Redemption of Creation and Creatures
QUESTION: Numerous times in your writings you have alluded to the animals and creation “being hard-wired” by God to be who and what they are. And you go on to say that you believe them to be redeemed by Christ and moving to an eternal existence. Explain that.
I see myself better in God than in myself. ~ St. Bonaventure
Let me preface my stance on who I believe God is. God always was. He is not from another. He was not made, begotten or created. He is the principle without principle. God created all that is. Because I believe this and I see in the order of the universe a divine hand, I defend it the way I see it, anything else is absurd.
In this faith of God as Creator, and through the capabilities He has given me as a human creature, I can come to know God as Creator, as His dependent, His child through Jesus Christ. St. Thomas Aquinas stated; Theology makes use of philosophy to counter those things which are said against the faith by showing either that these things are false or that they are not necessary. I adhere to this teaching. For me, any further explanation is not necessary and I realize that for some, no explanation could ever suffice. FAITH is required to ascend.
When I look at a beautiful work of art, I see the finished product of its creator the artist. I don’t know if the artist is tall or short, Christian or atheist, single or married, white or black, good or evil. What I do know is their work is beautiful and it inspires me.
In faith, the infinite canvas of creation stretches out into the ever evolving universe of its artist…God. Unlike the art created by man, where I cannot possibly get to know the artist, I can come to know God. He reveals Himself when I draw near to him in prayer and sacrifice. He reflects Himself to me in the beauty of my pets, the animals and creation. I can feel His love pervade me in quiet contemplation as the Holy Spirit enwraps me in heavenly rapture. And He gives me a visible image through the face of His Son Jesus.
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long a time with you, and you have not known me? Philip, he who sees me sees also the Father, John 14:8-9.
All creation comes into being through Jesus and returns to the Father through Jesus.
He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth…He is before all things,…For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven. Colossians 1:15-20.
It was from the mind of God that our universe came into being. Everything that exists was given an order, a natural order of existence and received God to the extent that it or they were capable of receiving. The beauty of creation reflects God’s love and is a gift to us. The whole of creation in general and every part of it in particular has a value given it by God. Its goodness is derived from God, freely given in love and possessing a “particular good” from its source, The Goodness. It was wanted and loved by God. It is not forgotten by God, nor will it be cast to dust.
The manifold perfections of creatures—their truth, their goodness, their beauty—all reflect the infinite perfection of God. Consequently, we can name God by taking his creatures’ perfections as our starting point, “for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their creator.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd. Ed., paragraph 41, Wis 13:5)
How much greater and deeper can we draw near to God than in being within the surrounding beauty of the natural realm?
We as humans, being the climax of God’s creation, were created in the “image of God,” being given a separate spiritual principle, the human soul to obtain knowledge, intellect and to choose our eternal existence, uniquely different from all other creatures. God created us to have dominion over the Earth as caretakers, to love Him, serve Him and care for the earth and our fellow man and then return to Him for eternal union. We were not created and told, here you go, have at it, use it, abuse it, and only think or yourselves for you are entitled to it all and please, serve only yourselves. (Seems to me that a few angels fell from Heaven assuming the same thing.) All that has been created has been given to us, though it became distorted by sin entering the world, thus becoming disfigured and in need of renewal and redemption. Redemption has been given to us in the life, death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven of Jesus Christ. We are asked to believe and accept Jesus as our Savior and then live life through His teachings.
Animals & Creation:
Animals and the whole of creation do not have the same spiritual principle as man. God has provided for them differently. He breathed life in them, a spirit, “hard-wiring” them with their own “particular good” a life and living blueprint of time and behavior, solely to act and be in a certain way by the providence of the Creator, dependent on the stewardship of mankind.
But you spare all things, because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things. Wisdom 11:26
God is the direct cause of the very being of every creature.
Upholding all things by the word of His power, Hebrews 1:3; And He is before all, and by Him all things consist. Colossians 1:17.
All of creation needs divine conservation. Every creature depends on God in the way it was caused to be. If a beautiful orange had no directing idea in its development or end, it would indifferently produce an onion. In the line of truth, we can’t say that a horse no matter how perfect it may be is the reason for the equine species, for then we would be saying that it is its own cause. The cause of the equine species was the divine idea of the horse. If the cause however, is from God, then its purpose will be preserved by its participation in God’s good.God is intimately involved in His creation and creatures by His personal sustaining of it. This implied value directs us in our care of it not only to preserve it, but to also restore it. Restore it? Yes! It is so very clear to me how it shares in the Redemption of mankind.
For the eager longing of creation awaits the revelation of the sons of God. For creation was made subject to vanity—not by its own will but by reason of him who made it subject—in hope, because creation itself also will be delivered from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God. For we know that all creation groans and travails in pain until now. Romans 8:19-22
For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Ephesians 1:9-10.
Where Jesus is there also will be ALL things united in Him! Why would we not believe or follow His teachings?
Behold, I make all things new! ~Jesus (Revelations 21:5)
St. Francis of Assisi & John Scotus
St. Francis came to know his relationship to the created world and the “lesser brethren,” the animals, our pets, the flora and fauna and even the elements as all interconnected to the one God. He relished in every creature and the whole of creation that Goodness which is their source. He identified with creatures as brothers and sisters and revered the Creator’s sacred work in them knowable to God alone.
He showed us that we cannot be an “I” without a “Thou.” It is in knowing the source of our lives that we know the truth of our lives—that we and all creation come from God and belong to God.
John Scotus teaches us that Jesus Christ is the meaning and model of creation and all creatures are made in the image of Christ. Jesus is the masterpiece of love, the greatest work of God. He is the blueprint of creation. Jesus is the perfect divine-human communion exemplifying the meaning and purpose of creation, the praise and glory of God in a communion of love. All creation is transformed into a communion of love centered on Christ. NOTHING is accidental, worthless or trivial.
And the lion shall lay with the lamb—It’s not just a metaphor
To know and love Jesus, I believe every person needs to pay attention to creation. Without doing so, we can and will lose our living contact with Him in His most widely extended body, our worldly creation and creatures and the universe.
Our universe is a deliberate thought of love emanating from the mind of God.
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