CREATION, LIFE AND GLORY
Looking upward toward the heavens on any bright day we see the faithful sun, shining so brightly that we can only look with a quick glance. We may see fluffy white clouds, and observe light or heavy rain, hail, snow, and sometimes we see stars and the moon in daylight. Looking upward at night, we see the brightly shining moon and the sky with many bright stars. The quietness and darkness of night help us to sleep and rest peacefully, and we are content with everything. But what we see has a much greater meaning than appearance.
Looking back down on the earth, we visualize many green valleys, rolling hills and mountains, rivers streams, lakes and ponds realizing that they provide us with adequate water, irrigation of plants for food, and fruits of the earth and fruit trees, truly we lack nothing that we need. We see flowers of various beautiful colors sending forth many sweet aromas. Looking further we see countless species of birds and poultry, cattle who supply milk, cheese and meat products. Bees are busy collecting nectar for honey and spiders are industrially forming their webs. The list of our many blessings is huge and difficult to comprehend in its entirety. One thing however stands out which mystifies many scientists and wise men. This is the various forms of life seen every which men cannot duplicate or produce, and they are recipients of their own lives from parents. Life is important and we desire to stay alive and if it were possible to never die.
Observing creation reveals to us three kinds of life, plant life which grows from shoots and seeds, lives for a time and eventually dies; animal life which is a higher form of life, for they are mobile and seek satisfaction for their souls. They not only eat and drink but also mate and reproduce new life like themselves, and eventually they die.
The highest form of life beyond any comparison which includes freedom, intellect, feelings and the ability to use other forms of life for sustenance, also they have enjoy many relationships with others who share their form of life. This is human life! The souls who enjoys this life, has the outstanding qualities of free will or freedom, and are able to decide and choose as they wish. This freedom which man enjoys allows him to make his own moral decisions. The intellect given him helps him to distinguish between good and evil and truth and falsehood.
An important thing is that wherever there is freedom there is always responsibility as can be seen within all societies of free men. In freedom laws are formulated, courts are established, judges selected to interpret and apply laws with their rewards or penalties as well as to insure proper use of both the law by law enforcers and men’s freedom. Laws are necessary among free people, to insure maintenance of individual and collective freedom and to protect for the good order of society wherein people desire to dwell together in tranquility.
There is another form of life which many of us acknowledge and anticipate, for it exceeds every other form of life. This is everlasting life! This is life without end which includes promises of life without tears or sorrow or pain, but only happiness. There certainly is life beyond death and there is firm hope of gaining this life which has motivated tremendous sacrifices among countless men. No matter how much we search there is no greater goal to strive for than everlasting life, and it derives from one source which is the Lifegiver Jesus Christ. He is the one who would restore the deathless or eternal life which was lost when death entered the human race due to violation of the law by the first man and woman and our own additional sins.
Sin entered through the sneaky deception of man by the Devil, whom Christ refers to as the ruler of this world. He is the root source of all the wickedness that exists and continuously inspires men to anger, hatred, crime, war and every other evil. When he deceived the first man and woman who chose to do his will not heeding God’s commandment, they were trapped under his control, and he utilized death and the threat of death as a weapon which caused many men to do his evil will. Under the threat of death and death and man’s fear of death, he acquired much authority and tyrannized the human race.
Caught in this trap man was not able to escape sin and death under the law. However the law forbade putting a innocent and sinless man to death. This happened when Enoch was translated without death. The Son of God, the sinless man Jesus Christ, fulfilling the Father’s plan would become a sacrifice and man’s Savior according to His plan. Though sinless and innocent He would undergo death and nullify its power and authority which Satan used to spread his malicious evil among the whole race of men.
Christ spoke to His disciples about His being put to death by crucifixion but they did not yet understand. When the time came His plan went into effect as follows. Due to Christ doing only good among men the Devil’s hatred was roused against Him in the Scribes and Pharisees and the high priest and clerics. Carrying out the Devil’s will, they would make be sure that He would be sentenced to death. Here we can see the trap which the Lord would use. He offered no defense and maintained silence before Pontius Pilate and was unjustly sentenced to death. But Christ being the life of all men, having been put to death unjustly contrary to the law, could not remain dead, in fact He had control over both life and death. Then according to His will after three days He arose from the dead having put death to death, and He granted eternal life to those who would come to Him in faith, loving Him and keeping His commandments. The Resurrection of Christ witnesses their own resurrection and this fills the hearts of believers with joyous exultation and boundless and indescribable hope. The world can only offer us a short life followed by certain death, but Jesus, having destroyed the authority of the devil and death, then grants life without end and eternal happiness to all the faithful in His heavenly Kingdom.
When we look at creation now, we can see that Christ is infinitely brighter than the sun; the Cross is more powerful than anything in existence; the Holy Spirit rains down grace. We see the Church reflecting the Light of Christ illuminating the hearts of men. In the firmament of the Church we see the glorious saints and martyrs shining more brilliantly than the many stars that brighten the night.
The Orthodox Church is much more beautiful than the physical world and everything else therein, and it reflects the glory of Christ who dwells within her reigning as the Head of the Church which is guided by the Holy Spirit whom He sent as Comforter and Spirit of Truth, reminding us of all that Christ taught and did during His time on earth. The Spirit holds the faithful together in piety and mutual love. The heavens and earth portrays objects of the heavenly kingdom. When we see the sun we should immediately see also the Son who is infinitely brighter and warms the heart while enlightening the souls of men with the true light.