Ultimate Things

Ultimate Things

Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios says:
Matter and nature participate in the redemption, as St. Paul clearly tells us in Romans 8, no matter how hard modern exegetical gymnastics may try to prove that by the expression "all creation" he means only the whole of humankind.
The exclusive-inclusive debate is a false problem. God includes the whole universe in his creation as well as in redemption in Christ. This does not remove all distinction between humanity and the rest of creation. Humanity has a special vocation as the priest of creation, as the mediator through whom God manifests himself to creation and redeems it. But this does not make humanity totally discontinuous with creation, since a priest has to be an integral part of the people he represents. Christ has become a part of creation, and in his created body he lifted up the creation to God, and humankind must participate in this eternal priesthood of Christ. (12)

Bishop Kallistos Ware says:
"A new heaven and a new earth': man is not saved from his body but in it; not saved from the material world but with it. Because man is microcosm and mediator of the creation, his own salvation involves also the reconciliation and transfiguration of the whole animate and inanimate creation around him - its deliverance from 'the bondage of corruption' and entry 'into the glorious liberty of the children of God' (Romans 8:21). In the 'new earth' of the Age to come there is surely a place not only for man, but for the animals: in and through man, they too will share in immortality, and so will rocks, trees and plants, fire and water. (14)

St. Symeon the New Theologian says:
It is not fitting for the bodies of men to be clothed in the glory of the resurrection and to become incorrupt before the renewal of all creatures. But just as in the beginning, first the whole creation was made incorrupt, and then from it man was taken and made, so also it is fitting that again first all the creation should become incorrupt, and then the corruptible bodies of men also should be renewed and become incorruptible, so that once more the whole man might be incorrupt and spiritual and might dwell in an incorruptible, eternal, and spiritual dwelling.
But let us see how the creation is to be renewed and come again into the condition of its original beauty. I suppose there is not a single Christian who will think to disbelieve the words of the Lord Who gave the promise to make the heaven new and the earth new, that is, that just as our own bodies, which are now dissolved into the elements but still are not turned into nothingness, again are to be renewed through the resurrection - so also the heaven and the earth with all that is in them, that is, the whole creation, is to be renewed and to be delivered from the bondage of corruption, and these elements together with us will become partakers of the brightness proceeding from the divine fire. Just as a bronze vessel that has become old and useless, becomes new again when a metalworker melts it in the fire and recasts it, in the same way also the creation, having become old and useless because of our sins, will be as it were melted in the fire by God the Creator and recast, and will appear incomparably brighter than it is now. Do you see how all creatures will be renewed by fire?
But let us see what the divine Paul says about the creation and it's renewal.
Having said that "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us," right after this he says: "For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God" (Romans 8:18-19). He calls "expectation" the mighty desire of the creation that there might be fulfilled more quickly the revelation or the manifestation in glory of the sons of God which is to occur in the general resurrection. For then, in the general resurrection, with the coming of the Son of God, the sons of God are to be revealed, their beauty and glory are to be manifest, and they will become entirely, that is, in soul and body, light-bearing and most glorious, as has been written. Then the righteous, that is, the sons of the righteous God, will shine forth like the sun (Matthew 13:43).
But lest someone should think that what has been said by the Apostle refers to some other kind of creation, he adds: "For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it in hope (Romans 8:20)"... That is: the creation was subjected to men not by itself, and not by its own will did it become corruptible, give corruptible fruits, and produce thorns and thistles, rather, it submitted to the commandment of God Who ordained this for it in the hope that He would again renew it. So as the more fully to confirm this the Apostle says finally: "That the creation itself also shall be delived from the bondage of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 3:21)."

Matins Service for December 25
by John of Damascus
...Let all creation, therefore, exchange glad tidings and rejoice, for Christ hath come to recall it and to save our souls. (Glory in the fourth tone)
Today all creatures shall be filled with joy, for Christ hath been born of the Virgin. (Glory in the second tone) (17)

Book of Eight Tones - Third Tone Saturday Vespers
The whole creation, O Lord God, hath been lighted by thy glorified Resurrection; and paradise hath been opened withal. Wherefore, all creatures laud thee, and offer thee praise perpetually.
Verily, Christ did descend to hades to bring good tidings to those therein, saying, Have faith now; for I have conquered; for I am the Resurrection, who, unlocking the gates of death, shall set you free.
Aposticha - O Christ, who didst darken the sun with thy Passion, and didst light all created things with the light of thy Resurrection, and didst make them to rejoice, accept our evening praise, O Lover of mankind.
Verily, thy life-giving Resurrection hath lighted the whole universe, renewing thy corrupt creation. Wherefore, in that thou hast delivered us from the curse of Adam, we shout to thee, O Lord Almighty, glory to thee. (17)

Zechariah 14:20
On that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, "Holy to the Lord." And the cooking pots in the house of the Lord shall be as holy as the bowls in front of the altar;...

pg. 2 - Holy Scripture (including Romans 8)

Orthodox Prayer for & with our Fellow Creatures


Speak a word to me, Father.

Copyright © 1999, L.A. Christensen. All rights reserved.