By Teena Myers
The Oxford Dictionary defines inspiration as “The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative.” The synonyms offered with the definition are fascinating. Creativity, originality, insight, genius, and inspiration are interchangeable words. A Google search tells me inspiration comes from each other, the beauty of nature, or simple experiences.
The secular view of inspiration and where it comes from differs from Christian inspiration. There is an ongoing debate between me and a friend who likes a Christian band that changes the words of secular songs to reflect Christian ideas.
Back to the USSR by the Beatles became Back in the New Testament.
Walk this Way by Areosmith became Walk His Way.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison became Every Crown Has Its Thorn.
More than a Feeling by Boston became More Than a Healing.
Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin became Narrow Way to Heaven.
The Parody of these songs fits within the secular idea of inspiration, one person inspiring another. The Christian musicians are clever, and their rewrites of the lyrics humorous. Their parodies contain a measure of creativity, but where is the originality? Is that the best a Christian can do? Use music and words written by secular musicians, some drug addicts who wrote their music under the influence of narcotics, and change their words to communicate Christian ideas.
We might admire a writer that inspires us to be a better writer or to be like that writer, but will that give us originality? Secular inspiration puts a new spin on old ideas. God given inspiration is original thought. The Old Testament records the words of prophets moved by the Holy Ghost to reveal God’s plans (2 Peter 1:21). They gave us thoughts about God that we could not have conceived on our own.
The character of the Pagan gods created in human imagination possessed the same flawed character as humanity. Zeus cheated on his wife with twenty women and one man, most without their consent. Humanities ideas about God never rose to the level of conceiving a faithful, loving God who sacrificed to benefit his worshippers and give them a light burden and easy yoke.
The Bible is complete. But does that mean God stopped giving inspiration to his people? Is it too hard for God to inspire us with insight into creative original thought? Do we need a high IQ to possess the thoughts of a genius if a genius is speaking his thoughts to our hearts?
God gave us his Spirit, so we can know his thoughts (1 Cor. 2:11-13). In context, Paul meant God’s Spirit will reveal to us the things God has prepared for us that we cannot imagine. Paul also said spiritual thoughts become spiritual words.
The presence of God that inhabits his words became clear when I attended a writing group. I could not find a Christian group that met in the city, so I joined a secular group that met in a bookstore. We handed out printed copies of what we wanted critiqued to each member of the group. The members wrote comments and made proofreading corrections. The following week we held a group discussion about each submission and returned it to the author.
At one meeting, an agnostic author returned my submission and said, “I am sorry about the crayon all over your paper, I caught my son coloring on it.”
“That’s Ok, no problem,” I replied.
He stared at me and said, “When I took your paper away from him, he told me the paper was about Jesus. How did he know that?”
“He probably saw the word Jesus when he was coloring.”
“NO,” he said, “You don’t understand. My son is four years old. He doesn’t know how to read. How did he know your paper was about Jesus?”
He asked a good question that I did not know how to answer. Today, I would have told him when God inspires a person to write something his presence rest upon it.
The difference between secular inspiration and Christian inspiration is the presence of God’s Spirit that inhabits the words he inspired us to write.