Millions of men have lived to fight, build palaces and boundaries, shape destinies and societies; but the compelling force of all times has been the force of originality and creation profoundly affecting the roots of human spirit.
—Ansel Adams (1902–84) American Photographer
In creating, the only hard thing is to begin: a grass-blade’s no easier to make than an oak.
—James Russell Lowell (1819–91) American Poet, Critic
Why was the human race created? Or at least why wasn’t something creditable created in place of it? God had His opportunity. He could have made a reputation. But no, He must commit this grotesque folly—a lark which must have cost Him a regret or two when He came to think it over and observe effects.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
The innermost meaning of sacrifice is the annihilation of the finite just because it is finite. In order to demonstrate that this is the only purpose, the most noble and beautiful must be chosen; above all, man, the fulfillment of the earth. Human sacrifices are the most natural sacrifices. Man, however, is more than the fulfillment of the earth; he is reasonable, and reason is free and nothing but an eternal self-determination toward the infinite. Thus man can sacrifice only himself, and that is what he does in the omnipresent sanctissimum of which the masses are not aware. All artists are self-sacrificing human beings, and to become an artist is nothing but to devote oneself to the subterranean gods. The meaning of divine creation is primarily revealed in the enthusiasm of annihilation. Only in the throes of death is the spark of eternal life ignited.
—Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel (1772–1829) German Man of Letters, Critic
A life lived of choice is a life of conscious action. A life lived of chance is a life of unconscious creation.
—Neale Donald Walsch (b.1943) American Spiritual Writer
Have We not made the earth as a cradle and the mountains as pegs? And We created you in pairs, and We appointed your sleep for a rest; and We appointed night for a garment, and We appointed day for a livelihood. And We have built above you seven strong ones, and We appointed a blazing lamp and have sent down out of the rain-clouds water cascading that We may bring forth thereby grain and plants, and gardens luxuriant.
—The Holy Quran Sacred Scripture of Islam
God made man merely to hear some praise of what he’d done on those Five Days.
—Christopher Morley (1890–1957) American Novelist, Essayist
In the beginning was the Word. Man acts it out. He is the act, not the actor.
—Henry Miller (1891–1980) American Novelist
I do not feel that I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here; and this idea of a creating hand refers to God.
—Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–80) French Philosopher, Playwright, Novelist, Screenwriter, Political Activist
Destruction, hence, like creation, is one of Nature’s mandates.
—Marquis de Sade (1740–1814) French Political leader, Revolutionary, Novelist, Poet, Critic
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
—Cecil Frances Alexander (1818–95) Anglo-Irish Children’s Hymn Writer, Poet
There are innumerable questions to which the inquisitive mind can, in this state, receive no answer; Why do you and I exist? Why was this world created? And since it was to be created, why was it not created sooner?
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
This most beautiful system [The Universe] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.
—Isaac Newton (1643–1727) English Physicist, Mathematician, Astronomer, Theologian
Man was created a little lower than the angels, and has been getting lower ever since.
—Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw) (1818–85) American Humorist, Author, Lecturer
The world embarrasses me, and I cannot dream that this watch exists and has no watchmaker.
—Voltaire (1694–1778) French Philosopher, Author
I no longer ask the young man’s question: How far will I go? My questions are now those of the mature person: When it is over, what will my life have been about? First as Martin Buber taught, life is meeting. We come alive only when we relate to others. Secondly, we are here to change the world with small acts of thoughtfulness done daily rather than with one great dramatic leap in results. Finally, we are here to finish god’s labors. One of the sages of the Talmud taught nearly two thousand years ago that God could have created a plant that would grow loaves of bread. Instead He created wheat for us to mill and bake into bread. Why? So that we could be His partners in completing the work of creation.
—Harold Kushner (b.1935) American Jewish Religious Leader, Priest
If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.
—Carl Sagan (1934–96) American Astronomer
Consciousness is the glory of creation.
—James Broughton (1913–99) American Poet, Filmmaker
The finiteness, the dependency, and the insufficiency of man.
—Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971) American Christian Theologian
What can be more foolish than to think that all this rare fabric of heaven and earth could come by chance, when all the skill of art is not able to make an oyster? To see rare effects, and no cause; a motion, without a mover; a circle, without a centre; a time, without an eternity; a second, without a first: these are things so against philosophy and natural reason, that he must be a beast in understanding who can believe in them. The thing formed, says that nothing formed it; and that which is made, is, while that which made it is not! This folly is infinite.
Choosing what you want to do, and when to do it, is an act of creation.
—Peter McWilliams (1949–2000) American Author, Activist
The metaphor is perhaps one of man’s most fruitful potentialities. Its efficacy verges on magic, and it seems a tool for creation which God forgot inside one of His creatures when He made him.
—Jose Ortega y. Gasset (1883–1955) Spanish Critic, Journalist, Philosopher
Search not a Wound too deep, lest thou make a new one.
—Thomas Fuller (1608–61) English Cleric, Historian
Exchange is creation.
—Muriel Rukeyser (1913–80) American Poet, Writer
Creation is a drug I can’t do without.
—Cecil B. DeMille (1881–1959) American Film Producer, Director
O Children of Men! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.
—Baha’u’llah (1817–92) Founder of the Islamic Baha’i Movement
Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.
—Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) Spanish Painter, Sculptor, Artist
Imagine spending four billion years stocking the oceans with seafood, filling the ground with fossil fuels, and drilling the bees in honey production—only to produce a race of bed-wetters!
—Barbara Ehrenreich (1941–2022) American Social Critic, Essayist
Every man is as heaven made him, and sometimes a great deal worse.
—Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) Spanish Novelist
Imagine the Creator as a stand up comedian – and at once the world becomes explicable.
—H. L. Mencken (1880–1956) American Journalist, Literary Critic