Some of the children scribbled wildly on large, white sheets of paper. Others wrote. A few even made lists. They’d been given the task of creating their own world, governed by its own principles and laws, with citizens or members who had a history to reflect on and a future to anticipate.
The teacher walked around the classroom, examining drawings and reading. He didn’t ask any questions. A boy was sketching one of the creatures that inhabited his planet, Ginomai. It was green, had four arms and four legs, surrounding a giant face with three eyes, a nose and a mouth. Each hand had seven fingers. The next student had a list:
1- No gravity
2- One Sun, four moons
3- No school
4- No laws
The teacher laughed, knowing that his student greatly enjoyed freedom. Clearly, he desired more of it. Other children elaborated on worlds filled with jungles and giant herds of made-up animals. A few included platypodes and unicorns.
The kids were left to their imagination’s desires. Their instructor didn’t give them much to work with- they were just told to create their own world. He wasn’t surprised at the forms that showed up. Nearly everything was recognizable, even if it had been tweaked in one way or another. These kids’ imaginations had been fueled by what they knew- the stuff of their memories. Elements that reflected or resisted their everyday lives were showing up in an activity that did not require it.
★ ★ ★
Are memories a necessity to imagination? Researchers have argued for and against our cognition’s reliance on recollection. But we haven’t really a blank human to test- if so, they wouldn’t possess the language to explain what their minds could generate (language acquisition itself likely would have disqualified a person from any such test anyway).
This has left me wondering about the connection between imagination and revelation (a scary point for any semi-conservative Christian, including myself). Are they connected? And if so, does memory play a role in the process by which The Almighty makes Himself known?
The good news is that God doesn’t need language to communicate. Or at least, going with the whole omnipotent deal that He has going, it’s safe to assume that he doesn’t need words to tell others about Himself. Words are nothing more than symbols, so does he need any of those? Probably not.
Jesus frequently quoted the Old Testament as He taught. Paul referred to it as well. Our Savior said of the Holy Ghost, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
So, the Spirit of Christ will speak to us what Jesus has already said- isn’t that most likely the Bible? Isn’t Christ the Word? Is it possible to “fertilize the soil” in order to get more revelation? Of course. Reading the Word of God gives one more to talk about with the Holy Spirit, who will (through prayer) connect more pieces of it together in one’s mind (memory and imagination).
Am I reducing a mystery to a process in which we have some control? Of course not, but if we want to get to know someone, we have to spend time trying, don’t we? My friends, I think I may have just come up with the most complicated argument for personal devotions. You’re welcome, now get to it!