple Trees inside itself. Like Maple Trees, we too must flourish and reproduce in the arenas God has planted us in.

A more contemporary example is that of Tolkien himself. The arena God planted this particular man in was language and literature. He flourished and sub-created numerous books, namely The Hobbit and its sequel The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) along with several other accessory novels. Those “accessory novels” encompass The History of Middle-Earth which he also sub-created (Middle-Earth) in the LOTR series. He then sub-created five bona fide languages as a product of those books. And, years later, Peter Jackson, sub-created from Tolkien’s sub-creation the wildly popular LOTR movies series as well as the much-anticipated Hobbit movies in theaters. Movie guides and analyses have been further sub-created by many to serve as accessories and explanations of the movie series.

Sub-creation is something we are not only encouraged to do in life, but made and meant to do. And although it is best executed and appreciated when done from a Christian perspective, the abilities and imagination of God is still very evident in those who may not yet know Him because it is in their nature and because they have managed to connect with their mandate as a human being. So now I ask you: What has God created you to sub-create in the earth? You will never be fulfilled without the completion of that godly mandate.

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The Right to Write

When we as Americans think of our rights, we rarely think of writing. But writing most certainly is an innate right of ours. Merriam-Webster describes a right as,

Qualities (as adherence to duty or obedience to lawful authority) that together constitute the ideal of moral propriety or merit moral approval; something to which someone has a just claim; the power or privilege one is justly entitled to; something that someone may claim as due; the cause of truth or justice. 

You—whoever you are, wherever you’re from—have the duty, claim, power, privilege, and entitlement to write. It is our gift and privilege as human beings to be able to take our thoughts, emotions, wisdom, and advice, record it—either by ourselves or with the help of someone else—and present it to the world.

Writing is Serving

I will refer to a quote which was the basis of my first post “Write to Serve” by author and branding strategist, Marshawn Evans, which states,

“If we look at writing as serving, [it] will probably change our perspective on it.”

We must serve our gifts to the world. What good will keeping it to yourself do? You may not be the number one person in your industry; you may only be a young entrepreneur like myself, but you can help someone. You can encourage someone. You can help someone avoid the mistakes you made along the way. Experience is a great teacher, but sharing wisdom makes you a greater teacher.

What You Love vs. What Serves

Rabbi Daniel Lapin is a wonderful man and author of several books such as Thou Shalt Prosper has a very different spin on entrepreneurship and life than many do. He believes that to tell someone to study and do what makes them happy. Instead, you should serve people by meeting a need and that, in turn, will make you happy.

Take your writing and or entrepreneur giftings, share them, and serve them to your fellow man. You will change someone’s life and be happier than the popular, yet selfish mindset of simply doing what makes you happy. What you feel makes you happy is subject to change; making someone else happy never changes. That is the true pursuit of happiness; not just for you, but for the world. It is your inalienable right.

Be Fruitful & Multiply

Last and most importantly we are commanded to serve our gifts. How? Where? Great question.

A few years ago, I was able to visit Orlando, FL and hear one of my favourite ministers, Bishop Tudor Bismark preach. He taught a new sermon of his entitled “Be Fruitful and Multiply.” In it, he illuminated to us that the first thing God said to [man] after He created us was “be fruitful and multiply.” He also walked through the rest of Genesis up to Jacob’s blessing his son Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Now most people think that “be fruitful and multiply” means to have a lot of babies. And though I do not disagree with the truth of that statement, it does not stop there. We are to multiply in love, kindness, finances, and yes, our gifts.

In the Book of Matthew, Jesus tells a story about a man leaving his servants with talents (money). One had five, another two, and the last one. The first multiplied his talent and when his master returned, was able to give him back ten. The second servant returned four talents to his master. However, the one talent man did not even invest that one; instead, he buried it and returned the single talent to his master.

The master was pleased with what the five-talent and two-talent servants did, so much so that he made them rulers over cities commiserate to their gifts and abilities. However, when the one-talent man faced him, accusing him as a harsh man who takes what isn’t his and so forth and so on, he took the talent, gave it to the one who had five, and threw the man into darkness. (See entire parable in Matthew 25:14-30.)

Let’s look at this story objectively: the men who multiplied their talents were considered faithful and given a reward for their faithfulness. The one who buried his talent had it taken from him, was considered “wicked and lazy”, and was punished.

Some of you may find this unfair. Why should the one-talent man be punished for his fear and returning exactly what he was given? Because seedtime and harvest is a biblical—and logical—law.

Illustration: How would you feel if you invested your money in a bank and at the end of the allotted time, you got back nothing more than what you’d put in in the first place?  You’d be upset.  You’d feel like you wasted your time as well as the investment; you could have put it somewhere else and gotten much more out of it. 

When God created plants and trees and flowers, He did so placing within them the ability to reproduce themselves—to multiply—without Him having to create them all over again (Genesis 1:11). He did the same with the birds, sea creatures, and land animals. Everything created has within it the seed to multiply. Therefore, if we simply maintain what we have, that alone is not acceptable to God.

We are meant to multiply, increase, our talents and gifts. Don’t just limit your writing abilities to your personal journal, launch a blog. Write for a community newspaper.  Start your manuscript—something! It’s the same with the fashionista, the history buff, science “nerd”, and more. Find what your gifts are, no matter how great or small, how popular or obscure—bar anything illegal of course—and serve them. Multiply them.

And guess what? God will bless you! Why would you not want to usurp your God-given right to write, serve people, and make God happy? “Try Him in this” and see if He won’t bless you!

For more information, please check out the following resources: