Monday, January 05, 2009

On Creation...

Wanted to write a few lines on the collection of homilies given by the Holy Father when he was the Archbishop of Munich and now placed in book format on the topic of creation. 'In the Beginning . . . ' : A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall is, like the author's other writings, clear and measured.

"All of this [creation] comes from the same Word of God that we meet in the act of faith" pg 5. We've heard this before in the Holy Father's theological thought. Faith is about that life-changing encounter with Christ. The principle of first-cause is fine, but it's not good enough. First-cause of creation is just a hypothesis, just a principle. God is more than that. God is the Word made Flesh, the man of Galilee who walked upon the shore.

The faith presented in this book is not for the faint of heart. It is, instead, one of audacity, temperateness, enthusiasm, encouragement, hope and is reasonable and not in conflict with science, because faith is "greater, broader, deeper" pg 17. It is a faith that leads humanity out of fear (of powers, deities, gods) and toward true freedom.

The Holy Father quotes Einstein who said, the laws of nature "reveal such a superior Reason that everything significant which has arisen out of human thought and arrangement is, in comparison with it, the merest empty reflection" pg 23. And from St. Bonaventure, "Whoever does not see here is blind. Whoever does not hear here is deaf. And whoever does not begin to adore here and to praise the creating Intelligence is dumb" pg 24.

I was interested especially in the link he highlights between creation and worship. That the true nature of nature points to worship of the Creator. But he warns, "The danger that confronts us today in our technological civilization is that we have cut ourselves off from this primordial knowledge, which serves as a guidepost and which links the great cultures, and that an increasing scientific know-how is preventing us from being aware of the fact of creation" pg 28.

Later we are reminded that God breathes his very breath into us, which forms the foundational principle for the "inviolability of human dignity" pg 45. And this fact illuminates not "how human persons come to be but rather what they are" pg 50. It sheds light on who we are, what we are, how we are to live, what we need for health, happiness, and fulfillment. It establishes what is holy and true about the human person and that cannot and must not be destroyed by technological "advances" upon the human spirit. Science, just because it can do something doesn't mean it should. There exists a more prominent and important natural order that no technology should usurp or ignore.

When we ignore the human spirit and the story of creation we find ourselves floating untethered to our true source and identity. Then technology and the modern man states the great fallacy that "the measure of human beings is what they can do and not what they are, not what is good or bad. What they can do they may do" pg 68.

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