Thursday, July 9, 2015

To be created is characteristic of the nature of human beings

In Orthodox Theology we distinguish between the Created and the Uncreated. The first is what God has created, i.e. the world, all living being, which can be found in the Old Testament Book of Genesis. The Uncreated, however, is God Himself, i.e. He who is not created but the beginning of everything. St Irenaeus points out, in the following passage, this distinction, showing that God creates, whilst human beings are created. He explains:

‘How then will you be a god, when you are not yet made human? How perfect, when only recently begun? How immortal, when in mortal nature you did not obey the Creator? It is necessary for you first to hold the rank of human, and then to participate in the glory of God. For you do not create God, but God creates you. If, then, you are the work of God, await the Hand of God, who does everything at the appropriate time – the appropriate time for you, who are being made. Offer to him your heart, soft and pliable, and retain the shape with which the Fashioner shaped you, having in yourself his Water, lest you turn dry and lose the imprint of his fingers. By guarding this conformation, you will ascend to perfection; the mud in you will be concealed by the art of God. His hand created your substance; it will gild you, inside and out, with pure gold and silver, and so adorn you that the King himself will desire your beauty.   But if, becoming hardened, you reject his art and being ungrateful towards him, because he made you human, ungrateful, that is, towards God, you have lost at once both his art and life. For to create is the characteristic of the goodness of God; to be created is characteristic of the nature of human beings. If, therefore, you offer to him what is yours, that is, faith in him and subjection, you will receive his art and become a perfect work of God. But if you do not believe in him, and flee from his Hands, the cause of imperfection will be in you who did not obey, and not in him who called you. For he sent messengers to call people to the feast; but those who did not obey deprived themselves of his royal banquet [cf. Mt. 22.3].[1]   

[1] Against the Heresies, 4.39.2-3. 

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