While there are parts of this book that I disagree profoundly with, Bp. Ware also offers some keen insights.  Below are some quotes from his chapter on Creation in his book, The Orthodox Way.

"The image and likeness signify orientation, relationship.  As Philip Sherrad observes, 'The very concept of man implies a relationship, a connection with God.  Where one affirms man one also affirms God.'  To believe that man is made in God's image is to believe that man is created for communion and union with God, and that if he rejects this communion he ceases to be properly man.  There is no such thing as "natural man" existing in separation from God: man cut off from God is in a highly unnatural state.  The image doctrine means, therefore, that man has God as the innermost center of his being.  The divine is the determining element in our humanity; losing our sense of the divine, we lose also our sense of the human.

This is strikingly confirmed by what has happened in the West since the Renaissance and more notably since the industrial revolution.  An increasing secularism has been accompanied by a growing dehumanization of society.  The clearest example of this is to be seen in the Leninist-Stalinist version of Communism, as found in the Soveit Union.  Here the denial of God has gone hand in hand witha cruel repression of man's personal freedom.  Nor is this in the least surprising.  The only secure basis for a doctrine of human liberty and human dignity is the belief that each man is in God's image."

"First, man is able to bless and praise God for the world.  Man is best defined not as a "logical" but as a "eucharistic" animal.  He does not merely live in the world, think about it and use it, but he is capable of seeing the world as God's gift, as a sacrament of God's presence and a means of communion with him.  So he is able to offer the world back to God in thanksgiving.  'Thine own from thine own we offer to thee, in all and for all' (The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom).

Secondly, besides blessing and praising God for the world, man is also able to reshape and alter the world, and so to endue it with fresh meaning.  In the words of Fr. Dumitru Staniloae, 'Man puts the seal of his understanding and of his intelligent work onto creation...The world is not only a gift, but a task for man.'  It is our calling to co-operate with God; we are, in St Paul's phrase, 'fellow workers with God' (1 Cor. 3.9)..."

"The original sin of man, his turning from God-centeredness to self-centeredness, meant first and foremost that he no longer looked upon the world and other human beings in a eucharistic way, as a sacrament of communion with God.  He ceased to regard them as a gift, to be offered back in thanksgiving to the Giver, and he began to treat them as his own possession, to be grasped, exploited and devoured.  So he no longer saw other persons and things as they are in themselves and in God, and he saw them only in terms of the pleasrue and satisfaction which they could give to him.  And the result of this was that he was caught in the vicious circle of his own lust, which grew more hungry the more it was gratified.  The world ceased to be transparent-- a window through which he gazed on God-- and it grew opaque; it ceased to be life-giving, and became subject to corruption and mortality.  'For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt though return' (Gen 3.19)..."

Below are some of the quotes offered at the back of the chapter.

"In the immense cathedral which is the universe of God, each man, whether scholar or manual laborer, is called to act as the priest of his whole life--to take all that is human, and to turn it into an offering and a hymn of glory."  --Paul Evdokimov

"The saints must needs offer repentance not only on their own behalf but also on behalf of their neighbor, for without active love they cannot be made perfect.  So the whole univers is held together, and we are each of us helped providentially by one another."  --St Mark the Monk

"God does not insist or desire that we should mourn in agony of heart; rather, it is his wish that out of love for him we should rejoice with laughter in our soul.  Take away sin, and tears become superfluous; where there is no bruise, no ointment is required.  Before the fall Adam shed no tears, and in the same way there will be no more tears after the resurrection from the dead, when sin has been destroyed.  For pain, sorrow and lamentation will then have fled away."  --St John Climacus



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03/26/2014 4:46am

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