Monday, November 2, 2009

Theology of the Body - Audiences Part 2

Audience 2 - September 12, 1979 - Biblical Account of Creation Analysed

Having spoken of "the beginning" the week previous, the Pope took his listeners back scripturally to the account of Creation, to the two separate accounts actually. There is the first account of creation in in Genesis 1:1-2,4 and the second account in Genesis 2:5-25. He explains their origins, and then describes man's creation:

Man is created on earth together with the visible world. But at the same time the Creator orders him to subdue and have dominion over the earth (cf. Gn 1:28); therefore he is placed over the world. Even though man is strictly bound to the visible world, the biblical narrative does not speak of his likeness to the rest of creatures, but only to God. "God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him..." (Gn 1:27). In the seven day cycle of creation a precise graduated procedure is evident.(1) However, man is not created according to a natural succession. The Creator seems to halt before calling him into existence, as if he were pondering within himself to make a decision: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." (Gn 1:26).

The Pope writes of the special nature of man, and his closeness to His God. As he says, man cannot be explained simply in his relation to the world. However:

Notwithstanding this, man also is corporeal. Genesis 1:27 observes that this essential truth about man referred both to the male and the female: "God created man in his image...male and female he created them."
As the Pope speaks of mankind he says:
To this mystery of his creation, ("In the image of God he created him"), corresponds the perspective of procreation, ("Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth"), of that becoming in the world and in time . . .

Audience 3 - September 19, 1979 - The Subjective Definition of Man

The Pope invites us to see the profundity of the second account of man's creation, in part because it describes man's movement into self-knowledge. With the third chapter of Genesis taken into account, we then see man's movement into the world of conscience.

The Pope links Jesus words on the indissolubility of marriage in the plan of the Father to Gn 2:24:

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

As John Paul says:

The words which directly describe the unity and indissolubility of marriage are found in the immediate context of the second account of creation. Its characteristic feature is the separate creation of woman (cf. Gn 2:18-23), while the account of the creation of the first man is found in Genesis 2:5-7.

The Bible calls the first human being "man" ('adam), but from the moment of the creation of the first woman, it begins to call him "man" (ish), in relation to ishshah ("woman," because she was taken from the manish).(2)

It is also significant that in referring to Genesis 2:24, Christ not only linked the "beginning" with the mystery of creation, but also led us, one might say, to the limit of man's primitive innocence and of original sin.

He talks of man's original innocence that is lost to man's sinfulness one he has knowledge of good and evil after the fall. So, man has gone from a state of integral nature in his relationship to creation and to the creator, to his fallen nature.

He says that Jesus invited his questioners to go beyond their own fallen nature, and the decree of Moses, which was an accommodation to their hardness of heart, and to revisit and enter into the relationship of man's original integral nature. Christ called us to go back to that nature to live the truth of our creation in God's image and the indissolubility of marriage when a man leaves his father and mother and becomes one flesh with his mate.

As John Paul says Christ did not mince words:

Christ's reply is decisive and unequivocal. Therefore, we must draw from it the normative conclusions which have an essential significance not only for ethics, but especially for the theology of man and for the theology of the body.

Audience 4 - September 26, 1979 - Boundary Between Original Innocence and Redemption

John Paul refers us again to what he calls our pre-history, our state of original innocence, which precedes our current state of original sin, but is a necessary part of the totality of man. As he says:

The laws of knowing correspond to those of being. It is impossible to understand the state of historical sinfulness without referring or appealing (and Christ appealed to it) to the state of original (in a certain sense, "prehistoric") and fundamental innocence. Therefore, right from the beginning, the arising of sinfulness as a state, a dimension of human existence, is in relation to this real innocence of man as his original and fundamental state, as a dimension of his being created in the image of God.

So, the roots of our sinful history post the fall, is our state of original innocence, so that our state of lost grace caused by the first fall, and our own sinful behaviour is rooted there in the grace of the original creation of man by God.

He then shows us the link between our original innocence and original sin, and that is the Redemptive action of Christ's coming to earth and then dying and rising. He says:

Precisely this perspective of the redemption of the body guarantees the continuity and unity between the hereditary state of man's sin and his original innocence, although this innocence was, historically, lost by him irremediably.

So, Christ's perspective for reminding the people he spoke to about marriage, took into account his purpose on earth to bridge the gap between pre-history when man was innocent and history after man had fallen by his Redemptive suffering and death.

He quotes Paul speaking on the perspective on redemption for historical man:

"We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for...the redemption of our bodies" (Rom 8:23)

There is much more to come in his analysis and teaching, but this is a foundation for it.

No comments: