Mathis Grunewald 1470-1528
Excerpted from an essay which first appeared in 1960 in The American Benedictine Review.
The creativity of the Christian person must be seen in relation to the creative vocation of the new Adam, mystical person of the “whole Christ.” The creative will of God has been at work in the cosmos since he said: “Let there be light.” This creative fiat was not uttered merely at the dawn of time. All time and all history are a continued, uninterrupted creative act, a stupendous, ineffable mystery in which God has signified his will to associate man with himself in his work of creation. The will and power of the Almighty Father were not satisfied simply to make the world and turn it over to man to run it as best he could. The creative love of God was met, at first, by the destructive and self-centered recusal of man: an act of such incalculable consequences that it would have amounted to a destruction of God’s plan, if that were possible. But the creative work of God could not be frustrated by man’s sin. On the contrary, sin itself entered into the plan. If man was first called to share in the creative work of his heavenly Father, he now became involved in the “new creation,” the redemption of his own kind and the restoration of the cosmos, purified and transfigured, into the hands of the Father. God himself became man in order that in this way man could be most perfectly associated with him in this great work, the fullest manifestation of his eternal wisdom and mercy.
The Literary Essays of Thomas Merton, New Directions