Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Class On Creation From CCC With Notes by Blogger

God creates by wisdom and love
295 We believe that God created the world according to his wisdom.141 It is not the product of any necessity whatever, nor of blind fate or chance. We believe that it proceeds from God's free will; he wanted to make his creatures share in his being, wisdom and goodness: "For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."142 Therefore the Psalmist exclaims: "O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all"; and "The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made."143 God creates "out of nothing"
296 We believe that God needs no pre-existent thing or any help in order to create, nor is creation any sort of necessary emanation from the divine substance.144God creates freely "out of nothing":145
If God had drawn the world from pre-existent matter, what would be so extraordinary in that? A human artisan makes from a given material whatever he wants, while God shows his power by starting from nothing to make all he wants.146
297 Scripture bears witness to faith in creation "out of nothing" as a truth full of promise and hope. Thus the mother of seven sons encourages them for martyrdom:
I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws. . . Look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being.147
298 Since God could create everything out of nothing, he can also, through the Holy Spirit, give spiritual life to sinners by creating a pure heart in them,148 and bodily life to the dead through the Resurrection. God "gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist."149 and since God was able to make light shine in darkness by his Word, he can also give the light of faith to those who do not yet know him.150
God creates an ordered and good world
299 Because God creates through wisdom, his creation is ordered: "You have arranged all things by measure and number and weight."151 The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, the "image of the invisible God", is destined for and addressed to man…
Benedict XVI: “All things come from the Word, they are products of the Word. "In the beginning was the Word". In the beginning the heavens spoke. And thus reality was born of the Word, it is "creatura Verbi". All is created from the Word and all is called to serve the Word. This means that all of creation, in the end, is conceived of to create the place of encounter between God and his creature, a place where the history of love between God and his creature can develop. "Omnia serviunt tibi". The history of salvation is not a small event, on a poor planet, in the immensity of the universe. It is not a minimal thing which happens by chance on a lost planet. It is the motive for everything, the motive for creation. Everything is created so that this story can exist, the encounter between God and his creature. In this sense, salvation history, the Covenant, precedes creation. During the Hellenistic period, Judaism developed the idea that the Torah would have preceded the creation of the material world. This material world seems to have been created solely to make room for the Torah, for this Word of God that creates the answer and becomes the history of love. The mystery of Christ already is mysteriously revealed here. This is what we are told in the Letter to the Ephesians and to the Colossians: Christ is the protòtypos, the first-born of creation, the idea for which the universe was conceived. He welcomes all. We enter in the movement of the universe by uniting with Christ. One can say that, while material creation is the condition for the history of salvation, the history of the Covenant is the true cause of the cosmos. We reach the roots of being by reaching the mystery of Christ, his living word that is the aim of all creation.”[1]
…himself created in the "image of God" and called to a personal relationship with God.152 Our human understanding, which shares in the light of the divine intellect, can understand what God tells us by means of his creation, though not without great effort and only in a spirit of humility and respect before the Creator and his work.153 Because creation comes forth from God's goodness, it shares in that goodness - "and God saw that it was good. . . very good"154- for God willed creation as a gift addressed to man, an inheritance destined for and entrusted to him. On many occasions the Church has had to defend the goodness of creation, including that of the physical world.155

Me: What is meant by “good” in CCC? Veritatis Splendor: “Only God can answer the question about the good, because he is the Good. But God has already given an answer to this question: he did so by creating man and ordering him with wisdom and love to his final end, through the law which is inscribed in his heart (cf. Rom. 2, 15), the ‘natural law.’ The latter is ‘is nothing other than the light of understanding infused in us by God, whereby we understand what must be done and what must be avoided. God gave this light and this law to man at creation.’
            CCC #1955: “The ‘divine and natural’ law[2] shows man the way to follow so as to practice the good and attain his end. The natural law states the first and essential precepts which govern the moral life. It hinges upon the desire[3] for God and submission to him, who is the source that the other is one’s equal. Its principal precepts are expressed in the Decalogue. This law is called ‘natural,’ not in reference to the nature of irrational beings, but because reason which decrees it properly belongs to human nature:
Where then are these rules written, if not in the book of that light we call the truth? In it is written every just law; from it the law passes into the heart of the man who does justice, not that it migrates into it, but it places its imprint on it, like a seal on a ring that passes onto wax, without leaving the ring. (St. Augustine, De Trin. 14, 15, 21).
The natural law is nothing other than the light of understanding placed in us by God through it we know what we must do and what we must avoid. God has given this light or law at the creation.[4]
God transcends creation and is present to it:
300 God is infinitely greater than all his works: “You have set your glory above the heavens.”156 Indeed, God’s “greatness is unsearchable”.157 But because he is the free and sovereign Creator, the first cause of all that exists, God is present to his creatures’ inmost being: “In him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17, 28 In the words of St. Augustine, God is “higher than my highest and more inward than my innermost self”. St. Augustine, Conf. 3, 56, 11
Me: Rev. Gerald B. Phelan (Co-founder of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies with Etienne Gilson at St. Michaels’s College, University of Toronto) commented that he was taught at Louvain that esse is the only act which "God gives when he creates,"[5] and understood it to mean that "God gives esse and nothing more .... Just nothing but esse, writ small."[6] "The act of existence (esse)," says

"is not a state, it is an act and not as any static definable object of conception. Esse is dynamic impulse, energy, act- the first, the most persistent and enduring of all dynamisms, all energies, all acts.[7] In all things on earth, the act of being (esse) is the consubstantial urge of nature, a restless, striving force, carrying each being (ens) onward, from within the depths of its own reality to its full self-achievement ...”[8]

Me: And so, in creating, God, Who (in the Thomistic metaphysic), is Ipsum Esse Subsistens, gives esse as the act of all further acts. That is, all doing (agere) comes from being (esse). And thus, God is most intimate and present all to all of His creation.
God upholds and sustains creation
301 With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence: 
“For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living.” Wisdom 11, 24
302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created "in a state of journeying" (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call "divine providence" the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:
By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, "reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well". For "all are open and laid bare to his eyes", even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.Vat. 1, Dei Filius 1
303 The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history. The sacred books powerfully affirm God's absolute sovereignty over the course of events: "Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases."162 and so it is with Christ, "who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens".163 As the book of Proverbs states: "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established."164
304 And so we see the Holy Spirit, the principal author of Sacred Scripture, often attributing actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a "primitive mode of speech", but a profound way of recalling God's primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world,165 and so of educating his people to trust in him. The prayer of the Psalms is the great school of this trust.1Psalm 22, 32, 35, 103, 138
305 Jesus asks for childlike abandonment to the providence of our heavenly Father who takes care of his children's smallest needs: "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?". . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well."1Mt. 6, 31-33
Providence and secondary causes
306 God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures' co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God's greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles [9]for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan.
Me: The Christian anthropology of Vatican II (GS #24) is essential here. Two large principles are at work: 1) Subjects: Being created in the image of the Son, rational creatures (persons) must not only receive being [esse] but also must be related to by affirmation (love: grace) in order to have the identity of personal subjects; but also 2) Relational: having this identity and autonomy, exercise it freely by determining self to act in this way or that. Hence, Gaudium et spes #24: “Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, ‘that all may be one…as we are one’ (Jn. 17, 21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons and the unity of God’s sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only earthly creature that God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.”  And so, as “the Son can do nothing of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing” (Jn. 5, 19), so also, “without me, you can do nothing” (Jn. 15, 6).
Keep in mind: the anthropology that is at play throughout here is not Greek [individual substance]but Christian [relational subject]. Christ is the meaning of man (GS #22). And Christ is Priest. Hebrews 9, 11-13: “But when Christ appeared, as high priest of the good things to come, he entered once for all through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands (that is, not of this creat ion), nor again by virtue of blood of goats and calves, but by virtue of his own blood, into the Holies…” Christ mediates between Himself and the Father, Priest of His own existence. In Christ, this is autonomy. In us, it is “theonomy”[10] because we really do it with proper causality, but not without being created and loved by Christ. We know who we are by knowing who He is. By obeying His Commandments, we fulfill ourselves in freedom[11]. It would be “heteronomous” if we obeyed God simpily as “”Other”, but not as images.  When we freely determine ourselves according to God’s revelation of Himself and us as images of Him,
307 To human beings God even gives the power of freely sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of "subduing" the earth and having dominion over it.Gen. 1, 26-28 God thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbors. Though often unconscious collaborators with God's will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their actions, their prayers and their sufferings.169 They then fully become "God's fellow workers" and co-workers for his kingdom.[12]
 308 The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes: "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."Phil. 2, 13 Far from diminishing the creature's dignity, this truth enhances it. Drawn from nothingness by God's power, wisdom and goodness, it can do nothing if it is cut off from its origin, for "without a Creator the creature vanishes."172 Still less can a creature attain its ultimate end without the help of God's grace.173
 The Mission of Jesus Christ: The Kingdom of God. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk. 1, 14-15; cf. Mt. 4, 17; Lk. 4, 43). “The proclamation and establishment of God’s kingdom are the purpose of his mission: ‘I was sent for this purpose’ (Lk. 4, 43).”[13]
            “Christ not only proclaimed the kingdom, but in him the kingdom itself became present and was fulfilled… ‘Above all… the kingdom is made manifest in the very person of Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, who came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mk. 10, 45). The kingdom of God is not a concept, a doctrine, or a program subject to free interpretation, but it is before all else a person with the face and name of Jesus of Nazareth, the image of the invisible God.”[14]
            Locution to our Father (8/7/31 during Mass): (The Mission of the Work – “a sea without shores”): J"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself"   [Jn. 12, 32] and "You are my son (Psalm 2, 7), you are Christ."   He commented years later that he understood Christ saying those words “not in the sense in which in which Scripture says them. I say [them] to you in the sense that you are to raise me  up in all human activities, in the sense that all over the world there should be Christians with a personal and most free dedication, that they be other Christs." [15]

Providence and the scandal of evil
309 If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.
Why evil? To reveal Love. If “good” is self-gift, then evil is “self-referential” and, as the Pope says, “sick.”
 A companion question: Why suffering? John Paul II:
 “Suffering must serve for conversion, that is, for the rebuilding of goodness in the subject, who can recognize the divine mercy in this call to repentance. The purpose of penance is to overcome evil[16], which under different forms lies dormant in man. Its purpose is also to strengthen goodness both in man himself and in his relationships with others and especially with God.
            13. But in order to perceive the true answer to the ‘why’ of suffering, we must look to the revelation  of divine love, the ultimate source of the meaning of everything that exists. Love is also the richest source of the meaning of suffering, which always remains a mystery: we are conscious of the insufficiency and inadequacy of our explanations. Christ causes us to enter into the mystery and to discover the why of suffering, as far as we are capable of grasping the sublimity of divine love.”[17]
310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it?[18] With infinite power God could always create something better.174 But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world "in a state of journeying" towards its ultimate perfection…
Me: “ultimate perfection” consists in becoming “Love” (Agape) = loving the enemy.
…. In God's plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.175
311 Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil.176 He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it:
For almighty God. . ., because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.177
312 In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: "It was not you", said Joseph to his brothers, "who sent me here, but God. . . You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive."178 From the greatest moral evil ever committed - the rejection and murder of God's only Son, caused by the sins of all men - God, by his grace that "abounded all the more",179 brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good.
313 "We know that in everything God works for good for those who love him."180 The constant witness of the saints confirms this truth:
St. Catherine of Siena said to "those who are scandalized and rebel against what happens to them": "Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind."181
St. Thomas More, shortly before his martyrdom, consoled his daughter: "Nothing can come but that that God wills. And I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad in sight, it shall indeed be the best."
Dame Julian of Norwich: "Here I was taught by the grace of God that I should steadfastly keep me in the faith... and that at the same time I should take my stand on and earnestly believe in what our Lord shewed in this time - that 'all manner (of) thing shall be well.'"
314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God "face to face",184 will we fully know the ways by which - even through the dramas of evil and sin - God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest185 for which he created heaven and earth.

[1] Benedict XVI, Keynote address, Synod on the Word of God October 6, 2008, 2.
[2] GS #89, 1: “Since, in virtue of her mission received from God, the Church preaches the Gospel to all men and dispenses the treasures of grace, she contributes to the ensuring of peace everywhere on earth and to the placing of the fraternal exchange between men on solid ground by imparting knowledge of the divine and natural law.”
[3] CCC #27: The Desire for God: The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.
[4] In the spirit of Johannine theology, Basil knows that love consists in keeping the commandments. For this reason, the spark of love which has been put into us by the Creator, means this: "We have received interiorly beforehand the capacity and disposition for observing all divine commandments ... These are not something imposed from without." Referring everything back to its simple core, Augustine adds: "We could never judge that one thing is better than another if a basic understanding of the good had not already been instilled in us."
This means that the first so-called ontological level of the phenomenon conscience consists in the fact that something like an original memory of the good and true (both are identical) has been implanted in us, that there is an inner ontological tendency within man, who is created in the likeness of God, toward the divine [My emphasis]. From its origin, man's being resonates with some things and clashes with others. This anamnesis of the origin, which results from the godlike constitution of our being is not a conceptually articulated knowing, a store of retrievable contents. It is so to speak an inner sense, a capacity to recall, so that the one whom it addresses, if he is not turned in on himself, hears its echo from within. He sees: "That's it! That is what my nature points to and seeks."
The possibility for, and right to "mission" rest on this anamnesis of the creator which is identical to the ground of our existence. The Gospel may, indeed, must be proclaimed to the pagans because they themselves are yearning for it in the hidden recesses of their souls (cf. Is 42:4). Mission is vindicated then when those addressed recognize in the encounter with the word of the Gospel that this indeed is what they have been waiting for. In this sense, Paul can say: the Gentiles are a law to themselves—not in the sense of modern liberal notions of autonomy which preclude transcendence of the subject, but in the much deeper sense that nothing belongs less to me than I myself. My own I is the site of the profoundest surpassing of self and contact with Him from whom I came and toward Whom I am going. In these sentences, Paul expresses the experience which he had as missionary to the Gentiles and which Israel may have experienced before him in dealings with the "god-fearing." Israel could have experienced among the Gentiles what the ambassadors of Jesus Christ found reconfirmed. Their proclamation answered an expectation. Their proclamation encountered an antecedent basic knowledge of the essential constants of the will of God which came to be written down in the commandments, which can be found in all cultures and which can be all the more clearly elucidated the less an overbearing cultural bias distorts this primordial knowledge. The more man lives in the "fear of the Lord"—consider the story of Cornelius (especially Acts 10:34-35)—the more concretely and clearly effective this anamnesis becomes.

[5] G.B. Phelan, "Being, Order and Knowledge," Selected Papers (Toronto: PIMS (Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies) 1967), 127.

[6] Ibid., 126-27.
[7] St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, I, 4, 1, ad 3: Esse is the most perfect of all things, for it is compared to all things as that by which they are made actual; for nothing has actuality except in so far as it exists. Hence esse is that which actuates all things, even their forms. Therefore it is not compared to other things as the receiver is to the received; but rather as the received to the receiver. When therefore I speak of the esse of man, or horse, or anything else, esse is considered a formal principle, and as something received; and not as that which exists.
[8] Ibid., `The Existentialism of St. Thomas," 77.
[10] Veritatis Splendor #41-42.
[11] “If you abide in my word, you will be my disciples indeed. You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
[12] 1 Cor. 3, 9: “We are God’s helpers.”
[13] John Paul II, “Mission of the Redeemer” 13.
[14] Ibid. 18.
[15] J. Coverdale, Uncommon Faith Scepter (2002) 90.
[16]“(F)or me, sin is not a stain I need to clean. What I must do is ask for forgiveness and reconcile myself to it, not go to the dry cleaner around the corner. I need to go and find Jesus, who gave His life for me. This is an idea that is quite different from sin. In other words: sin properly assumed is the privileged place of personally finding Jesus Christ our Savior, of rediscovering the deep meaning that He has for me. In short, it is the possibility to live the wonder of having been saved.”
Bergoglio is asked about “a growing indifference toward religion on the one hand, and a strong search for religion on  the other, not always through orthodox ways:
                “Exactly. There is a denial of God due to secularization, the selfish egoism of humanity. And there are a thousand ways to search for God that require one to be careful not to fall into a consumer experience or, at its extreme, a kind of ‘immanent transcendence,’ that still does not result in true piety. What happens is that it is more difficult to enter into personal contact with God, a God that waits for me and loves. The pantheism in the air, like a spray, does not last. At the end of this kind of search we need some kind of idol, and we end up adoring a tree or seeing God on a tree;” Francesca Ambrogetti and Sergio Rubin,  Pope Francis, His Life in His Own Words Putnam 2010, 120-122.

[17] John Paul II, On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering,” #12 and 13; 2/11/84
[18] I add: Mt. 5, 43-48: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and shalt hate thy enemy./ But I say to you, love our enemies… ‘be perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

No comments: