Sunday, May 18, 2014

Made in the Image of God: Great Power, Great Responsibilities

(From Hel-hama, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(Kingdom of the Avars, and surrounding lands: 814.)

A dozen centuries back, a warlord brought order and a measure of stability to lands from Vasdomia to Chrobatia, and from the Kingdom of the Lombards to Jutland. For the first time since Rome's empire had dissolved, lands from the Mediterranean to the North sea had some hope of peace and stability.

We call this leader Charles the Great. Charlemagne is also known as Karl der Gro├če, Carolus, and Karolus Magnus.

Charlemagne has been mythologized as a shining light of civilization, and a demonic slayer of 'true' Europeans. There's a very slight element of truth to both images.

Scholarship, arts, architecture, and literature, flourished during Charlemagne's reign. On the other hand, he gave those he conquered a choice: say that they were Christian, or die.

Some of my wife's relatives may have been among those who chose to die, rather than give up their pagan beliefs. We're still cleaning up the mess left from atrocities like the massacre at Verden.

Charlemagne's empire fell apart soon after his death in 814. The European Union may achieve the peace and prosperity Charlemagne tried to impose: and that's another topic.

A Universe "in a State of Journeying"

(From ESA/Hubble, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
"Nothing endures but change."
(Heraclitus, Greek philosopher, 540 BC - 480 BC)
Some 2,800 years after Heraclitus, change still happens.

Locals were calling Londinium "Lundenwic" in Charlemagne's day. Today it's "London." Saxonia is called Freistaat Sachsen, the Kingdom of Asturias isn't there any more, the last Margrave of Neustria died more than a thousand years ago, and Gothia is part of Languedoc-Roussillon.

We've learned that change was going on long before the first humans walked on Earth. Some folks don't seem to approve of the scale of this creation, but I like living in a vast and ancient universe. In any case, it's God's creation: so my opinion is irrelevant.

God could, I suppose, have created a universe that was static: perfect and unchanging. Instead, we live in a creation that's in a "state of journeying" toward an ultimate perfection. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 302)


"For mischief comes not out of the earth, nor does trouble spring out of the ground;

"2 But man himself begets mischief, as sparks fly upward."
(Job 5:6-7)

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

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

"5 Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor.

"You have given them rule over the works of your hands, put all things at their feet:

"All sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field,

"The birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas.

"O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth!"
(Psalms 8:4-10)

"God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them."
(Genesis 1:27)

"But the LORD'S kindness is forever, toward the faithful from age to age. He favors the children's children

"of those who keep his covenant, who take care to fulfill its precepts."
(Psalms 103:17-18)
We're still made in God's image. That didn't change after the Eden incident. We lost the harmony within ourselves, with each other, and with the rest of creation.

(There is hope. Uncounted generations after our first parents preferred their own will to God's, the promise hinted at in Genesis 3:15 was fulfilled. (March 11, 2012))

Being made in the image of God, "little less than a god" is, when you consider the responsibilities, a scary thought: and that's yet another topic. Topics. (Catechism, 355, 337-349, 355, 390-412, 2415)

Building a Better World

Some things are supposed to change:
"11 Then Jesus approached and said to them, 'All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

"Go, therefore, 12 and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,

"teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. 13 And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.' "
(Matthew 28:18-20)
Over the last two millennia, some folks acted as if making disciples of all nations meant baptism at sword-point. Or, these days, gun-point.

Either way, that's a very bad idea: and strictly against the rules. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2104-2109)

We are rational creatures, able to decide what we do: and what we believe. That freedom comes with responsibility, including a responsibility to respect the freedom of others. (Catechism, 1730-1742, 1776-1794)

We also have a mandate to maintain what is true and just in our societies, change what is not, and build a better world for future generations. (Catechism, 1928-1942, 2415-2418)

And that's yet again another topic.

Related posts:


Melanie Jean Juneau said...

You have won an award. If you don't do awards, no worries, it is still my pleasure to honour you

David Torkington said...

He deserves it Melanie. Such eclectic and broad interests, so well expressed.
Well done Brian.

Brian Gill said...

Thank you, David Torkington, for your good words.

And you, Melanie Jean Juneau, again. ("Liebster Award: How About That!" (June 20, 2014))

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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.