Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Greatest and Most Wondrous Polyelaios and the Renewal of the Whole of Creation

Commentary by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite on II St. Peter 3:13

I am not able, here, to pass over in silence the beautiful and fitting analogy put forth by some concerning the renewal of the whole of creation.

They compare it to a wise artist who is fabricating a great, wondrous, and costly polyelaios [the main chandelier in the Nave of the Church – Trans.] and who does not finish it in one sitting, but rather works on it for a great deal of time, now working on one small section of the polyelaios, now on another; and sometimes he fashions the middle bars of the polyelaios, and sometimes its oil lamps, sometimes its bulb, and sometimes he works on the parts that will hold the candles.

Once he has finished the entire polyelaios and all of the small and large parts it comprises, then he exhibits this wondrous polyelaios in the center of the market, with all of its numerous parts connected; and, seeing that it was made according to his design, beautifully and most skilfully, he rejoices greatly and is glad.

But all of the people, also, seeing it shining most brightly and fitted together with most wondrous skill, are enraptured and praise the artist who has fashioned it, calling out: “Well done! Well done!”

In the same way, God, the all-wise master craftsman and architect, in His desire to fabricate this greatest, most wondrous, and nearly infinitely-sized polyelaios of the entire universe, did not complete it at once, because the parts making up this great polyelaios are not only inanimate and irrational, but also rational and possessors of free will.

For this reason, He has been working on these parts of the world for 7,311 years now, and we do not yet know how many more years He will work on it until the end of time.

Now He fashions and finishes one part of the polyelaios, now another; that is, now He seizes one soul that has been kept pure by the practicing of the commandments, and now He seizes another that has been justified through repentance; and another He saves through His promises, while another by His threats; this person He delivers from sin through trial and chastisement, and that one He frees from the devil by His Grace, until He has assembled all of the small and great parts of which this most wondrous polyelaios of the world is to be comprised.

When these things have been completed and the heavens, the luminaries, the stars, the elements, the earth, and the bodies of the righteous have been renewed through the regeneration and resurrection, and through alteration and amendment, then God, the master craftsman, will fabricate His great polyelaios and equip it with all of its most exquisitely beautiful, resplendent, and most wondrous parts. That is, then he will assemble it with a heaven, where it will glow like a moon; with a sun, which will shine seven times more brightly than it presently shines; with a moon shining like the sun; with so many myriads of stars, where each one will shine more brightly than the moon; with an earth gleaming like pure gold and translucent sapphire; and with so many countless bodies of the righteous, where each one will shine like the sun, as the Lord has said.

And so the heavens, on the one hand, with so many innumerable suns radiating light onto the earth, and the earth, on the other hand, reflecting the same light to the heavens, will both make a successive series of light; from which succession the heavens and the earth and what is in between, that is, all things will appear as one unceasing, never-failing, and unsetting light.

Therefore, God, the all-knowing master craftsman of this brilliantly illuminated and most wondrous world, seeing that it has been made according to His design, which He predestined in his Divine plan before the ages, will be glad and rejoice, because the copy and image has become like unto the Prototype, and the creation has gained likeness with the Creator.

For while God saw, at the beginning of creation, that all of His creations were good, as the Holy Scriptures testify: “And God saw all the things that He had made and, behold, they were very good” (Genesis 1:31), yet He was not glad nor did He rejoice over them, because they had not yet received their final restitution. Indeed, He sorrowed over the corruption that they had taken on. When they will be restituted and renewed on the last day, then the Creator will be glad and rejoice over them.

Such did the prophetic eye of the Prophet-King David foresee, crying out: “The Lord shall rejoice in His works” (Psalm 103:22). And consider the fact that he did not say, in past tense, that “He rejoiced,” or, in present tense, that “He rejoices,” but rather, in future tense, that “He shall rejoice,” showing thereby that only then, at the renewal and final restitution of the world shall He be glad, as we said.

Not only God, but also all of the Angels and all of the righteous people, upon seeing the exquisite splendor and the marvelous harmony and beauty of this wondrous polyelaios, will rejoice with one accord and will marvel, such that from their great gladness and exceeding wonder, they will glorify God, the great master craftsman, with countless doxologies, Who has fabricated this most wondrous world, and with infinite thanksgiving will thank Him unto the ages of ages.

But the demons, the impious, and the sinful people will also marvel at the exceeding beauty of this new and resplendent world, to such an extent that they will grieve eternally, because the wretched ones were deprived of the enjoyment of this most exquisitely beautiful spectacle.