Friday, September 19, 2014

The Book of Creation Reveals the Creator

- St. Irenaeus of Lyons (129 - 203)

That God is the Creator of the world is accepted even by those who in many ways speak against Him.... For creation reveals Him who formed it, and the very work made suggests Him who made it, and the world manifests Him who ordered it. The universal Church, moreover, throughout the whole world, has received this tradition from the apostles themselves.

("Against Heresies", Book II, ch. 9:1)

- Origen (185 - 254)

The parallel between nature and Scripture is so complete, we must necessarily believe that the person who is asking questions of nature and the person who is asking questions of Scripture are bound to arrive at the same conclusions.

- St. Athanasius the Great (297 - 373)

Once when a visiting philosopher asked how such a learned man as he got along in the desert without books, Anthony replied, "My book is the nature of created things, and as often as I have a mind to read the words of God, they are at my hand."

("Life of Anthony")

- St. Athanasius the Great (297 - 373)

About the "Book of Creation," he says, "the creatures are like letters proclaiming in loud voices to their Divine Master and Creator the harmony and order of things."

- St. Athanasius the Great (297 - 373)

For creation, as if written in characters and by means of its order and harmony, declares in a loud voice its own Master and Creator.... For this reason, God, by his own Word, gave creation such order as is found therein, so that while He is by nature invisible, men might yet be able to know Him through His works.

- St. Ephraim the Syrian (306 - 373)

In his book Moses described the creation of the natural world so that both Nature and Scripture might bear witness to the Creator. Nature, through man’s use of it, Scripture, through his reading of it, these are the witnesses which reach everywhere, they are to be found at all times, present at every hour, confuting the unbeliever who defames the Creator.

("Hymns on Paradise", Hymn 5:1-3)

- St. John Chrysostom (347 - 407)

From the creation, learn to admire the Lord! And if any of the things which you see exceed your comprehension, and you are not able to find the reason for its existence, then for this reason, glorify the Creator that the wisdom of His works surpasses your own understanding. Indeed the magnitude and beauty of creation, and also the very manner of it, display a God Who is the artificer of the universe. He has made the mode of this creation to be our best teacher, compounding all things in a manner that transcends the course of nature.

("On the Statutes", 12:7)

- St. Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430)

Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Note it. Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that? Why, heaven and earth shout to you: "God made me!"

("City of God", Book 15)

- St. Maximus the Confessor (580 - 662)

Creation is a bible whose letters and syllables are the particular aspects of all creatures and whose words are the more universal aspects of creation. Conversely, Scripture is like a cosmos constituted of heaven and earth and things in between; that is, the ethical, the natural, and the theological dimension.

("Ambiguities", 10)

- St. Theophan the Recluse (1815 - 1894)

Everything is a source from which you can distill a higher and more celestial knowledge that is both valid and useful. Yet this understanding will alter from one person to another, depending upon their power of penetration, their attention, and their faith and devotion. Those who relentlessly and enthusiastically pursue these exercises will in time feel enriched by the wealth of knowledge that is yielded.... When we can do so successfully, the world will be like a holy book filled with uncountable and wonderfully different paragraphs; then any object, any event, will refer us to God, so that our thoughts will be directed toward Him. Every activity and movement will be made in His presence. We will walk and act inside the field of the senses and materiality, yet in reality, we move in the realm of the Spirit. Everything will unveil its divine dimension for us, and this will reinforce the power with which our attention turns towards Him.

This text is fertile beyond anything we can conceive. If everything in daily life can be spiritually reinterpreted, it is because everything is a symbol of the invisible realm, but reflected within time and space. This is why it has been said that whatever exists on earth is modelled on an archetypal essence that is actually present on another plane of God's creation. Do we not say in the Creed, "Creator of all that is, visible and invisible."

- Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch (1920 - 2012)

The mystical way in Christianity requires as a necessary stage the contemplation of nature – a vision of "the secrets of the glory of God which is hidden in beings and things," to quote a great mystic who was both an Arab and a Christian, St. Isaac the Syrian.

("The Spirituality of the Creation," 1989, Lausanne, Switzerland)

- Basil Pennington (1931 – 2005)

The whole of creation bespeaks its Maker.
As the Greeks would say,
the whole of creation is full of logoi, little words,
that give expression to the Logos, the Word.
I can stand on my bluff overlooking the Pearl River Delta
and wonder at it all:
the creation of God and humans,
the beauty of the sky, the sea, the islands,
the exuberant energy of metropolitan Hong Kong –
it all speaks of God,
gives expression to the Word.

("Lectio Divina")