Christ and Creation


When the Blessed Trinity created heaven and earth, the three Divine Persons knew that the Word Incarnate would never be satisfied with a cheap universe, a dysfunctional or disorderly mass unworthy of God's splendor and holiness. The universe must not be small, nor short-lived, nor uninteresting, drab, and boring. It should bespeak divine wisdom and foresight, as well as eternal delight and happiness. It should also be a consistent cast, like a bell, made once and never recalled; it should develop by internal laws of dynamics, not become a patchwork of unmatched pieces seamed together by divine interventions which would be unintelligible to humans, as well as disappointing to the keen human mind of the God-man. Scientists should be able to trace the footsteps of God consistently, as their knowledge develops. The effect should consistently be traceable to the cause throughout all of creation, except where God's hand reaches in from outside. The great "singularities" of the cosmos would be first of all its "Beginning," (the "Big Bang"), then life, then sentient life, finally man with body informed by spirit. The cosmos would remain in God's creative hands always, but usually He would leave it on automatic cause and effect modes.

If Christ is to be Primate of this world, by God's previous appointment as well as by virtue of Christ's merits, is it not fitting that He should be admitted to all the secrets of creation at the time of His human birth? For example, about the know-how and power of adjusting the "Big Bang" to its proper strength, so that the universe would develop just right? That is, the original created matter must make its expansion propelled by precisely adjusted forces:

For a given density of cosmic material the university has to explode from the creation event with a precisely defined degree of vigour to achieve its present structure. If the bang is too weak, the cosmic material merely falls back again after a brief dispersal, and crunches itself to oblivion. On the other hand, if the bang is too big, the fragments get blasted completely apart at high speed, and soon become isolated, unable to clump together into galaxies. In reality, the bang that occurred was of such exquisitely defined strength that the outcome lies precisely on the boundary between these alternatives (Paul Davies p. 91; see Augros and Stanciu p. 219).

The human intellect and will of Christ could not, of course, create the matter; but it would be no small joy for His human intelligence to be admitted to the secrets of the equation which made the big bang successful as the launching event of our universe. Similarly, Christ's humanity would be thrilled to accompany God as He supports the universe in all its sequences of development during the eons of time since the world began.

Scientists who support the theory of the "big bang", speak about its occurrence 6-13 billion years ago; or perhaps 25 billion (see James Brooks, Origins of Life, pp. 38-40). Although the age of the universe is not agreed upon, "the evidence for the Big Bang is considered overwhelming" (Brooks, 40). Our solar system was in place between 4,500 and 5,000 billion years ago; the earth then cooled and formed a crust some 4,500 and 4,000 billion years ago (Brooks, 59 ff.). The oldest-reported evidence for life on this earth is from stromatolites on the Warrawoona Group in Western Australia, dating about 3,400-3,500 million years old (Brooks, 109); whether the Isua rocks of South-west Greenland, dated 3,800 million years old contain signs of life is being studied and evidence is so far inconclusive (Brooks 116).

When God reached into His universe to create life - first vegetative and later sentient - this occasioned completely new intellectual challenges for exploring wonders of the cosmos. Scientists today delight us with discoveries about the DNA algorithms and the sequences by which life forms develop. No computer in the world has enough storage capacity to file the DNA instructions for the building and maintenance of our bodies (cf. Jerome Lejeune, Testimony p. 52). Is it not fitting that Christ would also learn, upon His entrance into our world, all about life and its beauty, which God had created especially for Him? Scientists now turn Darwin's theory on its head; they find not a brutish and raw battle for competitive survival in the animal world, but harmony and hierarchy, mutual support and helpfulness, cooperation, adaptation, automated self-government (see Augros and Stanciu, especially 192 ff.). What Darwin refused to see, poets and artists have always seen; and so have the common people who marvel at the order, consistency, art, and economy of our cosmic habitat. If we learn to appreciate the eternity of God by contemplating the immense age of the universe, perhaps we should learn something about the timelessness of our Primate also, upon Whom God modeled the universe.


We repeat, is it not proper that the God-man should be the centerpiece of the universe, the model, the measure, the blue print, upon whom God modeled all that He made? Should His human intelligence and love not be somehow consulted concerning the people He is to elevate and redeem? But in what manner can our time-bound intellects picture the God-man being influential in the work of creation before He was born as man in time? In much the same manner, we may say, as He also pre-merited grace for His Virgin Mother, and for all the saints who died before He was born. If He merited for them, then He also consented to save them, knowing them with His human mind, loving them with His human will. We can hardly imagine that the application of Christ's merits to Mary and the just before His actual birth, was an act of God with no human participation at all by Christ, albeit in our historical time the application was validated after His cross and passion. If Christ merited for them, then somehow the human Christ must have participated in applying these merits.

The question remains whether these human operations were an actual agreement by Christ after the Incarnation to a fait accompli, or whether there is something about eternity which made the agreement in time be actually present in eternity also.

I do not see a possibility that Christ's human nature could participate actively in applying His merits - and in creating the universe - before His human nature exited from God through creation. He did not, I think, merely make a repeat performance of actualities that He had previously performed in eternity. But after His human birth He could then look back with His created mind to see how God had made Him the centerpiece of the universe from the beginning. Through His obedience unto death, He then validated all that God had intended for the God-man from eternity. Thus time became melded into eternity in Christ. He could now appropriate the full view of eternity which covers time from end to end, and enjoy His timeless function there. From our platform in time, it appears that the Incarnate Christ could participate actively in the works of creation only in retrospect, nodding His approval to what God had already done for Him in advance. But from the viewpoint of eternity, once Christ had validated God's plans for Him by His passion, death and resurrection, His work in eternity contained previously in God's intention, became actualized in time after Christ had validated it after His Incarnation. It is in this way, I believe, that we must understand the writings of Paul and of other passages of Scripture. For example this passage of Ephesians, 1:3-4:

Let us give thanks to the God and Father of out Lord Jesus Christ. For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him.

Pope John Paul II apparently had this and similar passages in mind when he spoke to students at the Roman Major Seminary on February 24th, 1990 about their eternal vocation in Christ:

We are all - without exception - called in Jesus Christ. This is the great vision, the great vocational synthesis that comes to us most of all from St. Paul: we are all eternally called by God in Christ. In this universal call each person is called to holiness. Each person has his or her own call, each has his or her own small part.

If God chose us in Christ "eternally" and before the world was made, then the Mystical Body of Christ is destined for existence, in God's mind, from eternity. All the more is Christ the God-man in God's intentions from eternity, for it was through His human nature that Christ took us to Himself and sanctified us. All that intention was fixed and in place "before the world was made" in the eternal NOW which has no temporal sequences. With Christ, then, our own existence has a long history. With Him we were a created reality in God's intentions from eternity. Before the gears of time had begun to turn for us at our birth, God had prepared for us the good works we would do in Christ Jesus.

In the High Priestly Prayer, Christ prayed that His disciples may see Him in His glory, the glory He had before the world was made. Note that in this prayer Christ speaks in the eternal mode, disengaged from time. Although He had not yet shed His blood, He signified its shedding as already accomplished by instituting the Sacrifice of the Mass. He speaks to His apostles about events of eternity as though already accomplished before their time sequences had unraveled themselves on earth. He prays that the apostles may see "my glory" the glory which the Father gave Him before the world was made. If the Father gave Him glory in eternity, this must refer to the human Christ; the Father begot the Son, but gave glory to the Incarnate Word. Therefore Christ, using human speech, prays that the apostles be admitted to see His glory - also His human glory - as it was before the world was made: "Father! You have given them to me, and I want them to be with me where I am, so that they may see my glory, the glory you gave me; for you loved me before the world was made" (Jn 17:24).

That prayer was efficacious, of course. The disciples for whom He prayed now see Him in His glory. It is the glory of the Person of the Son; it is also the glory of the God-man as already envisioned and intended by God in eternity before His temporal birth.

We must speak with the logic of time sequences, however, so long as we are not in eternity. In this we follow the example of God: although the merits of Christ were foreseen to save the souls of the just who died before Christ, these souls nevertheless waited in Limbo until Christ rescued them after His passion and death. We must follow our familiar categories of time in referring to Christ's human existence. We note that Christ was born 2000 years ago, and before then He did not exist as a human being in the sequences of time. Perhaps we may compare ourselves to the second hand of a clock, living always in the present second, with past behind us and future ahead. Whereas God sees the entire 12 or 24 hours of the clock's face in one NOW. Whenever God engages us in time, He joins us on that moving and revolving second hand.

But since all time is one NOW in eternity, and the future in time is already present in God's eternal NOW, God could view the future work of Christ which was to be accomplished in time as already present in eternity; for God, then, Christ always was, is now, and always will be high priest forever, our sequences of time notwithstanding. In eternity He is the Alpha and Omega who performs the great Redemptive work of divinizing humans by sending the Spirit to those for whom He suffered and died in time. Didymus of Alexandria writes brilliantly how Christ divinizes humans when He sends the Spirit:

The Holy Spirit renews us in baptism through his godhead, which he shares with the Father and Son. Finding us in a state of deformity, the Spirit restores our original beauty and fills us with his grace, leaving no room for anything unworthy of our love. The Spirit frees us from sin and death, and changes us from earthly men we were, men of dust and ashes, into spiritual men, sharers in the divine glory, sons and heirs of God the Father who bear a likeness to the Son and are his co-heirs and brothers, destined to reign with him and to share his glory. In place of earth the Spirit reopens heaven to us and gladly admits us into paradise, giving us even now greater honor than angels, and by the holy waters of baptism extinguishing the unquenchable fires of hell.... Speaking quite literally ... John the Baptist says of Christ: "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (PG 39,667-674; Readings, Monday 6th Week of Easter.)

We turn to Proverbs to experience a bit of the euphoria which Christ could make His own after He had validated God's plans for Him by His passion, death, and resurrection:

The Lord created me first of all,
the first of his works, long ago.
I was made in the very beginning,
at the first, before the world began.
I was born before the oceans,
when there were no springs of water.
I was born before the mountains,
before the hills were set in place,
before God made the earth and its fields
or even the first handful of soil.
I was there when he set the sky in place,
when he stretched the horizon across the ocean,
when he placed the clouds in the sky,
when he opened the springs of the ocean
and ordered the waters of the sea
to rise no further than he said.
I was there when he laid the earth's foundations.
I was beside him like an architect,
I was his daily source of joy,
always happy in his presence
happy with the world
and pleased with the human race (Prov 8:22-31).

Paul has given us a fleeting vision of Christ the God-man who exists in an ineffable manner from eternity, who participated somehow in God's work of creation. It is a magnificent vision, consistent with His brief self-revelation on Mount Tabor, with His almighty show of power in the resurrection, and with His promise to come again to Judge the living and the dead. We tremble a bit with Peter in His awesome presence, but we take comfort in Paul's assurance that because He is both Son of God and our brother, "there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 8:39).

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