Sunday, March 8, 2009

Theology of the Body Reflections - The Creation Story

If we want to understand the meaning of life, and we all do, we must reflect on and come to understand the creation story. When Jesus was questioned about marriage and divorce, he appealed to the beginning. Throughout the course of human history, people have had different understandings about life. In order to truly understand life and the Christian perspective on life, I think the creation story itself must be a focus because we discover most of the answers concerning life in the very beginning. There is so much in the creation story that I don’t yet understand, and yet there are some very real and clear truths that I can understand and we all should understand because these truths are written on our hearts. If we don’t understand life, as it was originally brought into this world from our creator God, then we will have misguided thoughts on so many issues. It is essential then to go back to the beginning and analyze the meaning of the creation story.

Since there is so much information to be discovered in the creation story, I’d like to focus on just one or two elements of the creation story. I may decide to do a series of blog posts on the story of creation. These posts correlate to my reflections on the Theology of the Body, John Paul II spend a great deal of time discussing the creation stories, and should be read in relation to those reflections.

I think we need to start at the very beginning. I mean the VERY beginning. Before I get into the original innocence, sin, and solitude of man, I’d like to focus on the act of creation itself. The creation story is actually the creation mystery, because we will never fully understand the creation story. We can not fully understand the creation story because we as humans cannot fully understand God. We can grow closer to Him through acts of charity, fasting and prayer, observing nature, and though revelations given by God, but we can never fully understand Him. Although we can not know everything, we can know what God has revealed to us and he has revealed so much to us. We are not God. This is the first fact that we must all accept as Christians. Are you still with me so far? If you’re lost already, then we’re in some trouble.

We are not God, and while we are here on this earth we will never be able to fully understand Him. That is the first fact I take away from the story of creation. So why did God create us? Did he create this universe simply for his own entertainment? I don’t think so. As we read the creation stories, the creation of man is given special attention and special gifts. The very creation of man was the first and greatest gift from God. This concept of gift is a central theme in Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Let’s take a closer look at this great gift of creation and the idea of gift itself.

When God created man, he created us in the image and likeness of Himself. Our creation was a gift from God and life continues to be a gift from God. When a man and woman conceive a child, they are cooperating with God in creating the gift of a child. Every child is a blessing and a gift. When reflecting on the creation story and keeping in mind the idea of gift, we will see that the creation story is flooded with gifts. The first gift from God was the creation of man. A second gift from God was creating us in His likeness and image. He gave man dominion over all the animals and of the earth. He gave man gift of freedom. He gave man all these things and yet man had no suitable companion, so God gave man the gift of woman. In accepting this gift, man likewise became a gift to the woman. When man and woman give a gift of self to one another, they create another gift in conceiving a child. God created man and woman. He created man and woman as a gift to man and as a gift to one another. He created them so that they might become one flesh. Man and woman have been given the gift of procreation. The gift of child is the realization of man and woman's act of love and gift of self. Man, woman and child have all been created as a gift and together can be seen as an image of the Trinity. God created man, body and soul. He created us as a gift to be a gift to one another. Through this gift of self we discover love, which is the greatest of all virtues. God wants us to discover love and he yearns for us to share this love with others. He wants salvation for us, but He allows us to freely choose to love or not love. This freedom, this gift of life, this gift of love God has given to us so that we might better understand Him in his three Persons and so that we may be united with Him in glory when our time on earth has come to an end.

So life is a gift. It has always been a gift and it will always continue to be a gift. It is better to give than to receive, because to give is to love and to love is to know God because God IS LOVE. If we understand our life to be a great gift from God, every life is a gift from God, we will cherish and respect every human life. From the moment of conception, there is life. It takes man, woman and God to make a new human life. It is His will that life continue. It is our responsibility to remain open to life and to protect life at all stages. Remember always that life is a gift. God has given us many great gifts. Go out and share your gifts with others. In giving of yourself, you will discover love and you will be richly blessed. Praise God for the gift of life and may almighty God bless you all!

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