Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Eighth Day

As it turns out, those spaced-out folks from my youth who saw squirrels and nuts as kin had a piece of the truth. Which isn't the same as saying Timothy Leary was right. I posted about God, creation, and environmental awareness, yesterday:

Abraham isn't an American

Hawaii is not just like Minnesota. Particularly during the northern hemisphere's winter. I suspect that the regional culture isn't quite the same, either. And 21st century America's culture isn't like what we'd have found in Ur of the Chaldees, a few millennia back: any other place in that part of the ancient world.

Today's America doesn't have the same culture as the folks who wrote Genesis. For starters, Americans seem to have a remarkably literal, quite unpoetical, way of looking at the world. Nothing wrong with that, I think, but strange things happen when literalists get their hands on something that's almost dripping with metaphor and imagery.

Genesis, Days, and All That

I have no trouble with the idea that God created this universe. But I also have no trouble with the idea that whoever wrote this didn't live in America:
"3 God called the light 'day,' and the darkness he called 'night.' Thus evening came, and morning followed - the first day."
(Genesis 1:5)
There's a lot going on there. I'm focusing on the footnote:
"In ancient Israel a day was considered to begin at sunset. According to the highly artificial literary structure of ⇒ Genesis 1:1-⇒ 2:4a, God's creative activity is divided into six days to teach the sacredness of the sabbath rest on the seventh day in the Israelite religion (⇒ Genesis 2:2-3)."
(footnote 3, Genesis 1, New American Bible)
Besides being good literature, Genesis is Sacred Scripture. But it's not a user's manual, or a science text. I've been over this before:

God - Needed a Rest?!

I really don't think that God 'needed a rest' after six days of work. On the other hand:
"Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken."
(Genesis 2:2)
The explanation for that seventh day of rest seems to be in the next verse:
"So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation."
(Genesis 2:2-Genesis 2:3)
That's not guesswork on my part. I'd looked up the answer before I checked out those verses in Genesis:
"The sabbath—the end of the work of the six days. The sacred text says that 'on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done,' that the 'heavens and the earth were finished,' and that God 'rested' on this day and sanctified and blessed it.213 These inspired words are rich in profitable instruction:"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 345)
I recommend checking out Catechism, 346-349 yourself. Here's what I saw as the high points:
  • God made an orderly creation, with observable laws
    • Humanity is well-advised to respect the Creator's laws
    (Catechism, 346)
  • "...Worship is inscribed in the order of creation...."
    • Worship is our top priority
    (Catechism, 347)
  • "The sabbath is at the heart of Israel's law...."
    (Catechism, 348)
  • Keeping the commandments is
    • is to correspond/run with the wisdom and the will of God
      • As expressed in God's work of creation
    (Catechism, 348)

Tabloids and Tradition

One of the things I like about being Catholic is that I don't have to guess about what the Bible 'really says.' Or look to this week's tabloids for guidance.

I've posted about the Bible, Tradition, and the Magisterium before. (October 2, 2008) And what I think of the Church's wildly improbable survival. (January 13, 2011)

Creation is Taking Eight Days

Creation "is taking?" I've been over that before. (January 18, 2012)

It looks like we've started on Creation, version 2.0:
"The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ's Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation.217"
(Catechism, 349)
My Lord's outfit has been on a sort of standby alert ever since those fellows from headquarters said "...why are you standing there looking at the sky?..." (Acts 1:11) So far it's two millennia and counting. Meanwhile, we've got plenty of work to do.

And that's another topic.

Somewhat-related posts:


Brigid said...

Feels like something's missing: "a few millennia back: any other place in that part of the ancient world."

Bit of a stutter: "commandments is
is to correspond"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Rachel S said...

As always a very pleasant read !Thanks for making time to share!

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.