Admitting Ignorance


Believers are often challenged with this question: How can you believe that God cares more for human beings than for other creatures, or any other part of creation? We have answered too confidently sometimes, almost as if we could know the mind of God. We know that God does love human beings, and the Cross and Resurrection show the extent and depth of that love.

But we do not know that God does not love the rest of creation in ways we cannot fathom. I remember a poem by Jorge Luis Borges in which the Word becomes flesh for every part of creation-a tiger for the sake of tigers, and so forth. While the particular Christian metaphor may not be relevant to the rest of creation-and Borges was himself apparently agnostic-this does point us toward a necessary humility. It is impossible for us to imagine how God delights in the Horsehead Nebula or in sea anemones, but it is also impossible to imagine that he does not.

Look at the delight in creation that shines in Psalm 104, which is crowded with trees, animals, people bringing forth wine and bread from God’s earth, and “the young lions roar for prey, seeking their food from God.” And these wonderful lines:

O Lord, how manifold are thy works!

In wisdom hast thou made them all;

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About the Author

John Garvey is an Orthodox priest and columnist for Commonweal. His most recent book is Seeds of the Word: Orthodox Thinking on Other Religions.