Blog - Doing Earthwork
God as WriterMonday, April 28, 2014
For many of us, the urge to write barely survived English class with its five hundred or thousand-word assignments. But the world of emails, blogs, and tweets has revived the itch to author. Today, although not everyone is "a scribe by trade” [as in "The Love of God” by F. M. Lehman], most try their hand (or thumbs) at writing.
Even back when he wrote Ecclesiastes, the "Teacher” observed that, "There’s no end to the publishing of books” (Eccl. 12:12, The Message). The end is still nowhere in sight. Bowker, the company that issues International Standard Number Identifiers (INSI), reports 1.76 million new book titles and editions in 2012—up more than 611 percent from just a decade earlier.
Across the centuries methods have changed dramatically. Writers have made their marks on cave walls, animal skins, wood, stone, papyrus, parchment, paper, and electronic screens. To leave those marks, they have used styluses, quill pens, wooden pencils, ball point pens, fountain pens, and word processors. While the tools have given way to better ones, the urge to communicate by the written word has remained a human constant.
Novelists, playwrights, and other professional writers aren’t the only ones involved in pumping out the artesian stream of written words. In the contemporary world of work, countless jobs require employees to write—memos, letters, reports, policies, procedures, proposals, speeches, and so on.
At least 39 authors are said to have penned the 66 books of the Bible. God specifically ordered Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, and John to "write.” Much later, Martin Luther is reported to have said: "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”
What do the following all share? The Bible. The U.S. Constitution. Collective bargaining agreements. Freeway signs. Birth, marriage, and death certificates. Divorce decrees. Insurance policies. Traffic tickets. Genealogical records. Supreme Court decisions. And business plans. They’re all preserved in written words. If it weren’t for the work of writers, life on earth as we know it would be impossible.
As in other areas of our work, the inclination and skill to write reflects the fact that we are made in the likeness of God, the quintessential writer. Scripture says the tablets of stone containing the Law were "inscribed by the finger of God” (Ex. 31:18). The writing, as Exodus 32:16 explains, "was the writing of God.” Jesus, the God-Man, wrote on the ground. God, the writer, imprints his truth not only in stone and dust but on hearts: ""I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts” (Jer. 31:33).
What bird, cow, or fish has ever written a news story? Which cat or dog ever penned a novel? Why have chimpanzees not produced their own anthologies of apehood? This honor and ability to write—whether that is our work or our play—was given only to those made in the image of our writing Creator.