The principle: Everything proceeds from the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit, takes us back to the creation of the universe.
Creation is the call on the part of God for new existence from non-being, that is, from nothing to being. This call marks the start of God’s self-communication with his creatures.
God created all beings through a free and loving act of his will. This means the Father created everything that exists outside of the divinity through his Word in the power of the Spirit.
The Church’s belief in the creator Spirit is attested to in the creeds and in liturgical texts. Nicene Creed, Come Holy Spirit, Veni, Creator Spiritus.
GOD THE FATHER CREATES THROUGH THE WORD IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT
God creates everything, giving existence and life through Christ in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the divine person through which God the Father immediately animates life. He is the final “touch” through which God unites with his creatures, saves them from non-existence, sustains them, renews them, and directs them toward their fulfillment. Being in the Spirit equals being in “life.”
There is a fundamental connection between Spirit and life. The term “Spirit” means more than its immediate meanings breath, wind). It indicates a life-giving force, the energy at work in these actions. It is the “breath” of God that allows the realization of salvation history from the beginning of creation.
In the OT God creates through his word and action Gen 1:7-16; 25-26). “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their hosts by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 104:29-30). Also Gen 1:1-2 “a wind from God swept over the face of the waters”).
In this way, the Holy Spirit sustains not only the cosmos in freedom and love against all the destructive and chaotic powers but also constitutes the very power of the new creation, which is awaited in messianic hope by a people with a new heart (Ezek 37:1-14; Joel 3:1ff). According to St. Basil the specific work of the Spirit in creation is that of perfecting it and confirming it. The Father orders, the Word creates, the Spirit confirms (perfects).
THE SALVIFIC MEANING OF CREATION IN THE SPIRIT
Creation in the Spirit means that creation is marked by divine goodness. In creation the Holy Spirit acts so that every creature can experience the essential mystery of life: the communion of human beings with God, with others, and with all of reality.
In this sense, the salvific value of creation is twofold: first – self-communication of God, and glorification as ultimate good for human beings; second – the world participates in the goodness of God and exists in God.
CREATION IS “GOOD” EXISTING IN THE SPIRIT AND FOR THE SPIRIT
If creation is the word of God made into a reality, we can understand how it owes its existence to the contemporary action of the Holy Spirit. This means that the world exists in virtue of the creator Spirit. Creation in the Spirit, in this way, becomes a manifestation of the “Word” through which and for which the Father created the universe.
In the plan of God the first creation forms the stage for the “new creation” accomplished by Christ at his Second Coming (Parousia). All God’s creating acts are to be read in the light of the creation of the Son, in which every person is called to a new and eternal covenant.
In the NT, Jesus is the mediator and finality of creation. Creation and salvation gain in Christ a profound unity, in the very mystery of the resurrection. Animated and drawn together in his Spirit we press onwards on our journey towards the consummation of history which fully corresponds to the plan of love: “to gather all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth”
The goodness and beauty of the universe is spread in the world by the Spirit. The Spirit is the one, who as the divine artist, puts “order” in the world and renders it “beautiful.”
In this sense the world is a “theophany,” a sign of God’s presence and beauty. Thus, the world is considered “sacred,” a “mystery,” a sacrament, a signifying reality which refers back to him whom it signifies.
The intervention of the Spirit is necessary to “decode” the word and see with the “spiritual senses” the mystery hidden in the Word. The action of the Holy Spirit is necessary because only through his grace is this possible.
Contemplating nature constitutes a great help in nourishing in us the “remembrance of God.” This means having that sweet and subtle perception of the surrounding and involving presence of God in life and history, perceived also through the signs of his work in creation.
This involves contemplation of creation practiced by the “spiritual senses,” those new senses given to Christians by the Spirit to understand the divine traces hidden in every being, that is, the wisdom and goodness of God the creator who forged everything through his Word. Then does nature truly become an “open book” capable of making known God and his design of love.
The world is also the expression of a declining, devastated, and oppressed creation waiting for that final liberation that only a new creation in Christ can accomplish. Human beings, “turned in upon themselves,” are continually tempted to become closed to the action of the Spirit, constantly put creation in danger, and tend to hide the “goodness” of the world which resides in its existence “in the Spirit.”
On the contrary, creation is a reality open to the salvific plan of God to which every person is called to cooperation in transforming the world into a hospitable and communal place. The action of the Holy Spirit is necessary to sustain the world’s goodness and favor its development. Coming to help us is the Spirit, who prevents us from snuffing out his creative action and who, inspiring hope in a new creation, aids in the work of preserving creation.
The Jubilee could be an occasion for discovering that the world is involved in Christ’s redemption. Given the violent ideology of the myth of progress, people’s desire for power makes them think they can reduce the world to exploitable energy deposits without any respect for the rhythms and balance of nature.
This is not the Christian vision of the world. The meaning of the creation story (Gen 2:15) is in humanity’s safeguarding and taking care of that which has been created. This is a responsibility plunges people into the salvific dimension of creation itself.
The aim of creation is to make possible the history of the covenant between God and humanity, which reaches its culmination at Easter; the world finds its consistency in God. If the world is “hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3), then all of reality is not the exclusive domain of humanity, but a network of relationships in which every creature is sustained and nourished by triune love. Because of this, the responsibility of humanity for the world is an ethical choice in which all are committed to give an accounting to the Creator for their own relationship with nature.
The Spirit is in action to redeem creation even if, for the moment, it “groans and suffers the labor pains of birth” along with humanity, awaiting the complete and definitive redemption (Rom 8:22). The love for creation (ecology) does not stem from a simple aesthetic admiration or from the usefulness that can be derived from it or from the necessity to save the “ecosystem.” It is found in concern for the extinction of the very essence of humanity.
Creatures are no less than the fruit of God’s call to existence in order to realize the goal of full communion with all things, including their Creator. The fact that the world has a purpose presupposes that among created beings there exist those with their own conscience and freedom.
Among all the creatures, only human beings are free and therefore only they can become, in Christ, through the power of the Spirit, the mediator in achieving the destiny of the world. Human beings are the priests of the cosmos because only they are able to return to God as created beings for a personal encounter with him as a conscious response to him who, with his Word and Spirit, sustains humanity.
All creatures, through human beings, thus achieve the destiny of their existence. Because of this, human beings are in a mysterious communion with God, not only because they are free and loving fruit of his goodness but also because they have the vocation to respond freely with love to the creative word of God given to all creatures.
As what Alyosha Karamazov said: “My brothers, love creation in its entirety and in its elements: every leaf, every sunbeam, the animals, the plants. And loving everything you shall understand the divine mystery of things. Once understood, you will comprehend it better every day. And you will end by loving the whole world in a universal love.” (The Brothers Karamazov)
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