“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth”.
At first glance, one might think that this refers to the blue sky above us and the ground beneath our feet. Moving on to the second verse, however, we are confronted with “and the earth was without form, and void.” Further on, at verse 8 we find “and God called the firmament Heaven.” By this time we begin to understand that we are not simply speaking about the sky and our planet Earth.
The Holy Fathers explain that the “heaven” that was created first was the immaterial, rational world with the angels and, after this, the “earth” – the material, irrational world. And finally, as the crown of His creation, God created man to unite these two worlds and to rule over them.
There is no need to be puzzled by what appears to be a breach of physics here. The laws of physics were instilled by God into energy, space-time continuum and matter the moment they were created. There was no need for them to exist before that time. Einstein’s E=mc^2 which gives us the relationship between energy and mass, his theory of relativity, quantum mechanics and physics, space-time continuum — all these things that are bantered about today — were set into motion through God’s wisdom at the creation of the earth, the universe. “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all” (Psa 103:24 LXX).
God is far more powerful and intelligent than we can even begin to imagine. And the creation of His “heaven”, which has only been touched upon here, with its beings with intelligence and free-will, is far more magnificent than the creation of His “earth”. This is also why the soul cannot find satisfaction in only the things of the earth. Let us stand in awe, therefore, at the marvels of God’s earth, but let us strive more earnestly, for the higher gifts that reside in the heavenly realm.
Based on Saint Gregory the Theologian, Saint John of Damascus
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