43. THE CREATION, GOD´S GIFT. In the hands of the man

In the hands of the man

1. Creative God´s action is the origin of everything, but we first need to discover the experience of faith to live the world and the life like a God´s gift. This is what happens in the Bible. God´s action in history goes in advance: “My father was a wandering Aramean. He went down to Egypt to find refuge there…” (Dt 26, 5 – 9), “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but Yahweh led us out of Egypt with prodigious deeds” (6, 20 -24), “he gave us this land that flows milk and honey”. Israel discovers first to God like Lord of history and then he acknowledges him like the Lord of the creation. We too, having discovered the living God who passes by saving, we come to live the creation like a God´s gift.

2. It is obvious, there are diverse positions. For instance, those who affirm: everything is God, the world is God (pantheism); there are two principles, the well and the evil, in permanent fight (dualism); the material world is bad and, so, it must be rejected and overcome (gnosis); only the material exists and it exists infinitely (materialism);God does not exist (atheism) or he cannot be known (agnosticism); the world is abandoned by the hand of God, God does not intervene in the history (deism), “we should not use God like the cover-holes of our imperfect knowledge” (D. Bonhoeffer), world’s evolution has taken place by fate (positivism), “the trial-and error is not only the fate, but the leaded Fate” (Teilhard de Chardin)

3. From the present experience of faith, the beginning of the Genesis invites us to live the world and the life like a God´s gift, like a man’s task, like an immense blessing cause to the father, from whom everything comes. The story is drafted about the fifth century before Christ by priests exiled in Babylon, who want to maintain the believer identity in a foreign land. Under literary forms and images typical of that time, the story contains a message of a permanent value about God, the man and the world.

4. “In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth had no form and was void; darkness was over the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.” (Gn 1, 1-2). The chaos, the emptiness, the darkness, the abyss and the waters are images that take us to the beginning, when there was nothing. The idea of the creation as of nothing is later on formulated (2 M7, 28). The expression “heaven and earth” designates all the reality. The story assumes the old vision or the world: the land down, the celestial vault separates the upper waters from the lower ones. We assume the modern vision of the world. The message is the same: the whole universe has been created by God. With the image of the bird that flies over the nest where its chicks are, God´s spirit appears hovering over the surface of the waters.

5. The story of the Genesis presents the set of beings successively created until reaching the man. The order is summary and global, it does not pretend to give a scientific explanation of the world’s origin, but a vision of faith. The order is increasing: the inferior beings appear first and they are subordinated to the superiors. The light (1, 3-5), the sky (1, 6 – 8), the land and the sea, the vegetation (1, 9 – 13), the celestial bodies, the sun, the moon, the stars (1, 14 – 19), the animals of the water and the air (1, 20 – 23), the land animals, the man (1, 26 . 31) appear. At the end, in the summit of the creation, appears the man, God´s image: “So God created man in his image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and in crease in number, fill the earth and subdue it” (1, 27 – 28). The man, male and female, is a God´s image, he participates in his creation power, he dominates the land, he has in his hands a task from which the world’s destiny depends. The world is well, even very well (1, 31)

6. The story presents the creation in the frame of a week that concludes with the Saturday’s rest (2, 1 – 4). The frame is religious. Everything is arranged to the man and the man is arranged to God. It is what the Saturday celebrates. The world and the life are a God´s gift, a man’s task, a blessing to the Lord motive. We can live the Saturday like a delight, a rest, a trip to the heights, food, future anticipation (Is 58, 13 – 14). It is said in the Letter to the Hebrews: “Then some other rest, or Sabbath, is reserved for the people of God”. We are invited to  enter this rest of God and to rest from all the own work as God rests from his work. (Hb 4, 9 – 10)

7. The world is neither the product of chance nor it is blindly oriented: “The one who made the eye, shall not be able to see?” (Ps 94, 9). The universe is an open book, it talks to us about God: “Heavens sing the glory of God” (Ps 19, 2). The world reflects God´s wisdom: “you ordered all with measure, number and weight.” (Wis 11, 20). Even more, the universe is inspired. God talks to us through the creation. God said it and it existed (Gn 1): “at the beginning it was the word”, says Saint John, “everything was make by it  and without it nothing of what exists was made” (Jn 1, 1 – 3).

8. In the experience of faith we can discover that we did not come to the world by chance neither are we left out of God´s hand. We have been called by God to the existence. He “calls into existence what does not yet exist” (Rm 4, 17). Every person is a unique reality who can be acknowledged like God´s creature: “It was you who formed my inmost part and knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Ps 139). Creation has not ended: “My father continues working and I also work”, says Jesus (Jn 5, 17). In spite of his limits, the man reflects a plenitude that transcends him: “you have crowned him with glory and honour, you made him rule over the works of your hands”, “O Lord, our Lord, how great is your name all over the earth!” (Ps 8)

9. Many, of course, do not see it in this manner: “The natural helplessness of humans is seen in their ignorance of God… They were interested in his works, but they did not recognize the author of them” (Wis 13, 1). God´s word by which the world was made, “the world did not know it”, “He came to his own, yet his own people did not receive him” (Jn 1, 10-11). According to the Vatican Council II, “the man can certainly meet God with the natural reason, by means of the created things”, but, “in the present condition of the humanity” God´s revelation is needed so that all men “can easily know, with absolute certainty and without error” what by itself is not unreachable to human reason (DV 6).

10. The Symbol of the Apostles confess that God is “the Creator of heaven and earth” and that of the Nicea – Constantinople adds: “of everything visible and invisible”. The readings of the Paschal Night, that celebrates the history of the salvation, begin with the story of the creation. In the catechesis of the first centuries, the preparation of the catechumens follow the same way.

11. The old poem of the four nights recalls those moments in which our destiny is in God´s hands: the creation, the alliance, the exodus, the future. When we take conscience of it, “we seemed to dream” (Ps 126), we discover that “God is love” (Ps 103), that it is just in the origin of the being (Ps 139), that manifests himself in the event of the life (Gn 15, 5 – 18), that he is with us (Ex 3, 15) also in the difficult days or when it is night, that opens a way where there is none: in the dessert, in the death. In his name, we raise the coup of salvation (Ps 116).

12 The history of salvation ends with the experience of Christ. It is what Paul contemplates in the loneliness of the jail (Eph 4, 1), God´s plan, and he sings it in the Letter to the Ephesians: “Blessed be God, the Father of Christ Jesus our Lord, who has chosen us in Christ before the creation of the world” (Eph 1, 3 – 4). In his design we occupy a place before and above the world’s creation. He elected us “from eternity  in love to be his adopted sons and daughters” (1, 5).

13. As in other time God´s people was liberated, now we live a new exodus through Christ “fulfilling his free and generous will” (1, 7 – 8). The mystery refers to the sense of the world and of history, such as it was conceived by God, summing up all things in Christ: “In him and under him God wanted to unite, everything in heaven and on earth.” (1, 10). Paul proclaims, astonished, the secret, the deepest gravitation of the world and of the history.

14. As in other time God´s people received a land in heritance, now we receive a new land through Christ. The new creation is being born: “We know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pangs of birth” (Rm 8, 22). The experience of faith seals us, marks us, guarantees it to us: “as promised, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit, the first pledge of what we shall receive” (Eph 1, 13 – 14)

15. It is God´s present. We need that God illuminate the eyes of our heart so that we know which is the hope to which he calls us, which the richness of glory that he gives in heritance to the saints and which the extraordinary greatness of his power for us, the believers, according to the efficacy of his powerful strength that he displayed in Christ, “he put all things under the feet of Christ and set him above all things, as head of the Church which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

* Dialogue
- The  experience of faith goes in advance
- Diverse positions
- We assume the world’s modern vision
- We live world and life like a God´s gift
- Like a human task
- Like a blessing motive to the father
- From the faith experience
- We have been elected
- The sense of the world and of the history
- The new creation is being born
- It is a God´s present

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