I’ve always found the introduction (or “the lede” as they call it in the industry) to be the hardest part of the writing process. How do you hook your readers? How do you build suspense? How do you pique interest? I remember doing timed essays in English class, sitting for the first twenty minutes writing and balling up one failed introductory paragraph after another.
At times, writing feels impossible. It’s a kind of creation ex nihilo–sentences and paragraphs and arguments and stories and illustrations coming into existence on a blank page out of nowhere. Perhaps now is as good a time as any to insert my thesis: God is a writer.
Graceful, I know.
Not quite the way I was hoping to land that plane, but here we are. God is a writer. It’s a no-brainer when you think about it, but perhaps this is the first time you’ve heard it put so starkly. Of course God is an author–and a prolific author at that! Not many can tout a canon of sixty-six books. The Lord didn’t seem to struggle with introductions like I do. No other book in the history of the world has a more iconic introductory statement: “In the beginning God…”
Consider that in the first chapter of his book, God goes on to use words to call everything into existence. The whole universe as we know appeared ex nihilo at the sound of God’s perfectly formed sentences. Realities never before conceived danced not just in the realm of possibilities but in concrete realities. We, brothers and sisters, we the human race are the product of God’s words.
We often ponder how the attributes of God are meant to shape who we are as his creatures. The universe is filled with beings whose telos–whose goal, purpose, and end–is to respond to their Maker with glorious refrain. How are we meant to respond to the obvious truth that our Creator is a writer?
We are meant to be readers.
If God is a writer, then our most basic response as creatures who give him glory is to be readers. God has gifted only one species of creatures with the ability to speak, to communicate with words, and to read his Word. Surely, if our God is by nature a writer, he has created us by nature to be readers.
Obviously, this means we are meant to be readers of God’s Word. He calls relationship into existence with his creatures through his Word. We become the children of God through the mediation of The Word, Jesus Christ (John 1:11-14). We give God glory as we respond to what he has written–by reading it.
We are also meant to be readers of human authors. God has created us not only to have communion with Him but also with one another. It’s no accident that all of the Scriptures come to us through pens wielded by human hands. Reading teaches us to listen closely to others. Reading provides perspective from centuries past that help us magnify the God who is writing all of history. Reading cultivates in us compassion and understanding for those different from us–helping us to overcome the smug self-righteousness that defensively retorts, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)
We are meant to be writers.
In God’s grand introductory paragraphs, he makes one thing clear about us:
“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.”
We are meant to reflect who God is. If God is a writer, we reflect his image when we write. Certainly, our words do not carry the same power that the word of God does: “[My word] shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11). Our words cannot call a universe into existence, but God never intended them to. Certainly our writing shows plainly that we are not God; however, it also shows plainly that we are made in the image of God.
Our written words create worlds in the imagination. Our written words craft compelling narratives never before told. Our written words communicate ideas and thoughts. Our written words cultivate relationships with others and shape culture. All of these reflect the God who made us.
God is a writer. Which means at least two things: we are meant to read and we are meant to write. This has astounding implications for us as parents, teachers, and neighbors. When we teach others to read and write, we are not simply giving them tools for a successful life. We are helping them to most fully glorify God and enjoy him forever.
Pick up God’s Word and make time to read our Great Author. Pick up a fun novel or an arduous historical non-fiction or a comic book. Pick up a pen and write a letter to a friend this week. Become a reader. Become a writer. Be who God made you to be.