In The BeginningFr. Barnabas Powell
I remember the days of my early religious development and the focus on the heated discussion between creation and evolution. And it seemed that, if you were religious then everything in your faith hung on God creating rather than evolution to “explain” the beginning of all things.
At the risk of upsetting some, I have come to see this whole controversy as a diversion tactic of the evil one to take away from both the mystery of creation and the wisdom revealed in the Creation message of the Christian faith to shape my everyday life. Frankly, God creating is bigger than a mere “science” project.
Look at our reading in Genesis 1:1-13:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
Look at how the Timeless Faith begins the whole story – God created. Everything and everyone starts with God. But also notice this is no “magic” act where God says the magic word and “poof” everything just is. We see a process here of God bringing existence into existence as a process. The earth starts out “without form and void” but then God, the Holy Spirit, moves across the chaos and brings order and beauty and purpose!
Then God says “Let there be Light” and the Light shines. Then God starts the process that He will use from now on to encourage a mature creation; He starts separating things! He separates the light from the darkness and names them both. He separates the waters. He separates the land from the oceans. And, later He’ll separate Adam into male and female. And in the end of all this, He will declare what He’s NEVER changed His mind about – This is Very Good.
So, why does God go about separating things? Because He is going to make a person in His own image and that person is going to be born with unimaginable potential. But to reach that potential, this creature of God made in His image is going to need to learn over a lifetime HOW to reconcile the creation back to the Creator; how to act as a king and a priest of the creation so that the creation can be offered back to the Creator as gift and thanksgiving. In other words, man is going to have to learn how to be grateful, to be Eucharistic, if creation is ever going to makes sense and be in harmony!
So, today, as we embark on another Great Lent, we will be invited to do, once again, what our race has always been called to do: to be the link between heaven and earth; to become by grace what Christ is by nature. But we won’t be able to do that if we are intoxicated by our own passions, desires, and hungers. We are going to need to learn to fast if we are ever going to be mature enough to truly feast on this gift of creation and offer to our Creator the life of gratitude that makes us like Him. Once again, Great Lent opens the door to you and me to be Orthodox on Purpose!
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