Sunday, April 30, 2006

Is Your Savior Your Creator?

In this season of the Resurrection, it is important to take time to reflect that if Jesus did not in some way represent our Creator, the entire drama of our redemption would be a meaningless charade.

This is the reason St. John anchors his gospel in the identification of Jesus with the eternal Logos, or Reason of God:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (1:1-3)

Likewise, St. Paul identifies Jesus with our Creator:

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Col 1:15-17)

Why is this indentification so important? Clearly no one knows better how a thing works and how to bring out its best than its creator. That the Way of Jesus leads to our happiness can be guaranteed only if He speaks for the Creator. (But more than simply speaking for God, He is God Himself.)

As we read at the beginning of the Bible, God created the world good. It is not as if in the Fall this world lost all goodness. Were that the case, Jesus' words could have no resonance with the human heart (one of the witnesses to his truth, cf. Jn 5:38) and as far as recognizing our Savior is concerned, it would have been just as well if some stranger were our creator (at least for us Gentiles).

In the Incarnation, God comes to reclaim his own. He comes to perfect what was broken but not destroyed, to heal the lame and the blind. That God became man means that matter can in some measure represent the Divine.

All this may well be elementary to you, but I make such a big deal of it because many Christians behave as if knowledge of the natural world through any means outside Sacred Scripture is a corrupting influence that can only lure them away from their faith. Quite the contrary: unrevealed knowledge of the natural world with a truly open heart leads to its Creator, as St. Paul forcefully affirms in the first chapter of his letter to the Romans:

Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. (v. 20)

To separate our Creator from our Savior is to play into the hands of the Enemy; it is to cast Jesus in opposition to God the Father. As if the grace of the Incarnation were not a perfection of creation's goodness, but its negation. What better way for the Enemy to clear the battlefield of God's people than to insinuate that no genuine believer ventures outside the fortress walls? What better way for the Enemy to possess the natural world than to insinuate that the natural sciences can only lead believers away from faith?


Puritan Belief said...

Spot on Jesus is the creator of all things seen and unseen as read in John 1 and Col 1 and of course Genesis 1

Holly said...

Awesome post! Thanks for the reminders! I often get asked about the origin of evil and the loss of goodness in the Fall - you said what I try to say very well! Thanks!

Frank in Billerica said...

Excellant. My humble attempt with the same issue.
The God of all creation is boundless. The God of all creation is precisely this. Creationism, evolution, the arguments continue, but is there any difference in God’s mind? What has the creator revealed for our insignificant minds to understand? Perhaps too simple, but it might be just this. We are spiritual beings in a physical existence that cannot be fully understood. For all the expertise of science, which might eventually explain this universe we live in, will it ever determine where it is? Do other universes exist? Will science ever answer these questions? Mystery will always envelop us, as it always should, the nature of an all-knowing God and his created. The humble part for me then, is this.
The spiritual child in me embraces the wonder of a God who could create the universe, and all that it contains, in six days and rest on the seventh.
The spiritual adult in me, embraces the wonder of a God who could create this universe and all that it contains, reflecting with perfect magnificence His profound power, and that He is timeless.
To constrain God to either understanding attempts to place limits on God. The God of all creation is boundless! The God of all creation is precisely this!

Robert Gagnon said...

A pox on your puerile imaginings. Once more you give me another version of how fictionalizing can become a simulacrum of TRUTH or whatever.

Read the Tao and try to approach the REAL!!

Lawrence Gage said...

Mr. Belief, Holly, and Frank, thanks for your comments.

Frank, I agree that our existence is certainly mysterious and wonderful; human knowledge will never actually comphrehend everything (though of course we can potentially know any particular thing). As far as "where" the universe is, the universe is the sum total of possible physical places, so the question makes no sense: there's no "place" outside the universe for it to exist within (cf. Book 4 of Aristotle's Physics).

As far as Robert G. is concerned; I'm not quite sure what planet he's speaking to us from. The post was quite clearly addressed to Christians and Christian concerns and made no pretense of speaking to his far-Eastern "philosophical mindset," to use the phrase loosely. But I suppose he needed a venue to ride his hobby horse, no matter how much force is required to shoehorn it in.

Mr. Gagnon, it's admirable that you've found your way in the dictionary to words like "puerile" and "simulacrum," but the phrase "truth or whatever" is less than impressive, as is the tired cliche of Westerners evangelizing for far-Eastern religion.