Friday, June 22, 2012

God's Image Impressed Not On Coin, But On Humanity

An anonymous author wrote: “The image of God is not impressed on gold, but on the human race. Caesar’s coin is gold, God’s coin is humanity…. Therefore give your riches to Caesar but keep for God the unique innocence of your conscience, where God is contemplated…. Caesar, in fact, asked that his image be on every coin, but God chose man, whom he created to reflect his glory” (Anonymous, Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 42). And St Augustine used this reference several times in his homilies: “If Caesar reclaims his own image impressed on the coin”, he says, “will not God demand from man the divine image sculpted within him?” (En. Ps., Psalm 94:2). And further, “as the tribute money is rendered to him [Caesar], so should the soul be rendered to God, illumined and stamped with the light of his countenance” (ibid., Ps 4:8).

Since Christ's revelation of the Trinity is of three distinct Persons Who are One God ("I and the Father are one" Jn. 10, 30; "The Father is greater than I" Jn 14, 28; "I will send the Holy Spirit" Lk. 24,49), theo-logic demands that the divine Persons be understood as pure relationality such that they are not individuals who relate, but are Relations: the Father is the relation of engendering the Son; the Son is the relation of obeying and glorifying the Father; the Spirit is the opposing relationality of the Two

   That will mean that, as enunciated in Genesis 1, 26 [man has been created in the image and likeness of God], the imaging of God will involve a constitutively relational anthropology such such as we find in Vatican II's Gaudium et Spes #24: "Man, the only earthly being God has willed for itself, finds himself by the sincere gift of himself." This anthropology is a Christian development beyond the Greek Stoic anthropology that man is an "individual substance of a rational nature." The ramifications of this are of great importance when it comes to understanding the impact of this turn to person as relation (subject) from an understanding of person as individual (object). 

Consider the logic of Humanae Vitae  that explains conjugal relations as the total and mutual gift of self [relation -proscribing the non-gift of self by the use of the contraceptive, IVF, etc., etc.], or the meaning of work as the self gift of the human person whereby capital and financial development must be at the service of the person, and the person not at the service of work and profit. Capitalism cannot then be presupposed as the economic structure of preference in that the workbench of tools does not belong to the working person as individual. Rather, he is at the service of the work-bench and tools and is expandable himself as tool of profit for capital. This is not socialism as ideology, but the dynamism of imaging the Triune God. 

And so, the Christian understanding of the Person (subject-"I") as relation is the dynamic and defining center of the entire social doctrine of the Church.

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