Friday, November 13, 2015

Bringing Man Closer to God

Reading the Bible, it is evident how since the beginning of Creation, from the Book of Genesis, we identify the relationship between God and man. However, this has been, in many ways, a troubled relationship, whereby mankind has renounced the Creator, turned his back to God. Nevertheless, we see how the Divine plan has shown that God has always wanted to bring us close to Him, by sending the prophets, by helping His people, those who believe in Him. The greatness of this love is evident when He sent His own Son, the Second Person within the Trinity. Through Christ’s Passion, Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection we understand why God created the world and all of the Created existence. Below Vladimir Lossky gives a brief and interesting exegesis on the Coming of Christ to the world, explaining:

‘By his birth of the Virgin, He suppressed the division of human nature into male and female. On the cross He unites paradise, the dwelling place of the first men before the fall, with the terrestrial reality where the fallen descendants of the first Adam now dwell; indeed, He says to the good thief, ‘today thou shalt be with Me in paradise’, yet he nevertheless continues to hold converse with His disciples during His sojourn on earth after the resurrection. At His ascension, first of all, He unites the earth to the heavenly spheres, that is to the sensible heaven; then He penetrates into the empyreum, passes through the angelic hierarchies and unites the spiritual heaven, the world of mind, with the sensible world. Finally, like a new cosmic Adam, He presents to the Father the totality of the universe restored to unity in Him, by uniting the created to the uncreated. In this conception of Christ, as the new Adam, who unifies and sanctifies created being, redemption appears as one of the stages in his work, a stage conditioned by sin and the historic reality of the fallen world, in which the incarnation has taken place. Maximus does not raise the scotist question, that is, whether the Word would have had to become incarnate apart from the felix culpa. Less soteriological as a theologian, and perhaps more metaphysical than the other Fathers, he does not swerve at all from their practical way of thought; unreal cases do not exist for him. God has foreseen the fall of Adam and the Son of God was ‘the Lamb slain before the ages’ in the pre-existent will of the Trinity. That is why we cannot expect to understand anything whatsoever apart from the cross of Christ. ‘The mystery of the incarnation of the Word – said St Maximus – contains itself the meaning of all the symbols and all the enigmas of Scripture, as well as the hidden meaning of all sensible and intelligible creation. But he who knows the mystery of the Cross and the Tomb, knows also the essential principles of all things. Finally, he who penetrates yet further and finds himself initiated into the mystery of the Resurrection, apprehends the end for which God created all things from the beginning.’[1]

[1] Lossky, Vladimir, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, (Cambridge, James Clark & Co. Ltd., 1991), pp. 137-138. 

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