Sunday, March 9, 2014

"He Found it Very Good" — And it Gets Better

(From NASA, ESA, D. Lennon and E. Sabbi (ESA/STScI), and other; used w/o permission.)
"1 In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,

"2 the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.

"Then God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."

"God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness.

"God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them."

"God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed - the sixth day. "
(Genesis 1:1-4, 27, 31)

"O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! You have set your majesty above the heavens!

"When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place -

"What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them?

"Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor."
(Psalms 8:2-6)
Like I said last week, Lent started on Ash Wednesday, and it's important. (March 2, 2014)

This is the season when "the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 540)

Those 40 days in the desert are when my Lord was tempted: and sent Satan packing. (Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:2-13)

Jesus had beasts and angels for company in the desert. (Mark 1:13)

Beasts and angels are very similar to us: and that gets me started on what kind of creature humans are.

God, Angels, Beasts, and Us

Angels are creatures of pure spirit, with intelligence and will, but no bodies. They are superior to beasts, or any other physical creature. (Catechism, 328-330)

Humans are physical creatures, along with animals, plants, and stuff like rocks and water. We're a particular sort of animal: but we are not just animals. We're designed as creatures with a physical body and a soul. (Catechism, 355-373) (March 28, 2012; August 31, 2011)

I've run into folks who seem to think that God wants us to become angels: purely spiritual beings, without any physical bodies. Maybe that would be very "spiritual," but it doesn't make sense. Not to me.

Heaven isn't, quite, a place, by the way: but it's very real. It's "perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity ... communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed." (Catechism, 1023-1029)

"Spiritual" doesn't necessarily mean "good," though. Satan and the other demons are angels who decided to defy God. Demons are no less spiritual creatures than the unfallen angels, but they are very bad, and that's another topic. (Catechism, 391-395, 414)

And what's physical isn't bad. God didn't blunder by calling the universe we live in "very good."

The Universe: Good and Getting Better

(From NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); used w/o permission.)

God made the physical world, and said that it is very good. (Genesis 1:1-31; Catechism, 31-32, 337-349)

We're starting to realize how awesomely vast and ancient this physical creation is: which doesn't bother me a bit. I might have designed a small-scale universe: but God's God, I'm not, and that's a good thing.

The physical world is good, "very good," as God put it. But it's not perfect, not yet. It's in a "state of journeying" toward ultimate perfection. (Catechism, 302, 1038-1050)

That's where we come in. We're made in the image of God, the only visible creature created for its own sake, "called to share, by knowledge and love, in God's own life." (Catechism, 36, 327, 355-361)

Our job is "subduing" the physical world: carefully tending its resources, as stewards for God. (Genesis 1:27; Catechism, 3732402)

We've also got a mandate to sort out the mess our families, communities, states, nations, and world are in: and have been, every since our first parents lost the lease in Eden. (Catechism, 1928-1942)

And that's yet another topic.

(From NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); used w/o permission.)

(Those images are from the Hubble observatory: the first one shows 30 Doradus, in the Large Magellanic Cloud's Tarantula Nebula; the next two, part of the Carina Nebula. The last image shows a 50-light-year-wide part of the Carina Nebula's central region.)

Related posts:

"1 For all men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan;

"2 But either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water, or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods.

"Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods, let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these; for the original source of beauty fashioned them.

"Or if they were struck by their might and energy, let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them.

"For from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen."
(Wisdom 13:1-5)

"God speaks to man through the visible creation. The material cosmos is so presented to man's intelligence that he can read there traces of its Creator.16 Light and darkness, wind and fire, water and earth, the tree and its fruit speak of God and symbolize both his greatness and his nearness.

"Inasmuch as they are creatures, these perceptible realities can become means of expressing the action of God who sanctifies men, and the action of men who offer worship to God. The same is true of signs and symbols taken from the social life of man: washing and anointing, breaking bread and sharing the cup can express the sanctifying presence of God and man's gratitude toward his Creator."
(Catechism, 1147-1148)


David Torkington said...

Thank you Brian for this great post. Retweeted.

David Torkington said...

Thank you Brian for this great post. Retweeted.

David Torkington said...

Thank you Brian for this great post. Retweeted.

Brian Gill said...

My pleasure, David Torkington - and thank you for the Retweets.

I see that I should review how Blogger handles comments - and that's another topic.

Brian Gill said...

My pleasure, David Torkington - and thank you for the Retweets.

I see that I should review how Blogger handles comments - and that's another topic.

Brian Gill said...

I think I've talked Blogger's software into accepting comments - but not repeating them.

I've been wrong before, though: so we'll see what happens.

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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.