The Nature of Creation
The world has its own distinctive existence, its own distinctive nature, its own distinctive life. And at the same time its created nature does not remain outside God, because there is no such thing ontologically as extra-divine existence. The world abides in God, although it is not God.
As the subject of Divine Providence, the world is not only a thing or an object in the hands of God, — it has its own distinctive existence, given it by God at Creation, its own distinctive nature, its own distinctive life. And at the same time its created nature does not remain outside God, because there is no such thing ontologically as extra-divine existence. The world abides in God, although it is not God, and God’s relationship to the world in Divine Providence is defined not as the unilateral action of God on a world lying outside of Him and foreign to Him, but as the synergy of the Creator with creation. For this, both parties to the synergy must, first of all, possess their own reality and independence, but also mutual connectedness and dependence, yet these are completely absent in all shades of predestinationism. To become independent, the world must be divine in its positive foundation. That is what manifests it, because the world is created Sophia, the fullness of divine thoughts and powers, which being immersed in non-being in the divine act of creation, have acquired other-being for themselves in the world. The one Sophia and the one divine world exist both in God and in creation, although in different ways: pre-eternally and in time, absolutely and relatively (creationally). The Sophianicity of the world is the divinity of its foundation; its createdness is the relativity and limitedness of its existence. Thanks to the divinity of its foundation, the world preserves its authenticity in the eyes of God, although it is created out of nothing; thanks to its createdness it preserves the independence of its being, also in the eyes of God. At creation, God gave the world true reality which he had laid down for all ages and for the Creator Himself. By virtue of this divine reality, and by virtue of this insuperable distinction, the world exists both for itself and for God, and the relationship between them cannot be anything other than of the order of synergy, however deep, intimate and multi-faceted it be, to the point where the two natures merge, the Divine and the created, and to the deification of mankind in Christ and the Church. For this synergy to be complete, it is unavoidable that the two sides should not only have their reality, but moreover be like each other or correspond to each other. In man, God created His own image in all its reality, gave it life, made it His other (friend) for Himself. But at the same time, the created world is not capable of an independent, extra-divine life, it is contained in the hand of God, and, for all its authenticity, cannot fall away from God, whilst preserving the fullness of its being. The devil tempted our forebears to such a falling away from God and to the self-legitimizing of the world (“ye shall be as Gods”, “Adam is become as one of us” Gen. 3: 4,22 AKJV) and the world is sick and suffering in that fall, it needs redemption and restitution, which are given through Christ. Therefore, the world cannot be left outside the providence of God, to its own devices; God helps the world to become itself, instilling in it all the fullness of the Godhead, and the crown of this synergy of God with the world, the “economy” of our salvation, is the Incarnation. God is acting ceaselessly in the world, yet never turning it into a mere object or thing, not depersonalizing it and not depriving it of its own life, which was given it forever and from the outset at creation by God’s omnipotence. Having created the world in omnipotence, God willed to constrain His own self, and to enter upon the path of synergy with the world. While the ways of God in the world do not cease to be infallible in their effecting of the grace and wisdom of God, they are already ways not of creation but of providence, i.e. of the synergy which is the image of God’s love for creation. God achieves His aims not in spite of creation, but with it, respecting its creaturely freedom and acknowledging its creaturely independence. God the Provider is the God of history, living together with the world. This shared life of God with the world acquires ultimate clarity in the events of the Incarnation, the birth of Christ, His life, death and Resurrection, Ascension and sitting at the Right Hand of God, His second and glorious coming.
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