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Ceation

… Maker of Heaven and Earth…

The Ortho­dox Church believes that God the Father is the “Cre­ator of Heav­en and earth and of all things vis­i­ble and invis­i­ble.”

To cre­ate means to make out of noth­ing; to bring into exis­tence that which before did not exist; or, to quote the Litur­gy of St. John Chrysos­tom once more: “to bring from non-exis­tence into being.”

The Ortho­dox doc­trine of cre­ation is that God has brought every­thing and every­one which exists from non-exis­tence into being. The Scrip­tur­al descrip­tion of cre­ation is giv­en pri­mar­i­ly in the first chap­ter of Gen­e­sis. The main doc­tri­nal point about cre­ation is that God alone is uncre­at­ed and ever-exist­ing. Every­thing which exists besides God was cre­at­ed by Him. God, how­ev­er, did not cre­ate every­thing indi­vid­u­al­ly and all at once, so to speak. He cre­at­ed the first foun­da­tions of exis­tence, and then over peri­ods of time (per­haps mil­lions of years, see 2 Pet 3:8) this first foun­da­tion of exis­tence-by the pow­er which God had giv­en to it—brought forth the oth­er crea­tures of God:

Let the earth put forth veg­e­ta­tion… let the waters bring forth swarms of liv­ing crea­tures… let the earth bring forth liv­ing crea­tures accord­ing to their kinds …” (Gen 1:19, 20, 24)

Thus, although God is cer­tain­ly the cre­ator of every­thing. He acts grad­u­al­ly in time and by means of things pre­vi­ous­ly made by Him to which He has giv­en life-pro­duc­ing poten­cies and pow­ers.

Accord­ing to the Ortho­dox Faith, every­thing that God makes is “very good”: the heav­ens, the earth, the plants, the ani­mals, and final­ly man him­self (Gen 1:31). God is pleased with cre­ation and has made it for no oth­er pur­pose than to par­tic­i­pate in His own divine, uncre­at­ed exis­tence and to live by His own divine “breath of life” (Gen 1:30; 2:7).

By the Word of the Lord

the heav­ens were made,

and all their host by the

breath [or Spir­it] of His mouth.

He gath­ered the waters of the sea as in a bot­tle;

He put the deeps in store­hous­es.

Let all the earth fear the Lord,

let all the inhab­i­tants of the world

stand in awe of Him!

For He spoke, and it came to be

He com­mand­ed, and it was made!

(Ps 33:6–9)

In the above-quot­ed vers­es as well as in the account of Gen­e­sis we must notice the pres­ence and action of God’s Word and God’s Spir­it. God the Father makes all that exists by means of His Divine Word—“for He spoke and it came to be”—and by His Divine Spir­it who “moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen 1:2). We see already a glimpse of the Holy Trin­i­ty to be ful­ly revealed in the New Tes­ta­ment when the Word becomes flesh and when the Holy Spir­it comes per­son­al­ly to the dis­ci­ples of Jesus on the day of Pen­te­cost.

We must make spe­cial notice as well of the good­ness of the cre­at­ed phys­i­cal world. There is no dual­ism in Ortho­dox Chris­tian­i­ty. There is no teach­ing that “spir­it” is good and “mat­ter” is bad, that “heav­en” is good and the “earth” is evil. God loves His entire mate­r­i­al cre­ation with His eter­nal love and, as we shall see, when the phys­i­cal cre­ation is mined by sin He does every­thing in His pow­er to save it.

Lov­ing the whole of His good cre­ation, God the Father dwells with­in the world that He has made because of His good­ness and love for man. The omnipres­ence of God is one of the divine attrib­ut­es of the Cre­ator par­tic­u­lar­ly stressed in Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian teach­ing. This fact is direct­ly affirmed in the prayer to the Spir­it of God which is used as the open­ing prayer of Ortho­dox wor­ship:

O Heav­en­ly King, the Com­forter, the Spir­it of Truth, who art every­where and fillest all things. Trea­sury of Bless­ings and Giv­er of Life! Come and abide in us. And cleanse us from every impu­ri­ty. And save our souls, O Good One!

The fact that Chris­tians pray: Our Father who art in heav­en… (or, lit­er­al­ly, “in the heav­ens”) is also an affir­ma­tion of the fact that God is present every­where, for wher­ev­er men move on the face of the earth, over the seas or in the air, the heav­ens sur­round them with the pres­ence of God. The Lord Jesus Christ, in order to have men real­ize that the true God, His Father, is not bound to one or anoth­er par­tic­u­lar place, as were the pagan gods, teach­es men to pray to the Father “in the heav­ens.” For the one true and liv­ing God is present to all, over all, embrac­ing and encom­pass­ing all with His heav­en­ly care and pro­tec­tion. The God who is “over all” is also “through all and in all” (Eph 4:5). By His Word and His Holy Spir­it, God “fills all in all” (Eph I :10, 23).

Thus, the Apos­tle Paul also pro­claimed to the Athe­ni­ans, that whether men real­ize it or not, “in Him we live and move and have our being,” for “He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27–28). It is this fact of God’s omnipres­ence in His cre­ation, and our own pres­ence in and to Him, that is wit­nessed to so beau­ti­ful­ly in Psalm 139:

Whith­er shall I go from Thy Spir­it?

Or whith­er shall I flee from Thy Pres­ence?

If I ascend to heav­en, Thou art there!

If I make my bed in She­ol, Thou art there

If I take the wings of the morn­ing and dwell in the utter­most parts of the sea, even there Thy hand shall lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Let only dark­ness cov­er me, and the light about me be night,” even the dark­ness is not dark to Thee, the night is bright as the day; for dark­ness is as light with Thee! (Ps 139:7–12)