The Role of Imagination in Faith

“It may be that God has the eternal appetite of infancy.” -G.K. Chesterton

I had a great conversation this week about the role of imagination in spiritual growth. We spoke a bit about how children tend to be more open to new things than adults. (I recently wrote about Abby’s 4-year old “StarryEyed” infatuation with unicorns.) Our conversation reminded me of a favorite quote from G. K. Chesterton on children, God and “exulting in monotony.” He says:

A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

Over the years I have benefited much from the teaching of Greg Boyd on the role of “imagination,” especially in the area of prayer. I can’t believe it’s already been 10 years since his “Animate” sermon series and 15 years since my first trip to the intersection of neuroscience and discipleship through Boyd’s book Escaping the Matrix. A good introduction and practical guide to imaginative prayer is Boyd’s book Seeing is Believing: Experience Jesus Through Imaginative Prayer.. Here are a couple video messages if you want to dip your foot in these horizon-expanding waters.

“Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”(Ephesians 3:20-21)

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