"In the divine image he created him"
Genesis 1: 20 - 2: 4A
Tuesday readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/021219.cfm
Our first reading from the book of Genesis this Tuesday tells us of the last three "days" of creation, which ends with God resting on the seventh day after all this divine energy is expended. Although some religious traditions take the words literally and claim the universe is only about 10,000 years old, reasonable science has supported our belief that this account is not an actual description of how things happened "day by day." The scientific examination of the created world here and vastly beyond this "little blue dot" as we appear from deep space would show such to be true.
But Genesis reveals the truth that God willed to set an order in place, a design that all things are in balance through some force that is present. The beauty of the universe reflects the beauty of the divine will and mind. The material world, the universe with all of its complexity and mystery did not come into existence of its own power; it did not simply appear from nothing of its own will. Something does not come into being from nothing. As someone famously stated: "If creation is this beautiful, what must God be like?" Ponder that one.
Therefore, human reason concludes there must be a "Something or Someone" to produce a "something." How did that first something come to be? Thus we come to the great medieval theologian/philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas and proofs for God's existence beginning with his famed "unmoved mover" argument. https://www.serviamministries.com/blog/proving-the-existence-of-god-st-thomas-aquinas-five-ways-examined/ To claim the existence of a divine intelligence outside of space and time (which is a creation of itself) must be true from the use of our reason. It makes sense, is logical, to assume that something which was not created must be the origin of all the material world.
The part of the creation story we hear today beautifully reminds us that the creation of humanity, man and woman, was done on the 6th and last "day" after everything else was brought into existence: the natural and animal world. Humanity stands above all else and in a singular position that God did not do for other forms of the material and biological, God created man (humanity) "in his image." What does it mean to be created in the image of God?
Last week one of our RCIA candidates asked in affect: "Do we look like God or does God look like us?" Well, correct in the sense that although we don't look like God for he is pure spirit, his life, his breath, spirit, lives within us. We have both a material and spiritual nature. Unlike the animal world which subsists with a natural soul, human beings have an immortal soul. With animals there is not moral code of behavior. Try saying to a Lion that it is wrong and sinful to hunt down living prey. What motivates an animal, a dog to do certain tricks, is food. A dog will dig, a cat will scratch, a bird will fly according to their instinct and nature. To tell a pit-bull that he should go into an anger management class when he feels the urge to attack would be to deny the natural order of things. Animals are guided by instinct according to their nature.
But human beings have the gift of free will and reason. We are a joining of material and spiritual. Meaning, we are "like" God in the sense of a spirit nature that he has given us. It is that our immortal soul which is unique to each of us, will at the time of our death, be separated from our bodies and go on to eternity. When animals die, they simply cease to exist yet are motivated by their natural instinct to be "naturally" what they are created to be: a dog, cat, cow, bird, fish, etc. Are their animals in heaven? We'll have to wait and see.
Because we are the most God-like of all creation, he has given us "dominion" over all that he has created. We have a divine mandate, as we hear in the passage, to be responsible for God's beautiful creation and especially our fellow humans. To be worthy of the life God has given us as pure gift out of love. To use our brains, our reason, our conscience for the good of all around us. To serve our creator in love and by loving others who are part of his creation.
And so on Sundays, the day of rest, the sabbath, we come to give thanks for who God has made us to be and to proclaim our faith in his Son who came and inserted himself into the material world which he had made. Jesus reveals to us not only who God is, what he is like, but also who we are and what we are meant to be.
Pray this day that we become worthy and serve our Creator as he desires. Eternal life is our promise.