Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Accounts of Creation

We've done a general overview of Original Man so that we may have an understanding of the proper point of departure. This point of departure is Christ, who then directs us to the beginning so that we can have a full understanding of this idea of humanity and God's plan for all humanity. That passage from Matthew which we referred to last time is the foundation for having an established understanding of the true meaning of being made in the image of God as male and female.

Christ, in that passage, uses His authority to re-orientate that initial meaning of marriage by saying "let no man put asunder." By saying this, Christ re-institutes marriage to its original meaning, a life-long loving union between a man and a woman which is to be totally self-giving with acceptance and affirmation of that which is given to each other.

By looking at this passage, JP II sees an echo stamped on man's heart. It is because of the hardness of hearts that Moses allowed divorce. This means, however, that if only man would not harden their hearts but see the plan that God created for them, they would realize immediately that divorce is against God's order. That is, one can see from within that divorce is not to be so, that it is a result of the disorder that has been brought into the world thanks to sin. Christ is saying that if we look into ourselves, we are able to see that we experience a deep longing within ourselves to fulfill the precept of our humanity, to discover fully the meaning of our sexuality as male and female.

This is a theme that runs throughout JP II's Theology of the Body. He is attempting to do something that has been for a while seen as not possible, bringing together the subjective(personal) experience and the objective truth. Later on, we will discuss this as ethos(subjective) and ethics(objective). Keep this in mind as you read Theology of the Body. This is also an important tool for proclaiming the Gospel. The modern world is so caught up in the norms of relativism, doing what one pleases because it's for them, while whatever is good for someone is ok for them, even though it's "not their thing."

One of the most popular phrases nowadays expresses this perfectly "to each their own." JP II answers this voice in the world. He affirms that each person does have their own personal experiences, and that, if one were to look at what they experience and apply it to the Truth, they could see how their own experiences express in a personal way the Divine and Eternal Truth, which is God.

JP II is thus saying that yes, to each their own in their personal experiences, that everyone does have different experiences, but not "to each their own" with regards to the universal truths, for our own personal experiences are to reflect that Divine Truth and reveal it in a full sense. Our personal experience is that which expresses in a very personal and intimate way eternal and immutable truths. Man, in his masculinity and femininity and through their bodies, express the truths about God, our bodies in their own personal way are a theophony of God. Our experiences are supposed to lead to the truth of God.

If we un-harden our hearts, we will well up for a desire for the truth. This is why those who have a passion for the faith are so passionate. They have unhardened their hearts in cooperation with God's grace, and by doing so, they see that their experiences are expressed most truly in the teachings of the Church. They say "all that I know and experience in my innermost being is expressed most perfectly and beautifully in Christ through His Church."

JP II distinguishes between the two accounts of creation in his Theology of the Body. These two accounts are known as the Elohist account for Genesis 1 and the Yahwist account for Genesis 2 and 3.

JP II expresses the Elohist account as an account that is "loaded with powerful metaphysical(objective) content definining man in the dimensions of being and existence." That is to say, the Elohist account expresses those eternal and objective truths about the human person. It is here that we obtain part of what it means to be man. Man is not defined solely with regards to his relation to the rest of the created world, but more so with regards to his relation to God. This is the metaphysical content of the meaning of the human person, that is to say, God, the non-physical (what metaphysics discusses) is what we relate to in order to define ourselves as human beings. We are the only creatures who can obtain part of their meaning of who they are through their relations with God! This shows that we cannot consider man to be merely reduced to his physical components, but there is a deep spiritual reality which goes hand-in-hand with defining man. It is the body and the soul that defines man. We bear the divine imprint of God on our body because our body is not merely physical, it is also spiritual.

The Yahwist account describes in a very profound way the psychological(subjective) element of man. It is here that man's self knowledge is expressed in a very real way, it is here that man is described through his conciousness, through his personal experience and thus self-realization. We see that we are indeed free beings, it is inharent in being made in God's image and likeness. Through this, we see that by being procreative, we are freely giving ourselves over to the other and sharing in God's creative act. Inharent in the definition of "creating" is that one must freely will to create that which is being brought forth. Thus, through the nuptial embrace (more will be discussed on that later), man and woman freely consent to share in God's creative act in the most intimate and personal way, in the most loving way possible.

By Christ pointing to the beginning we are pointed not to just one part of the Creation account in Genesis, but in fact are pointed towards the entire pre-history of man. It is a pre-history because we do not have a full idea of what it was like, it is still shrouded in mystery. It is through the Theology of the Body that we come to understand this mystery a bit more and how there is still an echo of this mystery inharent in the human heart. We are all ordered towards to good, it is just that sin has disordered us to look away from the good. JP II attempts to show how we can again, through Christ, re-orientate ourselves back to God. This will be the next discussion, the Echo of Original Experience.


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