Looking to the work of the Master can help enhance our own creativity.
Everything Was Created Spiritually Before It Was Created Physically
And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word. (Moses 3:7)
There are many scriptural sources of the initial spiritual creation of all things. The importance of a plan is apparent in this fact. Nothing was thrown together haphazardly. Every blade of grass, every insect, every tree and flower, and every one of us were fully realized first in spirit and then in flesh.
In our own creative works, taking the time to plan allows us to test ideas, work out the kinks, and define the best solution before we begin the actual creation. We save time, energy, and money—and end up with a better product. Planning allows us to make mistakes without fear and to refine the best ideas while letting the weak ones fade away.
The Lord Used Patterns in Creation
That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. (D&C 76:24)
And that he created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them. (D&C 20:18)
The Lord created worlds without number. He created man in His own image. These are only two of the many patterns that are spoken of in the scriptures. The Lord recognized that patterns would help us to know the path that leads us back to Him.
In our creative work, patterns can create efficiencies, form consistencies, and reduce the complexity of creation. As application designers and builders, we utilize patterns to help users grasp the concept of an application and lower the learning curve by providing mental models with which they are familiar. We are in effect leading them to the desired ends, allowing users to easily find a certain piece of information, to read or to learn, or to work more efficiently.
Everything Created Has a Purpose
For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:18)
It’s hard for me to look at a spider or a mosquito and agree that they have a purpose on this earth. But the preceding scripture testifies that nothing was put here that doesn’t serve some purpose, however small that purpose may be. Everything has value; the Lord created it as such. It gives us an opportunity to think of how we treat others—human, animal, or otherwise—and how we appreciate our surroundings.
The creative works we bring forth can be much more meaningful if there is some purpose to them. Whether it is a beautiful painting meant to inspire, a delicate vase created to hold flowers for a loved one, or a Web application designed to connect old friends, we can bring real value when we have purpose and meaning in our creations. Some of my most treasured possessions are the handmade artifacts that come from my wife and two young daughters. These are the kinds of things that bring joy to our souls. It’s easy to make something “just because,” but I feel it is more fulfilling to create something with purpose.
Everything Was Created to Be Pleasant in the Sight of Man
And out of the ground made I, the Lord God, to grow every tree, naturally, that is pleasant to the sight of man; and man could behold it. And it became also a living soul. For it was spiritual in the day that I created it; for it remaineth in the sphere in which I, God, created it, yea, even all things which I prepared for the use of man; and man saw that it was good for food. And I, the Lord God, planted the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and also the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Moses 3:9)
The colors, shapes, and forms that make up our environment are meant to be pleasing. We can look to the beauty of nature to help us solve creative problems. While it’s true that beauty is subjective, the Lord created things to be beautiful in their own way, and we can follow that same principle as we create. Beauty serves to invite and inspire; it makes our creations desirable and collectible, whether by us or someone else.
The Lord Was Happy with His Creations
And I, God, created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind; and I, God, saw that all things which I had created were good. (Moses 2:21)
I am certain we have looked back on some of our own creations and wondered, “What was I thinking?” The Lord gives great counsel by accepting His creations and calling them good. We shouldn’t build something to tear it down; we shouldn’t rush through something just to get it done. Instead we should be patient, thorough, and detail-oriented and do it right the first time. That way, when we are finished, we can step back, truly admire our creations, and call them good.
Everything existed spiritually before it was created physically. This invites us to plan our work before we execute to ensure we are making the right thing. The Lord used patterns, and we can also make use of them to be more efficient, to create consistency, and reduce the complexity of creation. Everything the Lord created had a purpose, and by being purposeful ourselves we can have true meaning and value in the things we develop. The Lord placed value in aesthetics; beauty can help our creations to be more inspiring. The Lord was happy with the work He did, and we should have satisfaction in the things we create as well. If we look to the work of the Master, we can enhance our own creativity, whether in our own personal creations or as we do the work of the Lord.
Richard Moore is a design manager for the Church.