For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope: Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now.
All of Creation calls out for the Redeemer! What a marvelous truth this is. Yet, who can hear it? Who can believe it? If all matter cries out with one voice to our divine Savior, what responsibility does lay on human beings, we who bridge heaven and earth through our Lord Jesus Christ?
The first and second commandments are 1) Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and 2) Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The first commandment is fulfilled when live out our call to theosis, or deification, to enter into mystical union with God. Entering this union requires us to to living out the second commandment. To love our neighbors as ourselves, to love as God loves us. But who is this neighbor we are meant to love?
For the people of the Old Covenant, the term neighbor referred to other Jews. For those of the New Covenant, it encompasses all peoples — Gentiles and Jews, Samaritans and Pagans. Any and all peoples dead, alive, and yet to be born. The Church has taught this radical idea throughout the ages, and the concept of neighbor has expanded as rapidly as we sinners have been able to accept it. To date, the only neighbors we recognize have been other humans. But that of the other creatures who inhabit our God-given Earth? Those live beside us, below us, above us, and within us?
Human beings are comprised of the union between body and soul. We are not dead matter. We are not ethereal spirits. We are living matter. We are embodied spirits. Each one of us is a single, body-soul composite. Jesus Christ descended from heaven, became man, walked among us, died for our sins, and ascended into heaven to correct the connection between God and his Creation. He healed the breach that humanity had opened. He made it possible for man to enter into the life of the Holy Trinity.
What about other creatures? Can they be deified as well? The traditional answer has been no. Since non-human life do not have souls and were not made in the image and likeness of God, they do not have access to the salvation that we do. God became a man for a reason. This is true. Nonetheless, Creation still cries out for redemption! Nature groans in anticipation! What does it need to be saved from? What does it wait in anticipation of?
Adam’s fall debased all matter in the universe. What once was with God was suddenly without him. What we think of as dead matter — waters, lavas, rocks, gases, minerals, stars — and non-human living matter — microbes, mammals, plants, birds, bugs, fish, fungi — lost its Way. Before this collapse, matter served the Lord easily and in perfect harmony. The physical world was incomprehensibly ideal.
This former wholeness is what all matter cries out for. While the rest of Creation may not be able to enter into personal union with God as we can, it can be brought back into the right relationship with Him. Our Lord came to right the relationship between man and God. To wipe the grime off of man’s face and let the divine light of the Trinity shine forth in the darkness of a corrupted universe.
For man, this Transfiguration enabled the flesh to obey the spirit as it did before the Fall, when there was no conflict between the body and soul. For Creation, the Transfiguration could represent a similar return. A return to a time where matter served the God who created it without fail. A time when evolution clearly reflected the will of the Holy Spirit that drives it.
Perhaps, as God’s most prized created being, we can bring rest of matter into union with God along with us.