Friday, January 31, 2014

Reflections on December 19, 1979
Shame appears very complicated and it appears that we will dig into its meaning in more detail later. What he is discussing here is the absence of shame. And we also read that trying to think of that in relationship to the experience of childish innocence is off base. In “thinking about a lack of shame…it excludes even more the possibility of explaining it by analogy with positive human exper...iences, e.g., those of childhood … Such analogies are not merely insufficient, but can be misleading.”
We have seen that man and woman, seeing each other, experience and realize that they are both unique and meant for union. They are separate from the world and have differences from each other, but are still human together. The separation of male and female is there and it is necessary for them to experience this difference so that they can realize it and respond to it. For this experience to be realized, they must be naked. But in order to experience it in a way that leads them to understand the meaning of their differences and unity, they must be able to look on each other completely and without interference, thus the absence of shame.
I was thinking about taking health class and if you are shown the diagram of a naked body. There are different reactions, giggles, groans, ewes, embarrassment. We are not able to look upon the body and experience it in a way to fully understand what it means to us and how it helps to define us. But that is how Adam was able to look upon Eve and visa versa. And because they were able to do that, they gain a truly unbiased and untainted view of what the other human meant to them and how they assisted each other in fully understanding themselves. We see that eating from the tree of knowledge took them away from a deeper and fuller knowledge that they were able to have before. Not only do are they able to learn more about themselves through this untainted experience, but they are able to have a unique unity together that we can never fully realize.
Words I looked up
Ethos - the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period:
Criterion - a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something.
Naturalistic - pertaining to naturalists or natural history.
Personalistic - Also called personal idealism. a modern philosophical movement locating ultimate value and reality in persons, human or divine.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reflection on December 12, 1979
I think it is interesting to think about these chapters, not just as a story of the creation of man, but foundational to our own existence and meaning. JPII doesn’t want this to be left as a nice way to show the beginning, but these experiences and understandings “are always at the root of every human experience.” That takes Genesis out of the category of story that is either true or not true, ...myth or fantasy, and puts it into a category of teaching us about who we are as humans. The foundations that are taught are not thought about because they are seen as obvious and taken for granted. Whether it has been done maliciously or merely because we have just taken it for granted, some of these foundational truths have been put into doubt by the world. (I have already talked about secularist idea that man is just an animal as opposed to JPII’s original solitude)
JPII puts an emphasis on using our experiences to help us understand these things. But, it is hard for us to imagine original nakedness or what it is like to have no shame. We are so skewed that we cannot experience what that is like. But I think that anyone that has children can get a sense of what it might have been like. Little children have no shame, or at least don’t let it interfere with what they are doing. The innocence of a child is a helpful gauge for how original nakedness might have looked like. It is not that they are proud of their nakedness, it is more like they don’t know they are naked or that if they know they are naked, they doubt understand that is a shameful thing. Someone with older children can tell me when this ends.
The question it would seem then is what do we have to do to keep our children innocent? You teach a child what is right and wrong (tree of good and evil) and as you teach them, you, in the very same instance, take away their innocence. In order to teach them, you must tell them what is evil and at soon as that thought enters their mind, they cross that boundary and are forever changed. From that time on, it becomes a choice to do good or bad, where as before, in innocence, they had no choice. It makes you stop and realize that everything you do in front of your child is teaching them and taking them over more and more boundaries from which they can never get back.
I like the term “boundary experience”. JPII describes shame as one of these. It is something that once it happens, there is no going back. I was thinking that trust is a boundary experience. Once you are lied to by anybody, it is impossible to fully trust anyone, but when someone lies to you, it is especially hard to ever trust that person again. It doesn’t matter what happens or what they may say, that boundary is crossed and once on the other side, there is no way to go back to where they were.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Reflections on November 21, 1979
I was discussing some of the things we have already covered with some people and we were debating the “completeness” of Adam and Eve. I took from some of what we have already covered that Adam wasn’t complete or lack something before Eve and Eve completed him. But I was told that isn’t correct but that Adam was fully complete as himself, just as Eve is complete by herself. The first section h...ere reviews all that we have covered and seems to state this fact. “These are, as it were, two "incarnations" of the same metaphysical solitude before God and the world”. They are both completely human on their own and have no need for each other to be completely human.
That being said, they do need each other, but that need is for something other than just being human. This need of both male and female leads us into tackling the idea of original unity, this mystery that comes from this unique communion and allows participation in the mystery of life. Male and female can be completely human, but the lack of unity stops them from fully fulfilling all they were created for. Adam would not say “you complete me”, but “you help fulfill what I should be”. That makes sense when you look at Genesis 2:18 ”It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner." God made a helper, not a completer.
This unity brings together male and female and they become one “flesh”, not one complete human. I thought it was interesting, in talking about leaving father and mother, it talks about the distinction in the color of choice. As I have heard, you don’t pick your parents, but are connected to them by their choice. You get to pick your spouse and who you form this “one flesh” with. I thought this line worth reflection: “When they both unite so closely as to become one flesh, their conjugal union presupposes a mature consciousness of the body.” One should not involve themselves in the conjugal act until they have a mature understanding of what it means to actually be human, that original solitude, relationship with God, unique relationship to the opposite sex, an understanding of their cooperation in creation through the act, etc. The world teaches that the sexual act is nothing more than a pleasurable activity to take part in whenever and with whomever you want. JPII puts on us a responsibility of trying to understand what it means to be human and who we are in relationship to God and the world before we venture into that act. Not only that, but when choosing that partner, understanding their uniqueness and how this act takes us back to the very beginning and the very mystery of creation.
Words I looked up –
Lapidary - characterized by an exactitude and extreme refinement that suggests gem cutting
Conjugal - of, pertaining to, or characteristic of marriage

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Reflections on November 14, 1979
JPII writes about man’s first reaction to see woman and what that must have been like. He equates it to the “Song of Songs” which speaks a lot of the love of one to another. IN reflecting on that and what I wrote last time about being made for another, you might see this as the ultimate and most pure “love at first sight”. Adam had seen all the creatures of the world and none were for him. This uniqueness of solitude was his only experience. He desired to have another “help”, someone like him and there she is. We have no sense of time elapsing, but it is not required because of the pureness of this reaction. Eve is the fulfillment of what Adam is longing for, and she fills it completely, she was made specifically to fill it. Imagine the joy that overwhelms Adam at the sight of Eve.
This hole that is there before Eve, JPII appears to say, is a very real way of helping us understand who we are as humans. “This opening is no less decisive for mas as a person; in fact, it is perhaps more decisive than the distinction itself”. I was thinking of when you are putting a puzzle together and there are times when you look at the hole that is there and find the piece that fits the hole, not have a piece and see which hole it fits. What Adam was missing is exactly what God created in Eve. Nothing more or less, they completed each other in such a perfect was as to point to God in a communion of three persons.
The Yahwist account never mentions the “image of God”, but that cannot take away its use in reflecting on the image of God as a communion of persons. Here is where it becomes vitally important to see both stories as complimentary of each other and not in contradiction. Both give us information, but do not take anything away from the other. “In His image He created them” flows right into this idea of the communion of persons from the Yahwist account and its understanding the original solitude. They compliment and expand on each other.
This may be out of left field, but when I was thinking about man’s solitude, I also thought about his solitude from angels. When reflecting on God making man in His image, I thought about the angels being created. They were not, at least I haven’t seen this, in God’s image, but merely created. I also don’t have any knowledge that angels are male or female or that they marry (form communion) or have children. These are all ways that humans differ from angels and must be important characteristics when looking at the image of God and what God is. What makes us special and unique, in solitude, are exactly the characteristics we are supposed to reflect on and extent to God to better know and understand Him.
Words I looked up.
Axiological - the branch of philosophy dealing with values, as those of ethics, aesthetics, or religion.
Communio Personarum – Communion of persons. I couldn’t come up with a great definition other than this communion is at the foundation of man and also seen as part of the communion of person in the Holy Trinity.
Transcendence - going beyond ordinary limits; surpassing; exceeding.
Eo ipso - by that very fact.
Reciprocity - given or felt by each toward the other; mutual:
Constitutive - constituent; making a thing what it is; essential.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Reflection on November 7, 1979
I think it is interesting to reflect on the man being put to sleep. It is obvious that it is not normal “sleep” like we think of it but a deeper and different type of sleep. JPII points out that it is not just sleep, but almost a new beginning, that man stops “being” and is recreated as man and woman. 2 things this points us towards is that man (male) had no part in the creation of woman. I think many see male first and female second and assume there is a hierarchy of superiority. That just isn’t a part of the Theology here. Male has no participation in the making of female other than being used, and even that, I think, was to show unity not superiority. JPII speaks a lot about male and female being different, yet both equally human, on the same level in the creative spectrum.
I was thinking about that and it reminds me of how people used to look at black people during slavery, counted as 3/5 a person or how many see the fetus today. Many want to place male on a different level of creation than female because of Biblical chronology, but that is not what God is pointing to. Male and female are equally human, just as black and white, born and unborn.
God could have made female out of the dust. Using man’s rib teaches more about our unity than biology on man’s creation. Think about why God does something the way He did it. Woman could have come from dust, but what would that teach us about the unity between man and woman? What would that teach us about the unity of the Trinity? God uses man’s rib not because He had to, but to show us that male and female are made to be united to each other in a very special way, that we came from each other, we are bonded in our very creation and function. The unity of male and female is at the very foundation of what it means to be human. God does not want us to define human without understanding the uniqueness and special compatibility of male and female.
In the footnotes it talk about bones as a figure of speech for the human being, not just the body. I thought that put a lot more into God taking one of Adam’s bones. Instead of just one rib, it could be read that he took a part of his being or his whole essence, and from that made woman. I thought that spoke more to the increase in the unity between male and female, but maybe something about God’s plan for certain males and females, the idea of true love. To think that God made someone out there that you are supposed to be with that was not just made from a part of you, but God made you both with part of the same being and until you are united, you are not complete. Adam and Eve were made “for” each other and “from” each other. God has made someone “for” and (somehow mysteriously) “from” us as well.
Words I looked up
Somatic (Constitution) - of the body; bodily; physical.
Epoch - a particular period of time marked by distinctive features, events, etc.:
Stratum - a layer of material, naturally or artificially formed, often one of a number of parallel layers one upon another:
Torpor - a state of suspended physical powers and activities.
Homogeneity - composition from like parts, elements, or characteristics; state or quality of being homogeneous.
Consanguinity - relationship by descent from a common ancestor; kinship
Synecdoche - a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part, the special for the general or the general for the special, as in ten sail for ten ships or a Croesus for a rich man.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Reflection on October 31, 1979

When reading this, I think I may have misinterpreted the body and soul from dust analysis. It appears the body comes from dust (although scripture says man) and the soul comes from the breath of God (although scripture says life). I was trying to get my head around this and thinking about what happens at the death of a person. God breathes life into a person, and when that breath is taken back, the person physically dies, hence from dust we were made and to dust we shall return. But this talks about the body and life, where does the soul fit in. Our soul and body are united at our conception and then separated at our death, our body into the ground, our soul to the beyond. I suppose that when God takes back the breath of life, our soul departs with it, which would point to the soul coming with the breath of life and not the dust.

Whatever the “fundamental meaning of the body” is, seems to be a very important premise that needs to be fully understood before moving forward, so, in brief, here is what I come up with. Man has come to understand the meaning of his body through the experience of naming the animals and tilling the soil. The meaning he has is that he is unique and separate from all other creatures and has dominion over them. I was wondering what “genuinely human activities” meant. Man has learned all this through experience and activities and sees what his body can do and what it is made for. But we have to think about what this type of activity is. Tilling the soil comes to mind because it is mentioned as part of the solitude and meaning of man. Man is made so that he can till, no other animal has the ability to work the land. If you include the brain and intelligence with the body, man is made to reason and think, which other creatures cannot and so this becomes a genuine human activity.

I think it is very interesting to think about whether man understood what “die” meant when God gave this command. As stated above, everything man knows has so far come from his experience. He has not experienced death and so, it appears, would have a lack of understanding as to what he was risking or losing. Man, before the fall, has his solitude from all creatures, solitude from the angels, but appears to have a unique connection and covenant with God. They converse and man is immortal. Man does not appear to be in solitude away from God, although he is not God. Eating of the tree would bring a new solitude, a new separation, from God. This relationship, this connection with God, is important to reflect on because this lost connection is what Jesus came to restore. When Christ points back to “in the beginning, it points back to far more than just marriage but to the very union man once had and was made to have with God.

Words I looked up

Praxis - practice, as distinguished from theory; application or use, as of knowledge or skills.

Antithesis - the direct opposite

Eschatological - any system of doctrines concerning last, or final, matters, as death, the Judgment, the future state, etc.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Reflection on October 24, 1979

The simple fact that we can have an opinion, be subjective, makes us unique among all creation. Imagine if you could not form an opinion, that everything was simply black or white, no grays, no choice. Animals have no choice, only instinct to act. The lion going after the gazelles grabs the slowest one. He doesn’t sit and look at them and pick the fattest one of the one with the least hair. He chases them and the one closest or slowest he grabs and eats. There is no opinion, there is no subjectivity, it is instinct and action. We do have instincts as well. Our inclination, our instinct, is to sin. We have the choice to control that and to not follow it. Animals do not. A vicious dog attack is never the dogs fault.

I wrote earlier that I thought about the indissolubility of marriage being more of a conclusion than a premise for the Theology of the Body. Even though it comes at the beginning and leads us into the discussion, it has the feel of a conclusion we should come to. But the solitude of man is not. It appears to be a fundamental (if not the fundamental) premise of Theology of the Body. Man is unique from animal, he is fundamentally different than all the rest of creation. Because the world does not believe in that, are we surprised the world rejects the Theology of the Body. Before the world can accept this theology and all it concludes, including the indissolubility of marriage and closer to point the definition of marriage in general, it must accept the premise that man is in solitude and unique from creation.

JPII writes that the fact that man was given a body might have caused him to believe that he was like all the rest of material creation. At the moment man was shown all the animals to name, he could have had two reactions: I am like this or I am not like these. Man realizes he is different. I was thinking about this solitude and realized that of all God’s creation, man is not just separated from material things but also in solitude from the purely spiritual as well. Man is not angelic, and will not be. (Sorry It’s a Wonderful Life and Clarence)

There is mention that “the LORD God formed the man out of the dust of the ground”. (2:7) God did not just form the body alone, but man as a whole, body and soul, came from the ground. How our soul came from the dust is a mystery, but it was there. I was thinking that God made our body out of the dust and breathed our soul into us, making us man. But it says God breathed “life”, not soul. Man was fully formed from the dust and then given life with the breath of God.

So, being a farmer is man’s oldest and first profession. I am proud to say that my father was a farmer, that I grew up on a farm, but completely humble enough to admit that I am too lazy to be a farmer. I will never understand how my father managed the farm and a more than full time job. I don’t know where he found the time to do all that and still seem to go to all the activities I know he attended. And the land was for us to till. This is another way that we are unique from the animals. They may gather and store, but I have never seen the birds out planting their seeds to grow their own bird seed. But that made me wonder about animals that build their own shelters or beavers building a dam. A bird doesn’t plant seeds, but it does build a nest. Where does that fit in on the scale of tilling the land verses animal instinct.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Reflection on October 10, 1979 –

Christ points back to the beginning while defending the indissolubility of marriage. I thought about that and what any of the Theology of the Body might mean to someone that doesn’t believe in that. Most people have come to accept that marriage is either unnecessary or a commitment until something better comes along. The “lifetime” portion of marriage has lost its foothold. When I thought about that, it worried me that people might think that because the lectures start out there, they might ignore the whole of the teaching because they don’t believe in the premise it starts on. I think that the indissolubility of marriage is not the premise that Theology of the Body relies on but more like the thesis it is going to prove. It appears that JPII has stated his conclusion (more like quoting Christ conclusion) and the rest of the Theology of the Body is going to show us why marriage is indissoluble. It is going to go into much more than that, but will give us a theology to back the belief in marriage for life and why that is how it should be and was “from the beginning”.

Original solitude and its two meanings could get pretty tangled. Both seem obvious. Man is in solitude, apart from, all the rest of creation. That is a very important starting point for us. It gives us our understanding of why we are special, why God created us, why we are unique, and why we cannot become like animals. It is such a modern trend (and probably not that modern, only seems that way to us) to try to reduce us to animals. It is so very obvious that we are not to any one that looks at humans and any other animal with eyes that are not biased and trying to make the connection.

I like the explanation that man’s first conscious act is to name the animals, and by doing so sees he is different and realizes that he is alone (solitude). The first thing man ever does is realize he is different and above all other creation. If that is the first thing he does, God’s first gift, it makes sense that Satan would go there to attack, give us the notion that we are glorified animals. In reading these, I have been thinking about the theory of evolution and Darwin. I think most people think it is just a given, but one thing has always puzzled me. If evolution is completely true, and we came from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys? Things that do not evolve perish, survival of the fittest. Why wouldn’t the first human get rid of all the less intelligent monkeys? There is something utterly and mysteriously unique about humans that separates us from everything else, and Darwin and Science cannot explain it.

But the second meaning, male was alone until God made females, at first appears to be the more apparent reason, but looking at it further, the meaning that goes much more shallow and explains less about separation. It also seems hard to follow when man (human) is formed and then they discuss man (male) with the female.

Words I looked up.

Existential - pertaining to existence.

Proximate Genus – The next above it in a series. This was an interesting one. I didn’t get a clear definition but articles on it. Best way I could describe it is that a parallelogram is the proximate genus of the rectangle which is the proximate genus of the square. I didn’t quite see how that worked into man naming the animals but I came up with two ideas. Either one, he saw how animals related, each building and having a proximate genus, but he was not the proximate genus of any, or two, he is the proximate genus of all of them because he is over and encompassing all. Third, man coming to the conclusion that he is different is the proximate genus from the step of naming the animals. The term comes up when defining something, man was trying to define himself, but could not because he could not locate his proximate genus to connect to.

Nous - mind or intellect. In the Aristotelian scheme, nous is the basic understanding or awareness which allows human beings to think rationally

“Linking up with the Aristotelian tradition, it leads to indicating the proximate genus. Chapter 2 of Genesis expresses this with the words: "The man gave names...." There corresponds to this the specific differentia which is, according to Aristotle's definition, nôus, zoón noetikón.

I couldn’t find “nous, zoon noetikon” anywhere. The closest I came was nous (above) and zoon politikon, which had to do with Aristotle’s belief that man was a social being. If anyone has any better insight on this, please share.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Reflection on September 26, 1979 –

It talks about all men are “historic man” which means we all have a root in original innocence. When it was talking about redemption, it starts with that root in original innocence. We can never get back to that because we are cut off by original sin, but what I thought of was that everyone has that connection. Christ points us back to “the beginning” because we all have roots back there. That means we all have the opportunity of redemption. No one is exempt from redemption accept by their own choice. It made me think about Calvin and the idea of “double predestination”. I am not an expert on it, by any stretch, but my understanding of it is that he believed some were predestined for salvation from the beginning of time, and some were predestined for destruction. This is not Catholic teaching and you can see that it does not fit at all in JPII’s explanation of rooted connection we all have back to original innocence and how that opens the door for our redemption.

When it was talking about Romans 8:23 (which appears to be a verse that will be focused on) it seems there is a meaning of original sin that effects not just the soul, but the body as well. I don’t know if that type of interpretation is thought about as often. When you think of original sin, you think of our sinful nature, the choices we make, our ability to hurt others. We don’t often think about the fact that original sin effected humans in a physical way, bringing about their mortality. The “redemption of the body” is what St. Paul is waiting for, something that will not come until the end of all things, but will come in a way we don’t fully understand.

This redemption of the bodies and the physical effect of original sin also is worth reflecting when JPII was bringing up the importance of experience. We cannot and never will be able to experience what original innocence was like. We are cut off from it because of original sin. But, even with that being the case, our experience is a necessary part of “theological interpretation”. He goes into this in section 4 and I thought it was a bit confusing, but hopefully becomes clearer. I understood him to be saying that even though our experience is limited or cutoff from original innocence, the experience of “historical man” or fallen man, is still a vital way to interpret and understand theology, especially theology of the body.

Words I looked up.

Delimits - to fix or mark the limits or boundaries of; demarcate

Diametrically - in direct opposition; being at opposite extremes

Dromatis persona – Main characters in a dramatic work

Dialectic - the art or practice of logical discussion as employed in investigating the truth of a theory or opinion.

Irremediably - not able to be remedied; incurable or irreparable

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Reflection on September 19, 1979 –

It seems very important to understand that Genesis 1 is an objective view of the creation and Genesis 2 is subjective, but I am struggling with this distinction. Genesis 1, being objective, is strictly a narration of the creation story. Day 1…Day 2… etc. Genesis 2 has interaction, reaction, more story, but I don’t get that the author is biased in writing it. Man is made to be above all other things in both. I looked at the definitions to try and help. Genesis 2 deals more with man on a personal basis. He is created, given responsibility, woman is created and he reacts. I looked back, and Genesis 1 was focused on our “being and existing”. Subjectivity, according to the definition I found, deals with the nature of a thing. Genesis 1 deals with us being created as human “beings” while Genesis 2 deals with our human nature.

And Genesis 2 is subjective, therefore deals with psychology. I didn’t understand this either until I thought more about it with the paragraph above. Because genesis 2 deals with our human nature, how and why we act the way we do, that is what psychology is. The study of why we do things, how are minds work and process things. Genesis 2 is the first story of human’s choices, to do or not do something, what happens when we are tempted, what happens when we are shameful. We see the difference in reaction from Adam and Eve, before and after the fall, so we can look at the nature or psychology of humans before and after the fall.

Christ tells them to go back to the beginning, before the fall. When I was thinking about this, I thought of when He also commands us to do what He did, to love as He loves. He is commanding us to do the impossible, because we are not perfect, we are not God. He is commanding us to go back before the fall because that is where we are supposed to be, that is where we were meant to be. This, what we are, isn’t what we were meant to be, this isn’t our full purpose. We were meant to be like Adam and Eve before the fall, but we cannot. Yet, all things are possible with God. He tells us to go back to the beginning, back to where we belong, and tells us that is what He came for. His infinite Mercy is what will get us there. His love, His justice, His sacrifice, is what can take us back to the beginning. His focus to the beginning here is about marriage, but I think Christ points to the beginning every time He talks about what He wants us to become, what His hope is for us.

I was thinking about primitive innocence as it relates to Christ, Mary, and baptized children. Was Christ like Adam and Eve before the fall? I don’t think so because He is unique in that He was God and Adam and Eve were not. Also, He was fully human, and I am assuming that is fully human after the fall. Christ has to be tempted by sin, or else there is no point in His sacrifice, His coming, His emptying Himself. But Adam and Eve were tempted and fell, so, being before the fall doesn’t mean there is no temptation, just no sin, which Jesus had. I thought that maybe a better example was Mary, who was fully human, yet conceived without the stain of original sin and sinless throughout her life. Was she like Adam and Eve before the fall? Then I thought “but she died and Adam and Eve would not have died without sin”. But, We believe Mary was taken body and soul into Heaven. I don’t believe it is clearly stated whether she actually died before she was taken up. I don’t believe there is an affirmative Catholic teaching on that issue. So, if she didn’t die, I think she would be very close to what God had in mind for what Adam and Eve were supposed to be.

Words I looked up.

Subjective – relating to or of the nature of an object as it is known in the mind as distinct from a thing in itself.

Psychology - the science of the mind or of mental states and processes.

Objective - not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased:

Archaic - marked by the characteristics of an earlier period; antiquated:

In nucleo – in nucleus

Nucleus - a central part about which other parts are grouped or gathered; core:

Line of Demarcation - a boundary marking something off from something else;

Integral (Nature) - entire; complete; whole:

Normative (conclusion) - reflecting the assumption of such a norm or favoring its establishment:

Actus Essendi - Translated as 'act of being,' the expression actus essendi refers to a fundamental metaphysical principle discovered by Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) in his Christianizing of Aristotle.

Ontotheology - the ontology of God and/or the theology of being. It refers to a tradition of philosophical theology first prominent among medieval scholastics, notably Duns Scotus. In some usages, the term has been taken to refer to Western metaphysics in general.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Reflections on September 12, 1979 –

I think there are many that do not know or understand that there are 2 creation stories. We always hear about the world being created in 7 days and we hear about the garden and the fall, but no one ever focuses on the two stories being separate. But I had never heard that they were written at different times and that the second story is the older of the 2. This second talk focuses much more on the first account (the 7 days) but the second account chronologically.

God is much more human in the second account. He forms man out of dust (instead of by just speaking), breaths into man’s nostril, takes out the rib, walks in the garden, etc. I had never noticed that before. I also think it is interesting that Christ uses both stories in making His argument to the Pharisees. There are some out there that might argue that because the 2 different stories of creation, the Bible contradicts itself and is not reliable. I think Christ shows that both stories have validity, are not contradictory, and teach us different aspects about our creation and relationship to God. Nothing could prove it more than Christ using different aspects from both stories in the same argument.

In the first account, humans are the peak, the climax, of all creation. Everything is building up to that point. The talk speaks to the fact that although humans are tied to the world (created with animals on the 6th day), we are set apart and over all the animals and other created things and are the only things made in the image of God. JPII states that not only does this distinction set us apart from the other worldly things, but means there is an “absolute impossibility of reducing man to the world”. I think this fact will become much more important as we go forward and flies in the face of all those that want to reduce humans to highly intelligent animals. There is a formula for all the other creations. Scripture says “God said: Let….”. But when it comes to humans, “God said :Let us…”.

The story of 7 days of creation is so simple that my 4 ½ year old knows it pretty well, yet it can be dug into so deeply that JPII says that “this text of Genesis has become the source of the deepest inspirations for the thinkers who have sought to understand being and existing”. There are so many out there that see the 7 days and blow off the whole story as so unrealistic that it should not be taken seriously. (There are some that use the 7 days as a reason to not take the whole Bible seriously) Then there are those that take the 7 days so literally that they miss the other meanings of the story and the deeper theological teachings that it gives us. Both ways are wrong.

Words I looked up.

Yawist - a writer of the earliest major source of the Hexateuch, in which God is characteristically referred to as Yahweh rather than elohim.

Hexateuch - the first six books of the Old Testament. (I had only heard of the

Pentateuch – first 5 books.)

Anthropomorphic - ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing not human, especially to a deity.

Elohist - a writer of one of the major sources of the Hexateuch, in which God is characteristically referred to as Elohim rather than Yahweh.

Cosmological - the branch of philosophy dealing with the origin and general structure of the universe, with its parts, elements, and laws, and especially with such of its characteristics as space, time, causality, and freedom.

Metaphysical - the branch of philosophy that treats of first principles, includes ontology and cosmology, and is intimately connected with epistemology.

Ontology - the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence or being as such.

Cosmology - the branch of philosophy dealing with the origin and general structure of the universe, with its parts, elements, and laws, and especially with such of its characteristics as space, time, causality, and freedom.

Anthropology - the science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind. (I thought another definition was maybe more precise or relevant to what we are looking at). the study of human beings' similarity to and divergence from other animals.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Reflection on September 5, 1979 –

The first thing that came to mind was that these talks began in the context of preparing for a significant conference to discuss the family unit and its importance. When you think of Theology of the Body, you think of husband and wife, male and female, God and man, sex, and many other things. I don’t know if the family unit is something that would normally come to mind. I think it puts the entire Theology of the Body into a context right away. Today we are seeing the idea of what “family” means dissolve. More children are born to single parents than married, gay marriage is changing what the definition of parents mean, and those that try to defend the tradition of a traditional nuclear family are being condemned and labeled bigots. All that we are going to learn about the importance, necessity, of husband and wife, male and female, will all be under the context of the importance of the family unit to the faith community and the community as a whole. We can see what the dissolving of the family unit has done to our society and the morality of the secular world, yet it increasingly wants to move further and faster in the same direction, like a runaway train heading for disaster. Hopefully going through this Theology of the Body will not only give us a better understanding of the relationship between man and woman, husband and wife, but what that means for the family unit as a whole.

It amazes me that so many Christians accept divorce so readily, especially the ones that are so adamant about Sola Scriptura. It is obvious that Christ is teaching against divorce. The ones in favor of divorce are the Pharisees. Anyone that has a minimal understanding of the Gospels will tell you that a Christian should follow what Christ says as opposed to the Pharisees. They are propped up, time and again, as the example of what not to do. Yet, if your Christian fellowship or gathering teaches that divorce is fine, you are siding with the Pharisees. I do not understand how that can be glossed over so easily.

Words I looked up –

Juridical - of or pertaining to law or jurisprudence; legal. (Had a pretty good idea, but wanted to see if it meant more than I thought)

Casuistic - pertaining to casuists or casuistry.

Casuistry - specious, deceptive, or oversubtle reasoning, especially in questions of morality; fallacious or dishonest application of general principles; sophistry. (Made much more sense seeing how the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus.)

Interlocutor - a person who takes part in a conversation or dialogue.

In Extenso – At full length