No. 825 Diocese of Marbel, Philippines 09 July 2015
THE GOSPEL OF CREATION
“Science and religion, with their distinctive approaches to understanding reality, can enter into an intense dialogue fruitful for both.” (n. 62)
I. THE LIGHT OFFERED BY FAITH
“The Catholic Church is open to dialogue with philosophical thought; this has enabled her to produce various syntheses between faith and reason. The development of the Church’s social teaching represents such a synthesis with regard to social issues.” (n. 63)
“Faith convictions can offer Christians” and “other believers”, ample motivation to care for nature…. “christians’ responsibility within creation and their duty towards nature and the Creator, are an essential part of their faith.” (n. 64)
II. THE WISDOM OF THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNTS
God created the universe. Everything was good (cf. Gen. 1: 1-25). Then “God created man in the image of himself…male and female he created them”(Gen. 1: 27). “They were created out of love.” (n. 65)
Genesis “contains…profound teachings about human existence and its historical reality. They support that human life is grounded on three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with neighbors, with earth, both outwardly and within us.” But sin ruptured this harmony (n. 65). “This in turn distorted our mandate to ‘have dominion over the earth’ (Gen. 1: 28) and to ‘till it and keep it’ (Gen. 2: 15). “As a result the originally harmonious relationship between human beings and nature became conflicted.” (cf. Jer. 3: 17-19) (n. 66).
“This responsibility for God’s earth means that human beings, endowed with intelligence must respect the laws of nature and the delicate equilibria existing between the creatures of this world.” (n. 67) Reason? Because the Lord by wisdom founded the earth. (Prov. 3: 18)
The Sabbath and the Jubilee Year (after seven Sabbaths) were instituted by God for the earth to recover its fertility, to save living species from extinction and to promote justice and peace. (cf. Gen. 2: 20; Ex. 16: 23, 21:10; Lev. 25: 1-4, 25: 46)
Psalms praise God for his “steadfast love” for his creatures (cf. 136: 6; 148: 3-8, etc.)
Prophets announced that the God who liberates and saves is the same God who creates the universe (cf. n. 73). “The God who created the universe out of nothing can also intervene in this and overcome every form of evil. Injustice is not invincible.” (n. 74)
III. THE MYSTERY OF THE UNIVERSE
“In the Judaeo – Christian tradition the word ‘creation’ has a broader meaning than nature, for it has to do with God’s loving plan: every creature has value and significance. Nature is usually seen as a system which can be studied, understood and controlled.”
“By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made” (Ps. 33: 10). God’s decision; not chaos, not chance but love for creation (Wis. 11: 24) (n. 77).
The universe, shaped by open and interconnecting systems, has countless forms of relationships and participation. (n. 79).
“Many of the things we think of us evil, as danger or sources of suffering, are in reality part of the pains of childbirth which he (God) uses to draw us into the act of cooperation with the Creator.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 310; “Laudato Si”, 80)
“God is intimately present to each being…His divine presence ensures its subsistence and growth…” “Something new can always emerge.” (n. 80)
“Human beings, even if we postulate a process of evolution, also possess a uniqueness which cannot be fully explained by the evolution of other open system.” Our capacity to reason, to argue, to invent, to interpret reality and to create art are signs of a uniqueness which transcends the sphere of physics and biology. (n. 81)
The sheer novelty involved in the emergence of a personal being within a material universe presupposes a directaction of God and a particular call to life and to personal relationship. Each human being is a subject, not object. Other living beings are likewise subjects, not objects to be manipulated. (n. 81)
“The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, already attained by the risen Christ, the measure of meetings of all things (n. 83). We are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator. (n. 83)
IV. THE MESSAGE OF EACH CREATURE IN THE HARMONY OF CREATION
“Each creature has its own purpose. The entire material universe speaks of God’s love: soil, water, mountains. Everything is, as it were, a caress of God.” (n. 84)
Nature is a constant source of wonder and awe. It is also a continuing revelation of the Divine. The contemplation of creation allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand us, since for the believer, to contemplate creation is to hear a message. (n. 85)
We can say that alongside revelation properly so-called…there is a divine manifestation in the blaze of the sun and the fall of the night (n. 85)
Nature, as a whole, reveals God’s presence. “The Spirit of life dwells in every living creature and calls us to enter into relationship with her. Discovering this presence leads to us to cultivate the “ecological virtues” (Brazilian bishops).
V. A UNIVERSAL COMMUNION
All of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect. Thus, the desertification of the soil is like a physical ailment and the extinction of species, a painful disfigurement. (n. 90)
A sense of deep communion with nature cannot be real if we lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings. (N. 91)
Communion means inclusion, not exclusion (N. 92).
VI. COMMON DESTINATION OF GOODS
The earth is essentially a shared inheritance whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone. Every ecological approach needs to include the right of the poor and the underprivileged. The first principle of the whole ethical and social order is to subordinate private property to the universal destination of goods.
“The natural environment is a collection of goods, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone.” (n. 95)
VII. THE GAZE OF JESUS
Jesus took up the biblical faith in God the Creator, emphasizing a fundamental truth: God is Father. (Mt. 11: 20)
Creation’s destiny is bound up with the mystery of Christ: “all things have been created through him and for him” (Col. 1: 16) (n. 99). Through him all were reconciled, making peace by his death (cf. Cal. 1: 19-20). So that, at the end of time “God maybe everything to everyone.” (1 Cor. 15: 28)
Christ holds all and direct them towards fullness as their end.
Next installment: CHAPTER III, HUMAN ROOTS OF THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS
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