The Model for the Creative Process
By Fred Carpenter
Mars Hill was founded in 1977 by Fred Carpenter and Larry Kreider. Together they shared a vision for the potential of ministry through media. In this year, marking the 40th anniversary of Mars Hill Productions, president, Fred Carpenter is taking the time to recount the important lessons God has taught us; lessons that have guided us in ministry and led us into a deeper understanding of His ways.
So, you have heard from the Lord and you believe that you have a “God Idea” that He wants you to implement. Now What?
Having been involved in the producing, writing and directing of film and video for more than 40 years, I have given much thought to the nature of the creative process. Several years ago, I was blessed to come across what I believe to be the best model for the creative process that one could ever find. It continues to shape our approach as a ministry today.
From Dorothy Sayers’ book, The Mind of the Maker, pp. 35-36…
“For every work [or act] of creation is threefold, an earthly trinity to match the heavenly.
First, [not in time, but merely in order of enumeration] there is the Creative Idea, passionless, timeless, beholding the whole work complete at once, the end in the beginning: and this is the image of the Father.
Second, there is the Creative Energy [or Activity] begotten of the Idea, working in time from the beginning to the end, with sweat and passion, being incarnate in the bonds of matter: and this is the image of the Word.
Third, there is the Creative Power, the meaning of the work and its response in the lively soul: and this is the image of the indwelling Spirit.
And these three are one, each equally in itself the whole work, whereof none can exist without the other: and this is the image of the Trinity.”
Let’s take a few moments to look at these three “steps” in the creative process more closely.
The Creative Idea – The very first verse in the Bible reads “1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1. Before we know God as Father, Savior or Comforter, we know Him as Creator. The creative process begins with God. He is indeed, the “genesis” of everything.
It is significant that the word for God in Genesis 1:1, is the Hebrew word, “Elohim.” This is a plural name for God, which tell us the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all involved as God in the creation of the heavens and the earth. Applying Dorothy Sayers’ model, this process of creation began with the “Creative Idea”; the first Person of the Trinity, the Father.
From scripture, we know that no human has seen, or can see the Father (John 6:46). So it is with the “Creative Idea.” When the “Creative Idea” is born in a receptive soul, it is not seen by anyone. It may not even be clearly seen by the one in whom it is born. It is nonetheless very real.
For me, the process of creating a new media project starts with a “God Idea”, or in Sayers’ terminology, the “Creative Idea.” When the idea comes, it is often hard to articulate to others because it does not yet have form and shape, nevertheless, it is very real. I can almost identify with various elements and characteristics of the project as if they already exist, even though the project does not actually exist in time and space. I can almost envision the effect it will have on a viewer, even though no one has yet seen it. Continue reading