Creation Reflects God’s Glory

Creation: Week 2

Creation Reflects God’s Glory
Sunday, February 18, 2018

The universe itself can be understood as the primary revelation of the divine. —Thomas Berry [1]

The Divine Presence is happening in, through, and amidst every detail of life. . . . [It] penetrates all that exists. Everything in virtue of coming into existence is in relationship to this Source. —Thomas Keating [2]

The incarnation of God did not only happen in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. It began approximately 14 billion years ago with a moment that we now call “The Big Bang” or what some call “The Great Radiance.” At the birth of our universe, God materialized and revealed who God is. Ilia Delio writes: “Human life must be traced back to the time when life was deeply one, a Singularity, whereby the intensity of mass-energy exploded into consciousness.” [3] This Singularity provides a solid basis for inherent reverence, universal sacrality, and a spiritual ecology that transcends groups and religions.

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) stated, “The immense diversity and pluriformity of this creation more perfectly represents God than any one creature alone or by itself.” [4] However, most Christians thought humans were the only creatures that God cared about, and all else—animals, plants, light, water, soil, minerals—was just “food” for our own sustenance and enjoyment. I do not believe that the Infinitely Loving Source we call God could be so stingy and withholding, and only care about one species—unless that care would lead to care for everything else too, which I would call full consciousness. That is the unique human gift.

God created millions of creatures for millions of years before Homo sapiens came along. Many of these beings are too tiny for us to see or have yet to be discovered; some have seemingly no benefit to human life; and many, like the dinosaurs, lived and died long before we did. Why did they even exist? A number of the Psalms say that creation exists simply to reflect and give glory to God (e.g., Psalm 104). The deepest meaning of creation and creatures is their naked existence itself. God has chosen to communicate God’s very Self in multitudinous and diverse shapes of beauty, love, truth, and goodness, each of which manifests another facet of the Divine. (See Job 38-39, Wisdom 13:1-9, Romans 1:20.) Once you can see this, you live in an enchanted and spiritually safe world.

Christians have gotten ourselves into a muddle by not taking incarnation and creation as the body of God seriously. As theologian Sallie McFague writes, “Salvation is the direction of creation, and creation is the place of salvation.” [5] All is God’s place, which is our place, which is the only and every place.

I hope that our very suffering now, our crowded presence in this nest that we have largely fouled, will bring us together politically and religiously. The Earth and its life systems, on which we all entirely depend, still have the potential to convert us to a universal maturity. We all breathe the same air and drink the same water. There are no Native, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, or Muslim versions of the universal elements. The periodic table is the same in every country, or as Shakespeare and musician Mandisa expressed it, we all bleed the same. Animals do not care whether they are on the Mexican or the American side of our delusional wall.

References:
[1] Thomas Berry, The Christian Future and the Fate of the Earth, eds. Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2009), 67.

[2] Thomas Keating with Carl J. Arico, God Is Love: The Heart of All Creation Guidebook (Contemplative Outreach: 2016), 23, https://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/product/god-love-%E2%80%93-heart-all-creation-guidebook.

[3] Ilia Delio, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love (Orbis Books: 2013), 180.

[4] Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica 1.47.1.

[5] Sallie McFague, The Body of God: An Ecological Theology (Fortress Press: 1993), 180.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Creation as the Body of God,” in Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, ed. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee (The Golden Sufi Center: 2013), 235-241.

Image credit: Winter Leaf II: CAC Gardens (detail), by Nicholas Kramer.
The Divine Presence is happening in, through, and amidst every detail of life . . . penetrates all that exists. Everything in virtue of coming into existence is in relationship to this Source. Thomas Keating

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