Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Creation in time or out of time?


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 S. Rey

S. Rey

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 41 posts

Posted 13 January 2010 - 12:02 AM

Dear all,

One issue pointed out by ancient critics of Christianity concerns the creation of the world, especially the time at which it took place. If God indeed created the world out of His Love, why did He create it when He did, and not before or always? Are we here to reckon time or should we leave it aside? I would be happy to hear answers from the Fathers or anyone on this subject.

Sylvain.

#2 Ryan

Ryan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 837 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 13 January 2010 - 12:41 AM

You might find some answers in St. Basil's Hexaemeron. Basically, time itself is created; it therefore has a definite beginning point. Here's a part where he talks about the beginning of time:

You may know the epoch when the formation of this world began, it, ascending into the past, you endeavour to discover the first day. You will thus find what was the first movement of time; then that the creation of the heavens and of the earth were like the foundation and the groundwork, and afterwards that an intelligent reason, as the word beginning indicates, presided in the order of visible things. You will finally discover that the world was not conceived by chance and without reason, but for an useful end and for the great advantage of all beings, since it is really the school where reasonable souls exercise themselves, the training ground where they learn to know God; since by the sight of visible and sensible things the mind is led, as by a hand, to the contemplation of invisible things. "For," as the Apostle says, "the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made." Romans 1:20 Perhaps these words "In the beginning God created" signify the rapid and imperceptible moment of creation. The beginning, in effect, is indivisible and instantaneous. The beginning of the road is not yet the road, and that of the house is not yet the house; so the beginning oftime is not yet time and not even the least particle of it. If some objector tell us that the beginning is a time, he ought then, as he knows well, to submit it to the division of time— a beginning, a middle and an end. Now it is ridiculous to imagine a beginning of a beginning. Further, if we divide the beginning into two, we make two instead of one, or rather make several, we really make aninfinity, for all that which is divided is divisible to the infinite. Thus then, if it is said, "In the beginning God created," it is to teach us that at the will of God the world arose in less than an instant, and it is to convey this meaning more clearly that other interpreters have said: "God made summarily" that is to say all at once and in a moment. But enough concerning the beginning, if only to put a few points out of many.



#3 D. W. Dickens

D. W. Dickens

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 287 posts

Posted 13 January 2010 - 04:13 AM

I have a follow up question. When we say Christ was made man "without change" do we mean just in his divine nature or also in his hypostasis? The scriptures say the lamb "slain before the foundation of the world." Does that mean that eternally the Begotten person of the Trinity intended to incarnate?

#4 Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 13 January 2010 - 07:10 AM

Hard to say since the LORD is not bound by time. I guess He felt like it?

#5 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 13 January 2010 - 12:08 PM

I have a follow up question. When we say Christ was made man "without change" do we mean just in his divine nature or also in his hypostasis? The scriptures say the lamb "slain before the foundation of the world." Does that mean that eternally the Begotten person of the Trinity intended to incarnate?


We are attempting, with an economy of already inadequate language to describe that which goes beyond understanding. Christ Jesus, did not "change" from being God into being man. Nothing was "added" to His being nor was anything removed. The specifics of the how and what that actually means lies beyond the comprehensive powers of this bear of little brain.

I believe that many Orthodox writers are of the opinion that the Incarnation would have happened regardless of the Fall. Better minds than mine can hopefully provide more satisfying information.

Herman the Pooh

#6 D. W. Dickens

D. W. Dickens

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 287 posts

Posted 13 January 2010 - 03:42 PM

I think you are correct Herman, that we are without all the tools we need to discuss this properly (and me more than most). That being said it seems important to protect the "event" of the Incarnation, but I've heard some folks online suggest that seeing the Incarnation as something that happened "in time" is wrong headed and potentially misleading. I was even told that it was the Incarnate Christ that appears in the Old Testiment, not the Father. Even though Christ wasn't Incarnate from our point of view. Christ being the Alpha and Omega, being all in all, etc... suggests that viewing things "chronologically" might be insufficient for viewing them "Christologically".

That's why I'm trying to find a way out of my self-imposed dilemma. If Christ's nature was unchanged, that means something very different (and more chronologically compatible) but if His hypostasis was unchanged then chronology becomes a distortion of truth. I'm fine with that, I'd just like to have an idea as to the wisdom of the Fathers on this.

#7 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 13 January 2010 - 05:37 PM

Yes, I also understand that many Fathers are of the opinion that all "manifestations" of "God" in the OT were, in fact, God the Son, and not God the Father. And the events of the life of Christ are outside of time, in that we do not "re-sacrifice" Christ at each and every Divine Liturgy, but each and every Divine Liturgy, we participate in His Once and for all times perfect sacrifice outside of time. I am way out of my league at this point and will say no more on the topic.

#8 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 14 January 2010 - 02:03 PM

D. W. Dickens wrote:

When we say Christ was made man "without change" do we mean just in his divine nature or also in his hypostasis?


I think that what we mean is that the Pre-eternal Logos did not change into humanity at the Incarnation. Instead we understand that the person of the Pre-eternal Logos assumed humanity at the Incarnation.

Thus 'without change' refers to natures: at the Incarnation Christ's divine nature does not change into or become human nature.

However in terms of person at the Incarnation the Pre-eternal Logos does change His manner of being since now He truly assumes human nature.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#9 Brian Patrick Mitchell

Brian Patrick Mitchell

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 719 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 14 January 2010 - 02:12 PM

Thus 'without change' refers to natures: at the Incarnation Christ's divine nature does not change into or become human nature.


Also, that there is no mixture of natures, resulting in the formation of a hybrid god-man.

#10 D. W. Dickens

D. W. Dickens

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 287 posts

Posted 14 January 2010 - 04:17 PM

Thus 'without change' refers to natures: at the Incarnation Christ's divine nature does not change into or become human nature.
However in terms of person at the Incarnation the Pre-eternal Logos does change His manner of being since now He truly assumes human nature.


Thank you, I think that helps me a great deal. I once heard it said (and I cannot find the reference now) that the Incarnation was the "cause" of creation itself. And I wondered if that were true, if that was revealing something about the Pre-eternal Logos. I know there is a commitment to the complete freedom of divine will. So that it would be improper to say things like the Pre-eternal Logos was "destined" or "must" Incarnate because of His begotten generation. Perhaps it rather speaks more about creation to say that it was made such that it would be "destined" for union with the only begotten Son.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users