Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ToB: Man's Awareness of Being a Person

I didn't give up on this, I was just house sitting, and there's no time over there to read. She's got more animals than I do, in a much smaller house, so it's kind of insane. Anyway, since Susanne's the only one reading them, I figure no one minded. :)

But we're back! Now, I can't recall that I mentioned this, so I will now. Theology of the Body is made up of the text of general audiences that Pope John Paul II held during his pontificate. So they're fairly short sections that build one on the other. So it doesn't seem like we're getting anywhere fast. I mean, this first chapter is based off of Jesus' response to the Pharisees. A fairly short incident. However, the first chapter, with footnotes, is 102 pages long.

Right then.

When God gives man the orders concerning the trees of the garden of Eden, most especially the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He adds the element of free will. The moment of choice and self-determination becomes a part of the make up of man kind. Building on the previous subjects, we now have a fairly complete anthropological view of mankind. A created being, alone, separated from the rest of creation by his own self awareness, and able, even charged with, the ability to choose. Mankind was given the faculty to decide to take the left or the right path. To follow good or evil. No other created being combines this kind of will and self knowledge with flesh. We are unique among the creation. And that places humanity apart from all the rest of it.

So where can Adam ('adam - mankind), find companionship? In another of his own kind, and nowhere else. Thus, God creates Eve, because no other created being will be able to match Adam.

'That means he, through his own humanity, through what he is, is constituted at the same time in a unique, exclusive and unrepeatable relationship with God himself.'

Does that apply to all humanity? Is the human relationship with God only possible between mankind and God? We know that the animals don't have the free will that we possess. They worship God in their own way, simply by existing, and doing what they were created to do. Does this idea that only humanity can have this sort of relationship with God completely rule out life on other planets? On a less macro level, do you think this means that each persons relationship with God is unique and unrepeatable? We all view the world differently. We have different thoughts, different experiences, different needs. On the human level, no two relationships (of any kind - romantic, familial, work, friendship, what have you) are ever identical. Two personalities coming together form a new, unique framework between the two of them which is unrepeatable if you change even one of the two participants.

Through the process of creation, the naming of the animals, the creation of Eve, and then the laws regarding the trees, man reaches a complete awareness of self. Separate from the world around him, and yet a part of it on a basic level.


  1. Very thought-provoking questions. Sometimes I cannot tell if YOU are asking questions or if the author of the book is and you are writing them for our reflection. :)

    I've always been amazed how that God - who has billions of people to see on this earth -- can somehow still make lil' ol' me feel loved and ministered to on a personal level. Like He doesn't just give me some generic response that He sent to 4 million of us at one time like we'd make copies and send a Christmas newsletter about our families. No, He touches MY needs. Yes, what I go through is "common to man" and in that regard He likely could answer me just like He answered 144,000,000 others, however, it seems as if He speaks to ME individually - comforts and encourages and sometimes rebukes ME. I always thought that was amazing how He can do that.

    But, hey, He's God so ... :)

    Do YOU think there are people like us on other planets? I guess anything is possible. Maybe they have their own squabbles about holy books and oil spills in the Gulf with which they must contend. *sigh*

    Great post!

  2. Susanne,

    It's usually me. :)

    Yeah, all of that would be impossible if He weren't God, so it's a good thing that He is, right? ;)

    'Do YOU think there are people like us on other planets? I guess anything is possible. Maybe they have their own squabbles about holy books and oil spills in the Gulf with which they must contend. *sigh*'

    I don't think that it's impossible. I lean towards it being true, but there's no hard evidence to prove it, so it's just a thought, really, and fairly unimportant at that. How 'like us' they would be is debatable, since they would have developed in their own unique fashion due to different environment and choices. But I do think it's likely that there is other intelligent life in the universe. Somewhere.


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