God Created the World for the Theotokos

HarpGloryThe ENZIRA SEBHAT is an Ethiopian Poem dedicated to the Virgin Mary written in the middle ages.   Fr. John McGuckin, who translated the work into English, notes that:  “A rabbinical tradition stated that it was on account of the beauty of the Torah, pre-existently conceived by God, that the Creator made the world.”  God in this tradition apparently creates the world as a place to display the Torah in its beauty and glory and as a place for humans to enjoy and live by its beauty.  McGuckin points out that the Ethiopian author of the poem  “sees God finding in the beauty of the Theotokos a motive not only for his own entrance into creation, but for the whole conception of the world order. There is also a sense intended that the week, as it is liturgically conceived as a way of dividing up the praises of Mary in the churches, finds its true fulfillment.” 

In the beginning of creation God saw every day that the creation was good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25) and once God had created humans, God declared creation to be very good (Genesis 1:31).  The beauty that God saw at the beginning, He sees in the Theotokos which becomes God’s own motivation for the incarnation of His Son.  The Virgin Mary has all the beauty which God always wished for His creation and so God enters into that creation through her, thus fulfilling His intention for creation from the beginning.  In fact as the poem has it, God created the entire cosmos for the Theotokos, so that her beauty would be visible to all.   When God looks upon the Virgin Mary, He sees the very one whom He desires to be the human mother of His Son.  God sees her purity and beauty and comes to dwell in her.

The Ethiopian poet writes:

“Justly are you the beginning of the creation of this world,

For you are at once the foundation and the gateway of the whole endeavor.

O Dawn which knows no eventide,

It was on your account that God created the heaven and the earth,

The sea and its depths, the sun, the moon and stars,

The times and seasons, the winter and summer,

Days and Sabbaths, festivals and jubilations,

All the worlds, whether visible or hidden.

It was on your account that God instituted the passage of the days of the week.

(The Harp of Glory, pgs. 83, 117)

15th Century Ethiopian Icon

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