Is the imagination a good thing? Biblical evidence?

(SeanO) #1

@angelina_Edmonston asked this question in response to my post on the imagination.

Specifically, she asked if there were any Bible verses that point to the imagination as being good.

Since I am swamped with work - I was going to open up the floor.

What do you guys think? Any Biblical arguments for the value of the imagination?

(Carson Weitnauer) #2

@Angelina_Edmonston, What an interesting and good question! First, let’s consider a simple definition of imagination: “the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.”

I think the Bible cultivates our imagination in many ways. For instance, to read the poetry of the Psalms, or the vivid details of the historical narratives, or the animated language of the prophetic writings inevitably requires the reader to use their imagination.

Perhaps my favorite verse on the imagination is Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” This seems to be a robust, even thorough encouragement to use our minds to think about all kinds of ideas and situations that are good.

(angelina Edmonston) #3

1Ch 29:18 O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee…

This is the only scripture I had understood where the actual word imagination was used to the good. I see what you mean though from Philippians…

In looking up the other passages they were called evil.

Of course I am reflecting what I have learned from various teachers. What I am seeing is there is a balance in everything. this walk out of legalism is a real eye opener and not as black and white as I was taught.

Thanks for you patience with me.

(Melvin Greene) #4

It seems to me that some of the most brilliant Christian thinkers that I’ve read have a well developed imagination. Some that come to mind are C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, George MacDonald, Max Lucado, Ted Decker and Frank Peretti. I think God gave us imaginations to help us to understand deep spiritual things. Jesus himself used imagination when he spoke in parables. Imagination is also used in the writing of poetry and songs, and in creating beautiful works of art. But, just like everything else, we have to be very careful with what we feed our imaginations with. As much as imagination is a gift, it can also be twisted into a curse.

(Helen Tan) #5

The ability to imagine is unique to us humans. It facilitates a panoramic view of our past, present and future for us to be able to appreciate what God has done, is doing and preparing for us. It’s a place where God connects with us to give us pictures and visions. Abraham was given pictures of his descendants being like the sand on the seashore and stars in the sky as God was promising him descendants. The changing of the names of Abram and Sarai was done towards the same goal. As @Melvin_Greene pointed out, Jesus painted pictures for us - The parable of the Prodigal Son puts together so much for us in one story.

Ephesians 3:20-21(NIV): Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. I think that ‘things hoped for’ lie in the realm of the imagination. As such, hope comes about within the faculty of the imagination, without which, we can’t ‘see’ what we can hope for.

I think that it is as we harness this gift and submit it to the authority of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word that we will see that which is prophesied in Joel 2:28:
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.

(Jennifer Judson) #6

My reply is general rather than pointing to specific Biblical references. First let me say I agree with all the previous posts, they are excellent responses.

I am an artist. Though there are times I covet gifts I do NOT possess in abundance, like musical ability or a great memory, I always come back to gratitude that God blessed me to be an artist. That He placed within me a desire to create, which I share with Him who created me and all around me. I am constantly overwhelmed that an all-powerful God chooses to gift to us parts of His own character and attributes. He wants us to know the wonder of creating, so He gave us an imagination.

I think imagination is neutral as far as being good or bad. It’s a gift/tool used by a heart and mind that is either fixed on good and the things of God or fixed on more corrupt pursuits. I think the same can be said of all the gifts we are blessed with. It’s how we use them that reveals the attitude of our heart.