Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Pentateuch, Day 2: In the Beginning

Creation, Lewis Bowman

In this first (short!) post on Genesis, we will see what the Church has to say about God's purpose and plan for creation.  

In the beginning, GOD created...

     With these stirring words, the first book of the Bible opens. The drama of our salvation commences in the very first verses and will continue on throughout the entire Scriptures, and, in fact, to the end of time itself.  The Greek Septuagint text entitles this book "Genesis", which comes from a Greek word meaning "to be born", and hence comes our title for this book of beginnings. 

Why did God create?

      Whenever we discuss the beginning of any project or creation, we also are discussing its end.  For who creates intentionally without some distinct purpose? 

Every agent acts for an end;  otherwise one thing would not follow more than another from the action of the agent, unless it were by chance....[God] purposes only to communicate His perfection, which is His goodness, while every creature endeavors to acquire its own perfection, which is the likeness of the divine perfection and goodness.  Therefore the divine goodness is the end of all things.--St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, 45, 4.

Christ, the Alpha and Omega
When God created the heavens and the 
earth, He had in mind a definite purpose.  All of His creation is directed toward the fulfillment of this end.  The end, or purpose, of all creation is the goodness and glory of God--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which is finally perfectly realized in our union with God in Christ.  God is both the beginning and the end of creation, the "Alpha and the Omega"--Rev. 21:6.

Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: "The world was made for the glory of God." St. Bonaventure explains that God created all things "not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it", for God has no other reason for creating than his love and goodness: "Creatures came into existence when the key of love opened his hand." 

The First Vatican Council explains:
This one, true God, of his own goodness and "almighty power", not for increasing his own beatitude, nor for attaining his perfection, but in order to manifest this perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures, with absolute freedom of counsel "and from the beginning of time, made out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal. . ."--CCC 293


We can not discuss the first few chapter of the Bible without at the same time seeing in them the seeds of salvation which will come to fruition in the Bible's final chapters:  

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a great voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men.  He will dwell with them and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them..." 
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  Revelation 21:2-3, 22

The New Jersusalem Descending, Carolsfeld

Here is fulfilled the plan which God intended to accomplish from the very beginning:  manifesting His glory by "the benefits which He bestows on creatures."  

We see this same theme in the opening verses of the Epistle to the Ephesians:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.  He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us.  For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.  Ephesians 1:3-10 
Christ Enthroned with Saints, William Dyce

As we begin the study of Genesis, it is important for us to bear always in mind the whole of salvation history and the final end of God's creation, redeemed and united to Him in the glory of Heaven.

Main Idea:  God created the universe, both seen and unseen, to show forth and communicate His glory and goodness.

Next lesson:  The Blessed Trinity

No homework! 

I wanted to post more, but this is all I could do before Friday, so I decided to post this, even though it is very short.

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