Devotional, Day 11

God Designed Us to be Critical and Creative Thinkers

"The simple believe anything,
    but the prudent give thought to their steps."
Proverbs 14:15

"Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool, and so is wisdom to a man of understanding."
Proverbs 10:23

"But test everything; hold fast what is good."
1 Thess. 5:21

God intended humans to have sophisticated thought and the ability to think critically and creatively. The Proverbs speak of the wise man being one who carefully considers their steps, not one who simply believes anything (Prov. 14:15). The author of Hebrews similarly rebukes his audience for not being capable of following a sophisticated line of thinking (Hebrew 5:11-14). God created us to enjoy deep thought. Proverbs 10:23 says, “Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool, and so is wisdom to a man of understanding.” God created us to enjoy learning and considering things critically.

This is true even for those of us that don’t consider ourselves “intellectuals” or “deep thinkers.” There are many things most of us desire that require creative and critical thinking skills even if we don’t realize it. Many of us desire to have deep and meaningful conversations with our friends, spouses, and children someday. We want to have good discernment and be able to accurately perceive what’s going on around us. We want to be perceptive friends who know how to love and care for those around us. We want to be loving spouses who can discern what is going on with our spouse and effectively come alongside them. We want to be active and engaged parents who can creatively and effectively encourage, discipline, teach, and engage our kids about all kinds of things. All of these are different areas that involve honing our creative and critical thinking skills.

Related to its effect on our ability to concentrate, lots of screen time can erode our ability to think critically, evaluate arguments, and follow a sophisticated flow of thought. Because we don’t get the same rush as we do from screens, less time will be given to slower, more time-demanding processes like reading difficult material, critical analysis, and problem-solving. More time spent on a screen decreases our interest in dissecting longer, more complicated thought progression because we’re used to getting quick information bites. Screens train us to put in minimal effort and reap a large reward. Now, people get bored or confused when trying to comprehend more complicated information, and this trend is causing difficulty for many people whether or not they are Christians. In students, studies have shown that just four hours of screen time is linked to an average GPA drop of one full grade level.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Have you noticed any effect that screen time has had on your thinking skills?
  2. Why do you think activities like reading difficult material, critical analysis, and problem-solving are important skills to hone, even if they are difficult and don’t seem to come naturally?
  3. What are ways you could exercise your critical or creative thinking more regularly?