It seemed that when man was fully alive, full restored and free, built up in the life of God, and living from it, he was building and creating. Reflecting the image of God that was most deeply him. The first image we have of God in Genesis is a creator. He creates a world. Filled with beauty of sunsets, and greens, and blues of radiant shine. He creates us, and breathes the image of him in us. The seventh day of creation is explained as a day of rest for God from all his creating. He created so much, he needed a break. And so how might we reflect that image of God the most?
It was doing just that, creating. His first commands to Adam is to rule, and reign. Subdue all the animals.
Dallas Willard explains his command is to build cities and homes.
It was creating in the physical sense, of bridges, and buildings, and fine wooden desks, along with building in the spiritual sense of community, and relationships, and in people. It seemed the mark of God was creation. And the mark of man doing God’s work in the world was bringing this upon places, and people. Creating and co-laboring this with him.
It seemed that the opposite. Destruction. Was the exact mark of evil. The falleness of man, has something else in our hearts. Not the mark of creating, but the stain of destroying.
A seminary professor, Dan Allender, says that “evil can’t create.” He is in himself a created thing, and has not the ability to offer this gift. His offer instead, is destroying creation. Destroying the image of God, and how we were meant to live that out.
This made more sense after talking to a man in town named Jim Henkle who told me about a program he created for young men. He takes young men straight out of jail, and into jobs, keeping them from the streets and more trouble. He pointed to the window at the coffee shop we were sitting, near us and said, “the same feeling a guy gets in putting this window in, these young men feel in destroying it, putting a rock through the glass.”
In the Movie Fight Club, Tyler Durden in his rage over his life says simply, “I want to destroy something beautiful.”
If all this was true, than the feelings of creation and destroying were almost the same. It made sense, creation and destruction were very closely linked. And how even evil’s offer was a pretty good option. It gave us the feeling of power, the sense of building something, but allowed our anger and violence to play out.
I want to create. I want to make something beautiful. And draw people to good things, but often, in the frustration of things not going well, or how I wanted. I want to do the opposite. How many legos sets did I get so close to finishing, only to rip apart in frustration over a few small pieces. There was this fine line of wanting to build, and just blowing the whole thing up.
I want to destroy the thing I am building.
It seemed that most of our life, in a broken, and unhealed place, was anger. That anger, didn’t take us to making things beautiful, but destroying those things. I related to those young men throwing rocks through windows. At its core, pornography, the drug of choice for so many of us men has those same traits. We get to use our violence, and anger, to destroy something beautiful. Instead of honoring, and building up, we mar, and violate the thing we were meant to protect.
I seemed to be a man of two things. Destruction. And creating. One minute I was making something wonderful, the next, I was throwing a rock through it. It kinda feels like being at a beach. There is a great sense of accomplishment in building a giant sand castle. But at the same time, there is something similarly powerful in taking a full dive into a sand castle already built.
It seemed the key was understanding them. And how evil was pulling on us away from that place. The man working with the young men I spoke with said, his goal was to get the young men to experience the same feeling of destroying a window, by teaching them how to install one. The idea was simple. Move from that anger, and destruction, to building.