We Are All Creatives

Stop saying, “I’m just not the creative type!” To be created in the image of our Creator God is to be creative. We might be creative in different ways, but we are all creative. From artist to accountant, musician to miner, poet to parking attendant, we are all created beings who are creative beings. To be human is to be creative.

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As image bearers of a Creator God, we are all “creatives.” So, stop saying “I’m just not creative!”

Andrew Peterson, the award-winning singer-songwriter and author, struggles to hide his annoyance when describing the tendency of some people to define themselves as “not a creative type” or worse, elevate themselves, or pedestalize others as being extra-special “Creatives”. This is an idea that he has faithfully repeated in talks all over the country.

“We serve a Creator, with a capital C. One of the ways in which we’ve been made in his image is that we also delight in creating… That means everyone on earth could justly label themselves a Creative. That means that even if you don’t wear hipster glasses, skinny jeans, and have Justin Bieber hair, you’re a Creative. It means that even if you’re a banker, a produce manager, or a doctor you’re a Creative. So, allow me to reclaim that hijacked adjective, for the good of the world. None of us in this room is a Creative. But all of us are creative.” [1]

The Creativity Myth

IDEO founder and Stanford d.school creator David Kelley and his brother Tom Kelley, IDEO partner and author, two of the leading experts in design, innovation, and creativity on the planet also challenge this assumption that there are “creative types”. In their bestselling book on creativity, Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All, they show through case studies and practical research that each and every one of us is creative.

The brothers ask, “When you hear the word “creativity,” what do you think of next? If you are like many people, your mind immediately leaps to artistic endeavors like sculpture, drawing, music, or dance. You may equate “creative” with “artistic.” You may believe that architects and designers are paid to be creative thinkers, but CEOs, lawyers, and doctors are not. Or you may feel that being creative is a fixed trait, like having brown eyes—either you’re born with creative genes, or you’re not. As brothers who have worked together for thirty years at the forefront of innovation, we have come to see this set of misconceptions as “the creativity myth.” It is a myth that far too many people share. [Our] book is about the opposite of that myth. It is about what we call “creative confidence.” And at its foundation is the belief that we are all creative.” [2]

We Are All “SubCreators”

J.R.R. Tolkien recognized this inherent, God-given creativity in each of us, by his invention of the term subcreator. Our wildly creative God makes us like Him and in so doing allows us to refract the light of His creative glory, each in our own God-ordained way, but creative, nonetheless. It is our right—we have authority granted us from our Creator to subcreate after Him—and we can “use or misuse” this creative capacity. We make in the manner in which we were made. [3]

To Be Human is to Be Creative

From both a secular standpoint and a Biblical, theological framework, it seems clear that creativity is part of the way we are wired. To be human is to be creative.

This means that all of us, from artist to accountant, musician to miner, poet to parking attendant, we are all created beings who are creative beings. It’s a very narrow, and ultimately unhelpful, definition of creativity that views stereotypical “artistic” activities like applying paint to a canvas or inscribing words on a page or strumming strings to vibrate the air as the only real “creative pursuits” when our multifaceted and multidimensional Creator God has Himself created such a width and depth and breadth of created being to image His creativity in different ways.

Waterfalls, porcupines, shooting stars, a twisty-knotted oak tree, turtles, DNA, the Sahara Desert, dolphins, a spider’s web, the Rocky Mountains, leopards, the Aurora Borealis, and the shoebill stork all reflect back in some different but similar way about God’s creativity. This is true in Creation and true of each of us. The electric guitar player and the engineer are both needed to construct the already, not yet Kingdom and play a part in ushering in shalom.

I am a creative being. You are a creative being. We are all creative beings.

Discover How You Can Create for Change

More than voting. More than arguing on social media. Committing to real cultural change requires so much more. Discover your creative calling today.

[1] Andrew Peterson Everybody’s a “Creative”: A Rabbit Room Rant June 14, 2012 (Last Accessed September 11, 2019) https://rabbitroom.com/2012/06/everybodys-a-creative-a-rabbit-room-rant/

[2] Tom Kelley, David Kelley Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Confidence Within Us All Random House October 15, 2013 p 1

[3] J.R.R. Tolkien, Tree and Leaf; Smith of Wootton Major; The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth


Joel Ohman

Joel Ohman is a serial tech entrepreneur, author, and the chief creator at Created for Change. You can connect with Joel at JoelOhman.com or via LinkedIn.