Thursday, March 10, 2011

Death and Reality

I was reading in Romans this morning the part that says, “They changed the glory of the incorruptible God for an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
I was wondering if the robe of God’s glory that Adam and Eve lost in Paradise was the ability to see God’s energies, or to clearly see God’s revelation of himself in created things.  That is, when Adam and Eve were clothed in the glory of God, and Adam looked at Eve, he saw her as a revelation of God or a manifestation of God’s creative energies.  Adam saw in Eve the Eve-ness of God.  Because God spoke creation into being, all creation is a word of God. By interacting with what God had created, man could know God because the creation reveals God.
When Adam and Eve began to see according to the serpent’s deceit, instead of according to God’s revelation, they began to change God’s glory into an image of something else.  So the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of good and evil, instead of being seen according to God’s glory (as revealing that aspect of God that God created it to reveal), was seen in the image of “corruptible man,” or in the image of the Deceiver. 
When man begins to see in nature what is not there, then death must enter because what man sees is not real.  


Barbara said...

Dear Fr. Michael,

I just read this quote on glory today and your blog reminded me of it. So often we say the word, "glory" (every time we say the Lord's Prayer) and we don't really think about what it means. It was a blessing to be encouraged twice today! This is what Fr. Alexander Schmemann said,

"How illusory, brief, and fragile is any glory in this world. It seems that what Christ sought least of all was glory. But if there is any profound and indestructible glory, it is only the one that ignites and burns wherever he is--the glory of goodness, the glory of faith, the glory of hope. He is first of all the one who suddenly becomes light-bearing, who himself radiates a light unknown on earth. And gazing upon him we understand the poet who exclaimed: 'He speaks with the glory of the stars, and with the beauty of the first created day!' We understand not with our intellect, but with our whole being, that which man seeks and thirst for so passionately in all his turmoil and strife: he longs to be on fire with this light, he desires that everything would shine with this heavenly beauty, that everything would be filled with this divine glory.

I like that the change in being came before the loss of signt, and that the way to regain our sight is again a change in being.

Would you say that this is what lent helps us do and remember? It prepares us for seeing the ultimate glory/reality of Pascha?

Fr. Michael said...

Dear Barbara,
Exactly. By not looking (with any or all of our senses) on that which is around us as something to be consumed, but rather something to be appreciated, contemplated and loved, we grow in our ability to appreciate, contemplate and love. Whether or not the Resurrection of Christ is merely a fact that we accept or something we glory in depends a great deal on the condition of our senses. One of the hymns of PASCHA says, "Let us cleanse our senses that we may behold Christ shining like lightening with the unapproachable light of Resurrection." In lent we cleanse our senses to see Christ.