In the Beginning ... Creativity

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Book: Gordon Kaufman. In the Beginning ... Creativity.


John Hagel:

"Kaufman, a professor of divinity emeritus at Harvard University, offers a similar perspective to Stuart Kauffman: “The metaphor of creativity, as I have been suggesting, is appropriate for naming God because (1) it preserves and indeed emphasizes the ultimacy of the mystery that God is, even while (2) it connects God directly with the coming into being – in time – of the new and the novel.”

Kaufman amplifies this theme: “. . . God should be thought of as creativity; creativity is the only proper object for worship, devotion and faith today . . . . Everything other than the ultimate mystery of creativity is a finite created reality that may indeed be valued and appreciated within certain limits, but which is itself always subject to distortion, corruption, and disintegration and thus must be relativized by the creativity manifest in the coming into being and the ultimate dissolution of all finite realities – that which alone may be characterized as ‘ultimate.’”

I especially like Kaufman’s emphasis on serendipitous creativity: “This whole vast cosmic process, I suggest, displays (in varying degrees) serendipitous creativity: the coming into being through time of new modes of reality. It is a process that has frequently produced much more than would have been expected or seemed possible, given previously prevailing circumstances . . .” He further clarifies: “But mere change is not what we mean by the word ‘creativity,’ for changes can generally be understood and often explained, and they do not involve the coming into being of something truly novel.” (

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See also the book by Stuart Kauffman: Reinventing the Sacred