By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth. (Psalms 33:6)
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. (Psalms 19:1)
His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. (Habakkuk 3:3)
One of the most wonderful things to contemplate from the Scriptures are relationships. We have of course the mysterious relationship between Creator and creation. Then within the Godhead there is the relationship of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each of the Persons of the Trinity has a relationship with creation. In Genesis 1:1-3, the Spirit (the Breath of God) hovers over the face of the earth and when God speaks the Word (the Son of God), Light comes into existence, but not the light of the sun which does not yet exist.
“It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth . . .” (Exodus 31:17)
Then there is the relationship between heaven and earth and the relationship of both heaven and earth to the Creator. Heaven is the mysterious abode of God, and yet it is related to the rest of creation, all of it together is “not God” but created by God. According to Christ, “Heaven and earth will pass away” (Matthew 24:35), they are not eternal and yet God the Eternal One fills them with His glory and becomes united to them. Heaven and earth are both dwelling places. Dwellings are temporary places, and yet significant to our eternal God. We see the mystery in these two statements by father and son. King David declares part of the wonder and glory of God on earth, while his son Solomon realizes the inadequacy of the earth for fulfilling its role.
King David says: “O LORD, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides.” (Psalms 26:8)
King Solomon says: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27)
The exact relationship of God the Creator to God’s own creation defies easy explanation and yet we still can experience it, as we sing in the Liturgy:
“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. “
Heaven and earth, though created, are full of God’s glory. Both heaven and earth are full of God’s glory and both proclaim God’s glory to all beings who are capable of hearing and seeing.
Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:24)
Not only does God’s glory fill heaven and earth, the Lord God fills heaven and earth. God’s glory is not something other than God. Creation, that which is “not God” is filled by God’s glory by God’s existence. The relationship between God and that which is “not God” is a mystery indeed. For how can God in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28) fill the heaven and earth which are created and circumscribed by God? We are in God and God is in us! A relationship fully exemplified by Mary the Theotokos. Mary like Christ, each in their own way, personify the mystery of the interpenetration of Creator and creation.
Then we have St Irenaeus saying: “The glory (shekinah) of God is a human being fully alive.” So how can heaven and earth be full of a human being? The mystery deepens for it is Christ as the incarnate God who fills the universe with Himself. So St Paul can write: “and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith . . . that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.” Christ fills not only the entire universe but each of us.
all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD (Numbers 14:21)
Blessed be his glorious name forever; may his glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen. (Psalms 72:19)
Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:2-3)
Our very existence makes us part of the mystery of God’s own relationship with all of creation. We experience the glory of God, perhaps most intently and clearly in the Liturgy, but that should open our eyes to seeing God’s glory in all of creation including in our fellow human beings. It is also why the Fall, sin and the fallen world are so painful to us for they obscure the glory of God reducing everything to mere materiality void of its natural spirituality.
Yours, O LORD, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. (1 Chronicles 29:11)