… THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, AND OF EVERYTHING VISIBLE AND INVlSIBLE.
With fear and trembling let us peer through the slightly parted curtain of eternity. The feeble hand of man has not parted this curtain. It has been parted by Him - the One, Living, and True God. Who else could have parted it, if not He? All the minds of men together with all the powers under heaven could not have budged this curtain even a hair.
He had mercy on men and moved the curtain. And three shafts of light flashed on the people who bear His image in themselves. And the chosen people beheld this and trembled with holy joy. He revealed Himself as the Incomparable One - comparable only to Himself. The One, Living, and True God revealed Himself as the Father, the Almighty, the Maker.
A restless thought pops into your mind with the questions: "Whose Father?" and, "At what point in time did He become the Father?" He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and He has been the Father from eternity. Before the creation of the world He was the Father. Before time and temporal beings, before the angels and all the heavenly powers, before the sun and the moon, before the dawn and moonlight, the Father begot His Only-begotten Son. When speaking about the Eternal One, do we dare utter the word "when"? From the time when God is God, from that time God is the Father. But in Him there is no "when", because in Him there is no cycle of time.
The most High revealed Himself first as the Father and then as the Almighty and the Maker. This is clear to you who are chosen. His fatherhood is in relation to the created world, visible and invisible. Therefore, He is first the Father, and then the Almighty and the Maker. In eternity no one has been able to call God "Father" except His Only-begotten Son.
And in time? Not even in time, across ages of ages no one. Listen to the ancient history of the human race and take it to heart. It fills your mind with light, and your soul with joy. After the world was created, and after Adam was driven out of Paradise on account of mortal sin, the repulsive sin of disobedience to his own Creator, all the way to the time when the Son of God descended to earth, no mortal dared to call God his father. His most splendid chosen ones used to address Him with very great names. They called Him "the Almighty", "the Judge", "the Most High", "the King", and "the Lord of hosts", but they never used the sweet name of "Father".
The best people in the human race could feel like the creatures of an almighty Creator, like the pottery of a divine Potter, but never like children of a heavenly Father. This right was given to men through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not a right given to all people, but only to those who have received Him. "To all who received Him,... He gave power to become children of God" (John 1:12): that is, to be adopted and dare to address God with the words: "Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:5-6, Rom. 8:14-16)!
Christ himself revealed this adoption - a gift of God's mercy - and offered it to men at the very beginning of His ministry in the world. He revealed to men that from that moment they could call God their Father when He said: "Pray then like this: Our Father, who art in heaven" (Matt. 6:9). And from that time until today many millions of children and adults on earth's sphere murmur day after day: "Our Father!"
The evil spirits have no right to call God their Father. And inpenitent sinners are not permitted to utter that sweet word: "Father!" Only to the righteous and the penitent has this right been given, so that in their prayers they can cry out to God from their whole heart and soul: "Our Father!" Therefore, those who wage war against God and God's law, whether by thoughts, words, or deeds, are in no way permitted to address God by that comforting and sweet name:
The three hundred and eighteen Holy Fathers of Nicaea, who composed the Creed of all you who bear the image of God in yourselves, who are chosen, first called God "Father", and then "Almighty" and "Maker". They did this enlightened by the Holy Spirit of God. They did this first, because the Most High is the Father of Christ the Lord before time and the creation of the world; and second, because the incarnate Son of God brought as the first gift to men - to His followers - adoption, that is, the right to be able to call His Father their Father. Our Father! What joy beneath the sun and the stars could cheer your hearts more greatly, 0 chosen people, who bear the image of God within yourselves? And not only has the Lord, the Son of God, permitted you to call the Most High, One, Living, and True God your Father, but He has even commanded you: "And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven" (Matt. 23:9). Oh your joy - joy ineffable! True fatherhood lies in heaven, beyond the sun and the stars. Fatherhood on earth is just a shadow and a symbol.
Your joy also lies in the fact that your heavenly Father is also the Almighty and the Maker. The Holy Fathers of Nicaea, enlightened by the Holy Spirit of God, called the Most High first the Almighty and then the Maker. "Does it not seem more natural," you will say, "to create something first and then rule over it mightily; and that one should therefore first call the Most High the Maker and then the Almighty?" It only appears so, but do not judge by appearance when you contemplate the True One. Look, God is indeed the Almighty first. Before He created heaven and earth, God the Almighty carried within Himself the master plan of creation, from the greatest to the smallest detail, and all forces, all laws, all systems of order. Without this wise almightiness, how would creation have been possible and feasible?
And so, after the magnificent Creator created both worlds, visible and invisible, He continued to be the Almighty and in His irresistible might He continued to exercise absolute control over all the forces, laws, and systems of order in both worlds. "Not a single sparrow will fall to the ground without your Father's will," confirmed the Son of God (Matt. 10:29). "And not a hair on your head will perish" (Lk. 21:18), again without the will of God the Almighty. With His mighty arm, God even commands adverse and God-fighting forces. All their efforts against His laws and against the faithful He diverts and uses for good, in accordance with His indescribable wisdom and power. And He brings everything into harmony with His plans. Not a single tear of the righteous, even if it should drop into the sea, is forgotten. Not a single good or bad word spoken in the world, remains without an answer from God, either open or secret.
The Father, the Almighty, the Maker. This is your God-the One, Living, and True God. As the Maker, God created heaven and earth and all creatures visible and invisible. "Our God has made whatsoever He pleased in heaven and on earth" (Ps 115:3). By the phrase ''in heaven'' the sacred interpreters always understood the kingdom of the angels and all the other mighty heavenly powers, visible to God, but invisible to us. By the phrase "on earth" they understood all material things and creatures on earth, in the earth, around the earth, and apart from the earth accessible to our sensory knowledge.
Everything visible and invisible that was created, was created by God. No other Maker exists, in heaven or on earth except the Most High. Nor does anything created exist, from the largest to the tiniest, which someone else created outside of the Most High. He is the only Maker in the full and true sense of the word. In the full and true sense of the term, the Maker is the one who made both the building material and the building, both matter and the form of matter; and one who instills into everything some mystical power of creation, of reciprocal relation, attraction and reflection, motion and life.
Therefore, when you hear the statement that the Creator created everything that is created, understand it as though it were said that the Creator created not only the form of created things from ready material, but the very material itself. In this the fullness of God's creative power is manifested that He created both the one and the other. Whether matter consisted of four great elements - earth, water, fire, and air - as the ancients thought, or whether these four, together with all the rest, consist of one proto-matter of an electrical nature, as modern scientists think, shall we embroil ourselves in that subject now? One thing is certain: that the warp and woof of the general fabric of the universe are the invention and creation of God, the great Creator.
Can any human thought ever conceive of all the mystery and majesty of that fabric, O chosen people? Can any eye encompass it? Can any ear capture it with the sense of hearing? Can any tongue express it? Shapes and colors, numbers and proportions, music and song, joy and pain, worlds in water, worlds in soil, worlds in air, flaming constellations of stars-does all this not drive you, O chosen people, more towards prayerful silence than to speech?
Know, however, that all this miraculous and lofty splendor of the visible universe is scarcely like a flamboyant guard before the entrance of a royal palace, before the gates of the invisible world, of the spiritual, angelic kingdom. And there, beyond the gates lies the true miracle, the miracle of all miracles, the lofty highness of all highnesses. There where the most High King of kings shines in place of the sun (Rev. 22:5)! Here no thought, nor eye, nor ear, nor tongue is of any use. The great apostle was taken up in spirit "to the third heaven. . . caught up into Paradise. . . and he heard things that cannot be told, which man is not permitted to utter" (2 Cor. 12:2-4). Thus in the heavens, in the spiritual kingdom of the Creator King, everything surpasses our present power of conception and expression.
And this visible world in relation to that invisible one is like a shadow compared to reality, like a symbol compared to a spirit, like print compared to an idea, like a letter about the homeland of exiles. But the same Maker created both the visible and the invisible worlds. He alone holds both worlds in His tireless and almighty hand - the Creator alone. He alone leads them along mysterious paths towards mysterious destinations, which He has predestined for them - He, the gentle Father of Christ the Lord and of all His chosen children.
This is the faith of the tearstained, who cry for justice, truth, and life. This is not the faith of the servants of injustice, falsehood, and death, of the friends of the laughter which ends in despair. This is the faith of the tearstained who weep over their own feebleness and the feebleness of all mankind. They seek the Source of justice, truth, and life. And this Source is given to them. Then their tears of sorrow are transformed into tears of joy. For they have found the most precious treasure there is - the Father, the Almighty, the Maker. What remains for them to seek, when they have received everything through Him? For them there only remain tears of repentance, with which they wash away any injustice and falsehood, and ward off eternal death. Washed with penitent tears they become meek and merciful of heart towards their brother penitents, their fellow wayfarers on the path leading to the eternal homeland. And they help them to know the justice of God, the Source of justice, truth, and life.
This is your faith, Christ-bearers, the faith of your forefathers, who never regretted toil or tears, while they drew near to the Lord and received consolation. Let this also be the faith of your children, from generation to generation, all the way to the end of time. This is the salvation-bearing Orthodox Faith, which has never been put to shame. Truly, this is the faith of the truly chosen people, of those who bear the image of God in themselves. At the Judgment of God it shall not be difficult for them. They shall be called blessed.
The Father - The Almighty - the Maker.