The power to rearrange the combinations of natural elements is the only
creative power man possesses. It is an enormous and glorious power—and it is
the only meaning of the concept “creative.” “Creation” does not (and
metaphysically cannot) mean the power to bring something into existence out of
nothing. “Creation” means the power to bring into existence an arrangement (or
combination or integration) of natural elements that had not existed before.
(This is true of any human product, scientific or esthetic: man’s imagination
is nothing more than the ability to rearrange the things he has observed in
reality.) The best and briefest identification of man’s power in regard to
nature is Francis Bacon’s “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.” In this
context, “to be commanded” means to be made to serve man’s purposes; “to be
obeyed” means that they cannot be served unless man discovers the properties of
natural elements and uses them accordingly.