Sacred Music is a rich and satisfying expression of man’s exultations from deep in the human soul. Musical creativity is the recognition of something new, different, and worthwhile. We shall later discuss a classic sacred choral work entitled “Salvation is Created” by Russian sacred music composer Pavel G. Chesnokov. Even its title expresses a profound theological truth. The combined impact of the text and music is powerful.
Creativity has been celebrated and recognized from early human existence. In any endeavor, creativity is generally acknowledged as significantly different, novel, valuable, and worthwhile. Creativity is identifiable beyond any doubt. It is easy to recognize creative works that are significantly praiseworthy. They attract attention far exceeding ordinary worthiness.
One term related to creativity is genius—the possession and application of exceptional intellectual or creative ability. Genius relates to ability to produce a recognizably superior product. Human achievements are grouped under a broad number of categories. The arts are a major category, including visual arts such as painting and sculpture. Creative genius accomplishments range from the composition and production of music, art, literature, and architecture to development of new science strategies and achievements in technology and skills of leadership. A separate category of creativity relates to the ability to identify and analyze creative genius. Without human ability to recognize creative traits we could not value their existence.
Let us consider the divine component of creativity. Divine reality pre-existed human reality. Therefore, human creative and genius traits are but an outcome of divine action. The origin of the physical cosmic creation took place in the divine mind of God at an unknown time before the beginning of the time, space, matter, and energy dimensions of our universe even existed. This concept is difficult to grasp at the human level of our present physical existence.
Likewise, another creative act originated in the mind of God before the origin of time, space, matter, and energy. Four verses in the NIV translation are commonly interpreted to mean God’s creative salvation plan conceived before the beginning of time. Included are Ephesians 1:4 (For he chose us in him before the creation of the world), Titus 1:2 (A faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time), 2 Timothy 1:9 (This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time), and I Corinthians. 2:7 (Hidden wisdom which God destined before the world began). This divine act—the creation of salvation—has been set to music and text in an inspired choral composition by Pavel G. Chesnokov (1877-1944), a Russian Empire Composer.
Chesnokov’s liturgy-driven choral compositions are works of haunting beauty, deliberate and pensive. Even high school choristers exult in the emotional beauty of his choral dynamics and progressions. The text of “Salvation is Created” is simple and elegant: “Salvation is Created, in the midst of the earth, O God, O our God. Allelujah.”
Divine creativity exceeds human creativity by orders of magnitude. If our redemption and eternal salvation were created in the mind of God before time began they are noteworthy beyond human comprehension. They are works surpassing all other works of human creation and human genius.