I love the first few lines of a book. They set the tone for the whole book. They are responsible for drawing you in. Any author worth their salt knows that the first lines are the most critically important lines in the whole book.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”Charles Dickens pens in the brilliant opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities.
Melville opens Moby Dick with three simple words that drop the reader into the thick of the story before it begins with “Call me Ishmael.”
Orwell in 1984, “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” What does that mean, striking 13? Why was is cold in April? More, the reader demands.
One of my favorite books opens with these lines, penned by the unstable genius that is Thomas Pynchon, “One summer afternoon Mrs. Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary.”
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by the inimitable C.S. Lewis opens with a brilliant statement “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”
When an amazing author creates a great story, his opening line invites the reader into his story.
When the creator of the universe creates a great story, His opening line invites the reader into himself.
So we have the opening line to the greatest and best selling book of all time. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God tells us some amazing things in His one sentence introduction. We learn that He was there in the beginning. We learn that He is creative. We learn that He created both the heavens that we can’t see and the earth that we can see.
The first thing he reveals about Himself is that He was there at the beginning followed shortly by the fact that He created.
What a phenomenal truth for creative people. God is creative. God is an artist, a dreamer, a builder, a thinker…
God created. This is an awesome place to start our search for creativity and how to exercise creativity as believers.