Chapter XIX.—The Shape of God in Man.
And Simon said: “I should like to know, Peter, if you really believe that the shape of man has been moulded after the shape of God.” 1306 And Peter said: “I am really quite certain, Simon, that this is the case.” And Simon said: “How can death dissolve the body, impressed as it has thus been with the greatest seal?” And Peter said: “It is the shape of the just God. When, then, the body begins to act unjustly, the form which is in it takes to flight, and thus the body p. 317 is dissolved, by the shape disappearing, in order that an unjust body may not have the shape of the just God. The dissolution, however, does not take place in regard to the seal, but in regard to the sealed body. But that which is sealed is not dissolved without Him who sealed it. And thus it is not permitted to die without judgment.” And Simon said: “What necessity was there to give the shape of such a being to man, who was raised from the earth?” And Peter said: “This was done because of the love of God, who made man. For while, as far as substance is concerned, all things are superior to the flesh of man,—I mean the ether, the sun, the moon, the stars, the air, the water, the fire—in a word, all the other things which have been made for the service of man,—yet, though superior in substance, they willingly endure to serve the inferior in substance, because of the shape of the superior. For as they who honour the clay image of a king have paid honour to the king himself, whose shape the clay happens to have, so the whole creation with joy serves man, who is made from earth, looking to the honour thus paid to God.
Lit., “of that one, of Him.” [The chapter is peculiar to the Homilies; comp. xvii. 7, 8.—R.]