Digging deep into the fabric of creation reveals that we are all part of God’s glorious symphony, says Rob Townley
Did you know that everything has a sound? This was apparent a few years ago when NASA took the unusual step of releasing an album. Symphonies of the Planets, recorded by their Voyager spacecraft, captured the distinct sound that each planet in our solar system makes.
In our universe, everything vibrates and has rhythm. The planets can be interpreted as ‘dancing’ too – our solar system is not static; our sun travels at an average speed of 448,000mph, with the planets spiralling around it as if in a dance.
Our universe is an orchestra of creation; a rhythmic extravaganza. “It is a giant red concert,” said Daniel Huber, the astronomer who made the NASA sound recordings. His words are reminiscent of Job’s in the Bible: “When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (38:7, ESV).
Since the very beginning, God has been using sound creatively. Referring to creation, the scriptures say: “He spoke, and it came to be” (Psalm 33:9). And the fact that it was a verbal command, not a thought, is significant.
When we speak, sounds and frequencies are released. By releasing that initial sound, God was able to not only shape our earth, but also the planets, constellations and galaxies that surround us. That sound is still active today; scientists estimate that there are now up to 2 trillion galaxies in existence – and the number is still increasing – proof that our universe is still expanding because of what God spoke into being at the dawn of time.
The American inventor Nikola Tesla once said: “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” The great astrophysicist Albert Einstein added: “Everything in life is vibration.”
The tiniest atoms that make up all matter are in a constant state of vibration. Without that rhythm, humans, animals, plants – and everything that we know – would cease to exist. It’s that rhythm, that wonderful dance, that we have been born into. It is all connected.
There are many reasons why people love music – melody, harmony, rhythm – but, at its root, perhaps it is because it is God’s heartbeat. German musician Joachim-Ernst Berendt explains it like this: “At the root of all power and motion, there is music and rhythm, the play of patterned frequencies against the matrix of time. We know that every particle in the physical universe takes its characteristics from the pitch, pattern, and overtones of its particular frequencies. It is singing. Before we make music, music makes us.”
The sound of Eden
I like to imagine that when God originally released the sound that birthed creation, there was a song involved. I picture the melody to be something like the dawn chorus. Some scientists claim that when birds start singing at dawn, plants and flowers react to their song, unfurling their petals and opening up the stomata – the plant pores that allow photosynthesis to take place. It is as if the whole of creation reacts to the song, just as the whole universe is reacting to that very first song. Every cell, every element, every particle is united, working in harmony.
God has given every living being a voice, and these work together in perfect harmony for our good purposes. For example, certain frequencies can be heard above others. Birds and insects have higher ranges that can be heard over vegetation. Larger land animals use lower tones that can carry along the ground. Whales can communicate in frequencies so low that they are inaudible to the human ear but can travel for thousands of miles under water.
God made us, literally, as instruments, for the explicit purpose of praising him
Orchestras often mimic this structure, layering instruments and their corresponding sounds perfectly to delight the listener with a beautifully balanced overture. In that respect, perhaps we can consider Eden as the original orchestral blueprint. I can’t begin to imagine how vibrant that environment would have been. For Adam, connecting with that environment of pure, uncorrupted sound and colour was perhaps something like synaesthesia – the ability to see colours simultaneously while also hearing the sound. The Eden environment would have been a synergy of sound and colour, merging together in all its majesty and purity.
Unfortunately, over the years, our world has been overrun with machinery and technology, which often dampens down nature and its natural harmonies – sometimes suppressing it to a whisper. But let’s not forget that we are creative beings, part of a divine network. And part of our purpose is to capture what is on God’s heart, and play it, sing it, write it or paint it! However we express our God-given creativity, we have the opportunity to change the environment around us – and potentially, people’s lives – with our voices, with our sound or by using our creative gifts.
A heart connection
Let’s take musicians, for example – they release musical notes and melodies which are, in turn, heard and interpreted by anyone who listens to them. Music is powerful. Research shows that listening to happy, upbeat music causes our brains to produce chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, which evoke feelings of joy. Calming music relaxes the mind and the body.
Music can be powerful enough to affect people’s moods, feelings and health, so imagine what would happen if the person creating it had a strong connection to God’s heart while making that music. They would be able to encapsulate and release it for all to experience. That’s powerful! So powerful, in fact, that it can lead to spiritual and physical healing and restoration. God has given me music for specific people and circumstances on many different occasions, including recently an incredible melody for someone with Parkinson’s disease.
As Christians, it is important that we do not underestimate what God can do through us creatively. Whether you are a poet, writer, photographer, painter, dancer or baker, every creative move we make has the potential to release the heart frequency of God. It is not about the level of our abilities or expertise; it all starts from the heart connection we have with our creator.
Every creative move we make has the potential to release the heart frequency of God
King David operated from this place. Despite his human failings, this enabled him to release what was on the Father’s heart for the nation of Israel. Imagine what David’s enemies must have felt when they heard the sound of his army – the drums, the chanting. He released a sound specifically for the Israelites in that time and place, which came directly from God’s own heart.
David’s relationship with Saul is also a great example of the therapeutic effect of music. I would like to think that as well as David’s knowledge of his instrument, Saul also knew what David carried when he played, and that’s why he was summoned. If we examine his psalms, they reveal praises to God in abundance, but they are also full of creative expression during the darker moments. It’s in these moments that we ourselves still find solace, comfort and understanding. Even today, countless songs are inspired by the message they carry, coming straight from David’s heart as he expressed praise, worship, anguish, sorrow and other emotions.
How to activate your creative gift
1. Understand that you are unique, made in the image of a creative God. Just one note, written word or brushstroke is all that’s needed to get started. So don’t put yourself under too much pressure.
2. Imagine yourself doing it: frame up a future where you’re playing the piano, painting a beautiful picture or writing that book. If you imagine yourself doing something, the neurons in your brain act as if you actually are doing it.
3. Make it easy to be creative: keep paper and pencils in an accessible place. Don’t store your guitar in the loft, have it in view. Make sure you have your phone ready to record the next melody or poem that comes to mind. Carry a sketch pad with you when out walking. Capture those moments of divine inspiration.
4. Connect with nature: take time to stop, look, listen and feel what is going on around you. What colours can you see? What sounds are coming from the trees and the birds, for example? What is making you feel peaceful on your country walk?
5. Get ready: once you declare yourself ‘ready to receive’, it is much easier for creativity to flow. God has so much that he wants to share with us and release through us if we position ourselves to receive. I’ve witnessed some incredible creative flows from people who didn’t think they were creative but made that step of faith.
6. No limits: most importantly, don’t set boundaries on your creativity. Dream big. There are no limits to what he can do through you!
We are the instruments
Many people harbour a desire to play an instrument, paint or write a book that never manifests itself into actual action. I have often heard someone say: “Oh, I wish I could play an instrument”, “I always wanted to write a book” or “I wish I’d taken up photography when I was young”. Those desires are there because God put them there in the first place.
Another excuse is: “Oh, I’m not capable of doing that” but our creative God says otherwise. He made us in his image, so we are more than capable of creating, just as he creates.
Often, we are embarrassed to show our creativity. Singing, for example, seems to really challenge us. But why are we embarrassed to sing, when we show no embarrassment at all in using our voices to talk? It doesn’t help that many of us have experienced years of creative oppression. We live in a world that rewards the academic, but not so much the artistic.
Our universe is still expanding because of what God spoke into being at the dawn of time
Countless reality TV shows ridicule bad singers. Perhaps you have been told that you cannot sing, or sing out of tune. Well, each one of us has a voice. We have wind in our bellies, which passes through our windpipe and over our vocal chords to make a sound. What if we sang instead of spoke? God made us, literally, as instruments, for the explicit purpose of praising him. Psalms 33:3 and 149:1 say “sing to him a new song”, so it’s time to let our voices be heard.
As creative beings, we have an opportunity, every single day, to release what’s on God’s heart. What we create has value, and no matter how small or insignificant you think you may be, or how limited you feel your creative gifts are, for someone it could be priceless. What is the melody for today? What is the sound for your town right now? What is the painting for the person who next walks through your door with a disability or sickness? What is the poem for the friend with a broken heart? Connecting with the wonderful song that is the dance of all creation will lead not only to a deeper walk with God, but also to an insight into God’s creative heart. Because, after all, without a song or a dance, who are we?