Archive for April 1st, 2009

In the Beginning

April 1, 2009


The previous post, a substantial quote from the work of Archimandrite Zacharias, a disciple of the Elder Sophrony, carries the reader back to the “Big Bang” or something to which it is compared. Beginnings are always interesting things – with even greater significance if seen in a proper theological light.

The Christian understanding of beginnings differs little if at all from its understanding of endings. Christ Himself is said to be the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. This can be taken simply to mean that “He is everything,” to which we could add an appropriate ‘gush’, but it is theologically far more than saying “He is everything.” 

It is to say that everything that exists finds its beginning and foundation in Him – and thus also has its purpose in Him. When each of us comes into existence, there is a biological purpose written into our DNA. With that purpose what may seem an amorphous single-cell is, in fact, a human being and not a fish, for instance. It is there from the beginning, not added later. Even so the universe from the moment of its existence had its purpose within it.

For He has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of His will, according to the purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth (Eph. 1:9-10).

So from the very beginning of creation everything made has been made for the purpose of being united together with Christ. St. Maximus writes of this and speaks of the union of the created and uncreated – that is – the union of creation with Christ.

When we are Baptized into Christ, as St. Paul teaches, we are Baptized into His death and resurrection – we are Baptized into union with Christ. Our eternal purpose takes a giant step forward towards the fulness of its realization. With every reception of Holy Communion we are united with Christ yet more fully. With every prayer, every act of obedience to His commandments we are united with Christ. 

Pascha (Easter) reveals this great mystery to us. There we see Christ, united to our death, raised from the dead, and thus raising us with Him. Created and Uncreated are united in Him. In His glorious ascension we see creation together with the Uncreated Divinity, raised to the heights and seated at the right hand of the Father. The Marriage Feast has begun.

Meditating on this reminds me of the old English phrase from the BCP: “As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”