The Creed – Part 12

“… through whom all things were made.”

This passage tells us that Jesus Christ cooperated with God the Father and the Holy Spirit in the work of creation. We see this in St. John’s gospel “…all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3) and St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians “… for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities — all things were created through him and for him.” (Col 1:16). Finally we should look at the Book of Psalms. In Psalm 33 verse 6 it says “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth.”
In this verse we see “the word of the Lord” and of course we believe that Jesus Christ is the word of God. Also, the “breath of his mouth” is the Holy Spirit.
The first two passages above are from the New Testament so of course they express Christian teaching. The psalm verse is from the Old Testament. When we, as Christians, read the Old Testament we do so from our Christian faith. And when we do so we find the foreshadowing of Christian belief, as in the psalm. Above.

“… who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven…”

So Jesus came down from heaven. What does this mean? To save us from what? We have to understand that God created Adam and Eve for eternal life and unity with Himself. At the very beginning in the Garden of Eden there was no sin or death.
However, Adam and Eve sinned. Because of their sin they became subject to death. This was not part of God’s original plan. We should note though that Adam and Eve’s subjection to death and exile from Paradise is not entirely a bad thing. If they had stayed in the Garden of Eden they would have eaten from the Tree of Life and become immortal. This sounds wonderful. However, it would mean that their sin would have become immortal. They would have lived eternally with the burden of their sin. And so the expulsion from Paradise is also an expression of God’s love. So to answer the questions asked above, Jesus came to save us from sin and death. So the path to eternal life with God is re-opened for us by Christ. We see this expressed in John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
We see this same idea in one of the prayers of the Divine Liturgy every Sunday which says “… whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
We must remember though, when we say “came down from” that heaven is not literally above our heads. Heaven is something outside of time and space. In a sense heaven is everywhere. As John the Baptist says in St. Matthew’s Gospel: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 3:2) and Jesus Christ Himself says in Mt 10:7 “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And as Christ says in Luke “…for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” (Lk 17:21). In other words, heaven is ‘breaking into’ or entering this world through the ministry of Jesus Christ. So in a very real sense we see a foretaste of heaven in this life. Above all, we participate in the Kingdom of Heaven in the Divine Liturgy where we worship God in the company of the saints and angels and receive the Body and Blood of the risen Christ.

Fr. John