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Creation would therefore be limited, and you would not be co-creators with God. As God's creative Thought proceeds from Him to you, so must your creative thought proceed from you to your creations. Only in this way can all creative power extend outward. God's accomplishments are not yours, but yours are like His. He created the Sonship and you increase it.

You have the power to add to the Kingdom, though not to add to the Creator of the Kingdom. You claim this power when you become vigilant only for God and His Kingdom. By accepting this power as yours you have learned to remember what you are. You are part of God, as your sons are part of His Sons.

To create is to love. Love extends outward simply because it cannot be contained. Being limitless it does not stop. It creates forever, but not in time. God's creations have always been, because He has always been.

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Your creations have always been, because you can create only as God creates. Eternity is yours, because He created you eternal. It is always willing to strike a bargain, but it cannot understand that to be like another means that no bargains are possible. To gain you must give, not bargain. To bargain is to limit giving, and this is not God's Will. To will with God is to create like Him. God does not limit His gifts in any way. You are His gifts, and so your gifts must be like His.

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Your gifts to the Kingdom must be like His gifts to you. What you believe you are determines your gifts, and if God created you by extending Himself as you, you can only extend yourself as He did. Only joy increases forever, since joy and eternity are inseparable.


Chapter 7: The Gifts of the Kingdom

God extends outward beyond limits and beyond time, and you who are co-creator with Him extend His Kingdom forever and beyond limit. But our hope is not to be found in a new technology or ecology by which we manage to control the climate. No God is needed for such imaginative projects — though many will use His name to underwrite their efforts. A more radical transformation as well as stewardship is asked of us.

It is daily made known to us in the mysteries of the Church in which the simple elements of bread, wine, water, oil, the laying on of hands and other actions are means by which our salvation is made effective within us and made known to us. It is the transformation of Creation that beckons to us and the transformation of our very selves by the mercies of God.

The blessing of objects in this world does not make them to be something other than what they are I make an exception of the Eucharistic elements which must be reserved for a different discussion. It reveals them to be in a unique position with God and His Divine Energies. But the Great Blessing of the Waters or the blessing of Water at Holy Baptism does not make the water to be something that is not water. Yes, in an important sense, we do.

Our redemption in the course of this life is, among other things, a recovery of our true humanity. In the words of Met.

Thus this life is lived in a recovery of the glory that is proper to human beings. Love of friend — love of wolf and bird and all creation are also revelatory. The icon of the New Creation is made manifest in such moments. I believe a proper view of our world is to see its iconic character. I do not know the truly full account of St. Seraphim and the Bear or of St.

Orthodox Christianity, Culture and Religion, Making the Journey of Faith

Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio and similar stories. But they contain more than the story of a circus performance. Thank you Father Stephen. It is a natural consequence of humility to appreciate the Glory of God even in the mundane parts of the miraculous creation. Further, the Tradition also tells us that gaining a deep understanding of creation is a stage on the road to the vision of the Uncreated Light.

Finally, again, the Tradition tells us that what we see in St. Kyrgyzstan is a spectacularly beautiful place, and yet it was not until Kyrgyz people became Christians that they noticed and loved its beauty. In fact, many people told me that their sudden appreciation for nature was for them the most surprising thing about their conversion. Father Stephen, I wonder if you might speak to the groaning and the brokenness of creation. How do you understand this, in the face of the enslavement of creation to death?

The image I think of is of a spider poisoning a caterpillar and binding it with cords, and then slowly sucking the lifeblood from it until it is a dry lifeless shell. This, at least, seems to me to be far from an offer of thanksgiving to God — and yet such behavior permeates the created order. But the original goodness in which it is created is not lost. Paul, is not simply a groaning to be free from corruption and death, but a groaning that awaits the manifestation of the sons of God. There will be no redemption of creation that is not first a redemption of man.

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No spider chose to rebel against God, nor does it rebel even now, though it has been made subject to futility. It groans — but it waits…. I reference as well a meditation by Met. Kallistos Ware from an earlier post…. Nikolai Velimirovich wrote a lot about nature, using various examples. Therefore you cannot find better expression — except of being silent — for moral kingdom than the nature.

Therefore we can never clearly speak about moral kingdom unless we borrow from nature the facts, that is the most expressive pictures of that higher, silent kingdom. Because our language stands in relation to the nature as nature to one higher kingdom. Nature much more clearly expresses the moral kingdom, than the human language is capable of. That is why the nature is created, i. Thus we borrow the facts from nature because that is why those facts are there for , to help our language to express, beside everything else, the horror of sin. And thus so we ask: Who will take the worm out of the oak?

Who will cleanse the tare out of the wheat? Who will pull the sin out of the soul? Yes, but we must be careful, it seems to me. There is clearly a distinction between humans and animals. As moral beings we have a duty to treat animals humanely. For example, some Christians say that the faith pushes us toward vegetarianism. He cooked and ate fish after the Resurrection.

He did not rail at the animal sacrifice happening at the Temple, but at the money changing. Paul called vegetarianism the weaker approach to food. So certainly we should all abhor animal abuse. But let us not conflate human life and its value with those of animals. I grew up with grandparents down the road on a farm. There are strange spiritualities out there today. People who worry about the carbon-footprint but do not oppose abortion there was a tragic story of such in a recent Orthodox podcast.

There is a proper Orthodox theology of creation that has consequences for how we live. Green is a growing political position with some very strange ideas about creation and humanity. Paul really call vegetarianism the weaker approach to food or was he teaching something else?

Miracles Manifest the Supernatural Order

It seems to me that Wonders question remains unaddressed: Or more generally, where a creature like the spider evolved to perfection through death selection as a creature of venom and death? I am not aware of St. Paul actually discussing vegetarianism at all. Vegetarianism was not a topic of controversy or discussion particularly in the Churches to which he wrote.

I let the comment go in the earlier post because it was not germane to the question asked. There are certainly saints — and Christ Himself — whose encounters with nature yield glimpses of the glory that shall be. I would readily agree that the glory that shall be will not be built on corruption and death. I think it is problematic to suggest that the spider has developed solely through death.

I trust that He is at work in what I cannot see or know as yet.


The primary revelation of God at work in creation is and always has been the death and resurrection of Christ. Though it is still but a shadow of what we have been promised. And they speak of these logoi as something that can be mystically perceived. I trust this teaching, but have no experience of it. But those so gifted seem to have about them a witness that I cannot see and a quality of relationship with nature that is not yet mine. I simply try to live from the commandments and the canons.