There is a Hebrew prayer, “Tikkun Olam” which is simply a request for God to ‘repair, fix or heal the world.’ There is an old Rabbinic Tale that says, in creation, the universe was unable to contain the Divine Light of God and therefore it cracked into pieces. Henceforth, the creation was imperfect and the goal of the Imago Dei, (humanity) is to bring the world to its perfection, to its completion, to its fullness.
A tall order indeed. But isn’t this the work that Jesus has done? Aren’t we, his body, extentions of his work?
I am frustrated that so many Christians have given up healing and restoring this world. It is as if ‘the Kingdom of heaven is not at hand.’ But if the Kingdom has come upon us in the presence and work of Jesus, then Tikkum Olam is a prayer that can actually be answered. ‘The blind see, the dead walk, the poor have the Good News preached to them!’
5 thoughts on “Repair the World תיקון עולם”
Dear Father Neo, Please forgive me but you have it backwards. Creation was never imperfect…Imago Dei is not just humanity but being made in the image of God (literally). Thus to be fully and truly human is to be perfect. In our sin, our rejection of God, our imperfection, we stain this image. I don’t think it is our work to heal the creation in the way you put it…but to offer healing and restoration in God’s name. Is that what you meant?. I might take your meaning wrong in this. I do agree that the Tikkum Olam is a prayer that can be answered…Glory to God…and answered only by God, for it is through Him that all good things come, any good we do in this world.
Interesting ideas you are coming up with!
May I suggest that the notion of the “Imago Dei” is more in keeping with theological implications when it is represented holistically or in concert as the image and likeness of God. When you throw in the “likeness” part, it gets trickier. The Orthodox understanding of this is the best among Christian theologies in my estimation.
So, Padre–your recent posts seem to suggest that you’re reading N.T. quite a bit. Am I right??
I’m not suggesting that I agree with the Kabbalah’s anthropology, only that the end is the same. Creation is broken and needs healing. I know some Eastern Christian thought has wondered aloud if Adam was ‘perfect’ from the start and that, even if he had not sinned, deification would still be a necessity. Maybe you Eastern folks can comment.
I haven’t read NT Wright for a little while, though I’ve got some books on my shelf I need to look at. I think at heart we are similar and I appreciate his attempt at being orthodox and true to the spirit of Christ as well. I really like his ‘Torah of the messiah’ stuff.
All God’s creation is perfect accoding to Him. We only see what we can and assume the imperfections. The order of the Universe is design by the creator. Who are we, the ants, to question what is perfect. God’s will is His will. I look forward to speaking with you Father Neo. I have much questions and maybe you can help me discover my faith again.