Imagination is quite possibly a uniquely human ability. In essence, it allows us to explore ideas of things that are not in our present environment, or perhaps not even real. For example, one can imagine the cup of coffee seen the day before, or one can imagine an alien spaceship arriving in the earth’s orbit. The key is that what is imagined is generated from within rather than perceived based on input from without.
Imagination can be a wonderful gift that helps us to be creative or it can be problematic and lead us to escapism and a false sense of who we are.
Listen to this use of the word imagination in the King James Version of the Bible:
Vain imagination is closely related to the sin of pride. Imagining a world without God and no sense of respect or gratitude for him.
There is a story of a king named Nebuchadnezzar who was so arrogant and prideful, that he lost his mind for a period of time. His vanity and sense of self-importance caused him to be in a state of mind that became sub-human.
Nebuchadnezzar had a few dreams that inspired and puzzled him. Daniel was the only man of God that could help him understand what his dreams meant. One of the dreams had a giant tree that touched the sky and a messenger from Heaven came down saying to cut down the tree.
Daniel interpreted the dream and let Nebuchadnezzar know that he was the tree in the dream that had grown too large.
God’s message was that the king needed to be cut down to size and would enter a period of madness where he would think he was a cow and eat the grass of the field. Later, the dream came true while the king was telling himself how great he was.