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Elias Economou

An Orthodox View of the Ecological Crisis

4.4 Mankind's Service to God through Creation.

God communicates through His creation with man, teaching him His existence and dominion over creation. But, only Μan possesses, through his special creation, the ability to seek his Creator and to articulate by worship and actions his respect for the Creator. We read in the Minutes of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787 A. D.), Leontius of Constantia's statement: "Ι, through heaven and earth and sea and woods and stones and through relics and temples and the cross, and through angels and men and through the whole creation, visible and invisible, offer to the Creator and Lord and Builder alone obeisance and adoration. Not by itself does creation offer directly obeisance to the Builder, but through me (man) the heavens declare the glory of God, through me the moon worships God, through me the stars glorify Him (Mansi 13:48-49).

The material elements used in the worship, according the Apostolic Tradition of the Orthodox Church, are means of recognition of God's Creation. This recognition leads to the sanctification of creation, to the glory of God, the Creator.

Throughout the centuries Orthodox Theology has taught that the deification of the natural world is idololatry and the overdependence upοn it practical materialism. The patristic teaching, based οn St. Ρau1's declaration that ungodly "changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen", ( Romans 1,25), criticizes the misuse of creation and warns the believers to avoid dependence οn the increase of material goods. Το subdue human life to the material is the same as to reverse God's blessing of dominion over the material creation (Gen. 1,28).

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