The Orthodox Faith
For St Paul Orthodox Youth Society - Brisbane
By Fr. John Abdel-Karim
12 - THE CREATION OF
According to the description of creation in the Old Testament, in the Book of Genesis, man was God's final creation. That does not mean that God does not continue to create. It is written in the New Testament that Christ said, "My Father is working until now, and I am working (John 5:17)." This means that God continues creating. When we say that God's final creation was man, we are referring to the Creation that took place in six days.
Why was man the final creation of God? Simply because man belongs to neither the material world alone nor only to the spiritual world. He is comprised of two components: one, spiritual--the soul; the other, material--the body. And in this way, He is the connecting link between the spiritual and the material worlds. To understand this better, let us see what the Holy Scriptures say about how God created man.
God created all creatures with only one word. But in creating man, He followed a completely different method. God--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit--said, Let Us create man. "And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of Life. And man became a living being" (Genesis, 2:7). We see that God used a different method for man. And he made a special effort. He gave him soul and body and made him sovereign upon earth, to have authority over all earthly things.
The soul of man, as the spiritual component, is of great value, so much so that Christ tells us, "What profit is there to a man if he gain the whole world and loseth his own soul, or what giveth a man in exchange for his soul?" (Mark, 8:36-37). And the body, too, has great worth, because the soul acts together with it. The body is the temple of the spirit that dwells therein. "Do you not know that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you that you have from God?" (I Corinthians, 6:19) St. Paul asks. And the body, which is made of clay and is material, is destined not to be lost. It is sanctified by the Spirit of God that dwells within it. It receives the Body and Blood of Christ at the time of Holy Communion. With death it will return to the earth, but at the Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection of all, it will be resurrected. Resurrected. Reunited with the soul. Incorruptible and immaterial, to live forever with the soul near God. The two, body and the soul, will comprise for eternity each man's personal identity.
At this point we should pay attention to something. The Scriptures often speak to us about soul and spirit. They are one and the same. Man's spirit is his soul. It should not be confused with the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God, as the Holy Spirit is often called. Nor should we think that the soul and the spirit of man are two different things. The followers of Makrakis make this mistake, and think that man is tripartite. No. Man is comprised of two parts, not three. He is comprised of body and soul, or spirit.
That is how God created man. In order for man not to be alone, He gave him a helpmate and partner. He created Eve from Adam's side. How unique is the way in which woman was created. It was done this way so that there would be no doubt that woman is of the same nature and substance as man and so that there would always be cooperation between them. Man complements woman, and woman complements man; the two complement each other.
They do not live alone, but together.
Everyone is born of Adam and Eve. All who live today are their offspring. But it seems strange, then, that we can have whites and blacks, those of the yellow and red races. How could there be so many races and so many languages? Yes, it is true that we now have many races and languages. But this was not so at first. Even after the Great Flood, at the time of Noah, "All of the earth had one language and one voice" (Genesis, 11:1). This means that there was one race of people on the earth, and that they all spoke the same language. Then what happened? How were we fragmented? People multiplied. They became proud and egoistic. They began not to respect God. They decided to build the Tower of Babel.
Not for the Glory of God, but for their own glory.
Perhaps they thought that they could gaze upon God from there. Who knows? Perhaps they had in mind to climb higher than God, or to tear God down. Like the nonsense that some say today, that God is dead. And so it was that God came down and confused their languages, and people became divided into nations. With climatological conditions, their appearance and colour slowly changed, and they became almost unrecognisable to each other. They certainly do seem so different from each other today. They certainly often dislike each other. They are from the same Ancestor, Adam. From the same couple, Adam and Eve. From the same blood. St. Paul makes this very clear to us in Acts. He says that God "created every nation of man from one blood to live on all the face of the earth" (Acts, 17:26). God created man according to His image, intending him to be like Him. But we shall discuss this and other matters having to do with the creation of man in the next section.
Let us pray
Creator of the entire world, spiritual and material, the visible and the invisible, Creator of man, we praise You and thank You for Your creation and for sustaining and governing the world. It is You alone Who sustain and govern the world, with Your divine and eternal laws. It is You Who created man a dual-natured creature, a link between the spiritual and material world. It is You Who placed him a ruler over the earth. He disobeyed You, and has often continued his disobedience. He thinks that he is better able to care for himself than are You, although actually he is creating his own destruction. We fervently beseech You, intervene. Stop our downward rush. Raise us up. Through Your Holy Spirit, as on the day of Pentecost, call us all to unity with each other and with You.
You are our creator, our joy, and our ultimate goal