Reconnecting to Our Original Identity

Creation: Week 1

Reconnecting to Our Original Identity
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

For what can be known about God is plain . . . because God has made it plain. . . . Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible nature, namely, God’s eternal power and deity, have been there for the mind to see in the things that God has made. —Romans 1:20

God always and forever comes as one who is totally hidden and yet perfectly revealed in the same moment or event. The first act of divine revelation is creation itself. Thus, nature is the first Bible, written approximately 14 billion years before the Bible of words. God initially speaks through what is, as the Apostle Paul affirms above, before humans write words about God or from God.

It is interesting that in the biblical account, creation happens developmentally over six days, almost as if there was an ancient intuition of what we would eventually call evolution. Notice that on the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth days, God calls what was created “good” (Genesis 1:9-31); but at the end of the first and second days this statement is missing. The first day is the separation of darkness from light, and the second day is the separation of the heavens above from the earth below (1:3-8). The Bible does not say that God saw that it was good—because their separation was not good! It becomes the very function of religion to put darkness and light, heaven and earth back together in human consciousness. The precise reason that Jesus is the icon of salvation is because he holds these seeming contraries together so beautifully within himself, thus assuring us we can do the same.

Heaven and earth, divinity and humanity, have never really been separate of course, but we think so. The Bible calls this perceived state of separateness “sin”; “naughty” or so-called “bad” actions proceed from this state of consciousness. The essential task of all religion is to reconnect people to their original identity “hidden with Christ in God,” as Paul says (Colossians 3:3). This happens through forgiving and thus loving what first seems to be imperfect, unworthy, excluded, separate, wrong, or sinful. This is how we reunite that which the mind had begun to punish.

The Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) described, as only he can, the diversity of our createdness—forgiven and beloved:

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him. [1]

References:
[1] Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Pied Beauty,” Gerard Manley Hopkins: Selected Poetry, ed. Catherine Phillips (Oxford University Press: 1996), 118.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2008), 15, 29, 32-33.

Image credit: Winter Leaf I: CAC Gardens (detail), by Nicholas Kramer.
God always and forever comes as one who is totally hidden and yet perfectly revealed in the same moment or event. The first act of divine revelation is creation itself. Thus, nature is the first Bible, written approximately 14 billion years before the Bible of words. —Richard Rohr

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