Design of Desire: Creational Desires

This week on The Allender Center Podcast, Dan continues the Design of Desire series that opened last week with the idea that much of desire is opposed and that pursuing meaningful desire requires stepping into the war against desire. Here, Dan looks at Genesis 1 and 3 to discuss two categories—the so-called “cultural mandate”—that are at the heart of God’s intention for desire: fill and multiply, and subdue and rule. These categories refer to raising children and tending the earth, but also to so much more than that.

“It is concrete, but it’s vast in its implication. Filling and multiplying is about creation—it’s about creating. It’s about bringing something that was not but now is to this earth. In other words, it’s the blessing of imagination, the blessing of all human creativity. The creation of goodness is part of what it means to fill and multiply. […] Then to subdue means to put a mark on the earth, and to rule seems to have the implication of growing something to even greater glory. It’s all about how we grow what we are given.”

These fundamental callings—filling the earth with creativity, and calling more and more goodness out of the world around us—require both union with others and an individual identity.

“Union needs to be at the heart of any creative endeavor. […] Every desire ultimately will come home to this word union: unison, unity, a kind of oneness—disparity and brokenness, brought into some form of cohesion. […] For people to get even just a few glimpses of that kind of union is a rare gift in any season of life. The great tragedy isn’t that it’s so infrequent, but that we so often move to that which is counterfeit and therefore attempt to assuage, to ameliorate that heartache and that desire.”

Living out of our God-given desires also means marking the world with our unique gifts and identity, like a piece of art that is recognized by the distinctive style of the artist.

“We were meant to be persons that mark our world with a kind of individuality, uniqueness, that no one else brings in quite the same way.

These activities—creating out of a sense of union, marking the world, and letting ourselves be marked—serve to grow and deepen desire. They highlight ways in which our lives and our world are incomplete and unordered, allowing our desire to call us ever further into the working of filling and multiplying, subduing and ruling.

“Those who mark the world and let that mark then mark them, so that they are created by their own creation, they are then taken further to be who they were meant to be. That becomes the evolving, growing completeness that Genesis is talking about. […] Desire creates desire.”