Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Imagination, Creativity & Memory

C. S. Lewis says about imagination in "Bluspels and Flalansferes", "...reason is the natural organ of truth; imagination is the natural organ of meaning". He makes these two statements equal, syntactically as well as semantically. It is not enough, Lewis is claiming, to have reason; we also need imagination, for without it we do not have a clue as to what truth means. Imagination is part of our Imago Dei, we imagine because God imagined, we create because God created, we create because it is within our nature to imagine. The capacities of the mind enable us to envision and project into the future, to play out scenarios, to construct new and unique paradigms of reality, to cast...

There is within imagination the opportunity for fear or faith. Life without risk does not exist, we can make decisions based on faith, imagination exercised towards a belief in God; [Psalm 3:3"...but You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head." Psalm 94:14 "For the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance." Eccles. 11:1 "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days."] or we can make decisions based on fear, imagining the worst case scenario, envisioning the possible negative consequences of our actions, and in this activity as well determining via imagination our concept of God and the subsequent expectations of His reaction and provision. Imagination is creative, however creativity is limited by the viewpoint of the individual, the perception, the range of vision, the differing and varied angles of observation predetermined by memory.

It is in this aspect that memory and imagination have there link. What is it that you see? How do you see God? What expectations do you have of relationship? What does result; resolve; effort; reward; look like?

Normal human experiences would not exist were it not for memory. There would exist no past and from that there would exist a very restricted present. Memory serves as "the storehouse of the imagination", empowering and/or enslaving.

Memory can grip life with reality remembered, it can possess the soul with fears relived, it can grasp the heart with recollections of abandonment, abuse and loss. In imagination enslaving memory taints and colors future prospects with monotones and shades of gray, lack of color is predominant because the vibrant hues of life are shadowed by the darkening effects of recall.

Memory holds in its grasp redemption, rescue and recovery. Subsequent to the previous paragraph redemptive memory becomes the process of the change of memory from that which enslaves to that which liberates. "Imaginative memory not only stores for us the passing moments of perception; it also transfigures, distances, vivifies, defangs—reshapes formed impressions, turns oppressive immediacies into wide vistas . . ." This description sounds like the work of the healing, life-giving, life-transforming God who makes no mistakes, has no castoffs or leftovers among people. The elemental construction and perception of life is formed by experience and the subsequent associated memory. Most of us have no sense of the immensity of this construction, or the development of our perception, these experiences are performed seamlessly, unconsciously, thousands of times every day, at a glance or without conscious thought as to the memory formed.

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."
Psalm 22:9-10 But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother's breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother's womb You have been My God.
Psalm 71:6 By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother's womb. My praise shall be continually of You.
Job 31:15 Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?
Psalm 139:13-14 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.
Eccles. 11:5 As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything.

Life involves risk and opportunity, fear and faith, hope and pain, love and loss, we have no guarantees, the consequences of life are not within our power to determine, they are within our power to accept. We can choose our reactions and the succeeding decisions.

Our paradigm of God must include one overriding, distinguishing, characteristic -LOVE- and with this characteristic of God fully understood, in knowledge, in heart and in spirit; replete with acceptance of the polarized shift from the safety of coagulated thinking to a radical memory that must be captivated, transported, transfigured, converted in order that it will be able to handle the new, imaginative system of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a released and liberated way of viewing reality.

LOVE 1 John 4:7-12 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. The truth is, love gives life meaning. The memory of pain and suffering must be replaced by a memory of God,a vision of the Father, who is unable to do or act apart from love. In this lies hope and condemnation, in that the ability to love is a prerequisite to the knowledge of God, regardless of what prior circumstance, situation or relationship has critically, censoriously or exactingly shaped our outlook towards God. A dysfunctional life existence makes it difficult to believe, based on memory, that there is a possibility to live life loved, to understand a love that is free, unconditional, astonishing; to understand a love overwhelming and engulfing; to be free to be swept into the depths of a love of simplicity and purity without regard for merit, reciprocity, or fear of reprisal. There is no claw-back with God, only the deepening relationship of a father, who loves his children with a love and devotion unfathomably profound.
1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello. This is a stunning reflection on the imagination and memory.
I am working on a paper on this very theme, the role of the imaginative memory in provoking faith, and I wonder if you could tell me what the source of the following quote is:
"Imaginative memory not only stores for us the passing moments of perception; it also transfigures, distances, vivifies, defangs—reshapes formed impressions, turns oppressive immediacies into wide vistas . . ."

Thanks so much for your wonderful meditation.
you can email me at