We have now arrived at the fourth installment of our series on comparing divine and artistic creativity. In previous posts, Part II and Part III, I considered two different theological approaches to human creativity. The first roots creativity in the structure of humanity, while the latter roots creativity in the function of humanity. The first is concerned with what humans are, and the second is concerned with what humans do. The third approach – the relational approach – significantly changes the terms of the game.
According to the relational approach, humanity images God when it is in right relation to God. The relational approach encourages one to view the image of God in relation to the image of Christ (imago Christi) because it is in the person and work of Christ that humanity is shown to be in right relationship with God.
We can begin by recognising that in the humanity of Christ, our humanity has been incorporated into the divine life by the Son of God, set free by the Spirit from its debilitating self-obsession, from its self-will and its evasions of the truth, liberated to respond to the Father’s love and his will, and freed to respond appropriately to the created world. Therein lies the very foundation and source of authentic freedom and authentic creativity.
He envisages the artist’s unique role as a “priest of creation”: “to articulate and extend that praise in ever fresh ways … In human kind, creation finds a voice.” Begbie explores a comparison between divine and artistic creativity, but he does so obliquely by applying the same terms to both. Both divine and human creativity ‘respect’ and ‘redeem’ creation. For example, he says that in artistic creativity “there will be a redeeming of disorder, mirroring God’s redeeming work in Christ, a renewal of that which has been spoiled…” Begbie clearly suggests a comparison between divine and artistic creativity in which the artist imitates the character of God’s creativity, but Begbie does not develop this comparison extensively.
 For a defense of the relational approach see Nathan MacDonald, “The Imago Dei and Election: Reading Genesis 1:26-28 and Old Testament Scholarship with Karl Barth,” International Journal of Systematic Theology 10 (2008): 303-27. For a critique of the relational approach see Middleton, The Liberating Image, 17-24
 Full citation of Voicing Creation’s Praise, 181. Unfortunately, I did not have space to consider Gerhardus van der Leeuw’s Sacred and Profane Beauty, an earlier and very important example of this approach.
 Voicing Creation’s Praise, 178-9.
 Ibid, 177.
 Ibid, 179.