One of my favorite things to do while sitting in a waiting room or commuting between activities is listen to TED talks. In these talks, noted experts in various fields of study speak about what they have discovered within their specialized area. As a not-so-closet psychology and counseling nerd, I find myself listening to the presentations from speakers in these fields the vast majority of the time. And as a not-so-closet lover of Christ, I find myself listening to these talks wondering how the information can reflect God’s character and purposes.
Recently, I had the chance to listen to Dr. Paul Bloom from Yale University speak about his research on the pleasure center of the brain. In this talk, he asserts that humans have an innate draw toward the original design of things. For example, an original Monet could easily be sold for millions, while a knock off would only sell for a fraction of the cost. Why? Bloom believes that it’s because we are wired biologically to value and find pleasure in the original design produced by the artist. The original art as more valuable since it’s the first of its kind.
He goes on to elaborate that the piece of art itself may or may not be worth that particular sum of money, but we recognize that the true value of the art is what’s behind it – the artist. The original artwork reflects the creative genius of the artist, and it’s that genius that is so valuable. It’s in the original design that the original brilliance of the artist is truly captured. Ultimately, the original art points us back to and speaks to us about the creator. Unique artwork carries a reflection of the artist in some way, and by owning and appreciating his or her original work, you are valuing the person behind the genius.
As I listened to Dr. Bloom, I couldn’t help but think that this says something powerful about God and humanity. When God created man and woman, Genesis 1 tells us that we were made in His image. Specifically, verse 27 repeats three times that we were “created” in His image. This repeated use of “create” helps to emphasize the “Divine original” woven into mankind. This was set apart from the vegetation and animals that had been created before us. We are His original designs, His masterpieces. We were designed separate and special by God from the beginning, and the fact that we carry His image is meant to point us back to Him. We are the living, breathing original artwork of God, and as such, we are capable of reflecting the creative genius of our creator. Like the Monet, this original design ascribes us high value, and God values and loves us so much He was willing to send His son Jesus to die for us.
It’s easy to look at ourselves and lose sight of this value and love, though. The in’s and out’s of daily life, harsh words, and haunted pasts can creep in and tells us lies about the image we carry. The enemy would desire nothing less than to watch God’s reflection be dimmed in some way. But that light isn’t the enemy’s to take. When we walk in the truth that we are God’s masterpieces, we can shift our perspective to see ourselves with the same high valuation deserved by original artwork. It will begin to shift the way we see the people around us, too, as they’re God’s masterpieces as well. Our value comes from our Creator, and nothing we do or have had done to us can take that away.
What do you think? Does realizing that you’re an original design impact you? Do you find it hard to live daily in that truth? Comment below.