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Catholic Northwest Progress
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November 9, 1962     Catholic Northwest Progress
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November 9, 1962
 

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'6--TIqE PROGRESS Fr;day, Nov. 9, 1%2" w 'tHEOLOGY FOR THE LAYMAN: (LESSON God The Father Chapter Iil The Kingdom Is Formed (Continued) ,:/;,?,, This chap. ff  qJfJi l t o r i o l See 7"he %l i sep tember Creation Is Crowned, God's Special Gifts To Man One of the outstanding im- pressions left by reading the story of the creation of man in the garden is the sheer beauty and harmony of man's life there. It is an idyll. The man had in- timate contact with his Creator. That God walked in the garden in the cool of the evening is a poetic way of saying that Adam's relations with God were those of a good friend, God spoke of- ten with Adam. In the garden was a tree, the fruit of which, w h e n eaten, would preserve the man from dying. Death was a punishment for the sin. Ha'd there been no sin, there would have been no death for man. The man and the woman were naked, yet unashamed, they ob- viously had a control over them- selves that we do not know. All their natural powers were sub- ordinated to their higher powers, They were not ashamed because there was no lust in themt.rea, son ruled the roost, not passion. Also, paradise is pictured as a garden of pleasure. Man was created to work. Since when he fell he was told work would henceforth be difficult, we know that before the fall, work was easy for Adam. With full con- trol over his thoughts and ac- tions, mental illness .and various emotional upsets were impos- sible. Freedom from dying implies freedom from illness that weak- ens the body. In the garden man ran things and seemed to have control over the animals. The over-all picture is one of abso- lute peace and harmony within the man himself and in his sur- roundings; and pervading the scene is the paradise of familiar commumon with God. In the be- ginning all was indeed very good. The author of Genesis prob- ably did not understand com, pletely why things were the way they were in the garden--this was not fully revealed until Christ, but in portraying the uniqueness of man's existence in the garden he certainly under- stood that the man and the wo- man had gifts and powers from God above the gifts and powers they and their descendants had after the fa11. This uniqueness Genesis sets forth with the in- tent of showing the state of man in the garden the way it actually was. To discover what Adam had that was extra, we must first see what man has by his very nature. (Cf. Diagram above). Genesis has taught us much about God as He is. Around the triangle symbolic of God, are some of His main perfections, each of which He has infinitely --He is unlimited life, love, ex- istance, etc. This is His nature-- what He is, or in our language, what "makes" Him what He is. Man Is Special In the creation account we noticed a gradual build-up to the creation of man--first lower things were made: mountains, waters, then trees and herbs; then animals and finally the summit of creation, man him- self. On the diagram the basic grades of being are shown with the fundamental perfections or powers natural to each grade. The nature of each determines what each can or cannot do. Each higher grade contains the perfec- tions of the lower: for instance, a plant exists as well as lives. An animal reproduces as well as moves under his own power. description. Adam's relations with God were altogether exceptional and his fall from the state in which he was created was an abysmal let-down. To know God in the way Adam did certainly is a most special gift of God. In this he was operating way beyond the capacity of his nature. He not only had special preternatu- ral gifts, but his whole nature was raised up far above itself, so far beyond it that it surpassed all created or even creatable natures. This gift we call super- natural in the true and narrow meaning of the word. Destined For Great Things Adam was destined for great things and he had the gifts from God to reach the end God ex- pected, and we must remember LET DISCUSS IT ! NA?UILE$ a./ PFECIONS - SUPERNA?URA  NATUILA PRETERNATURAl, GRACE  KNOWS ly WILLS I., Idd g.m,h&j Freedom em P*;n SENSATION MOVES APPETITES ANIMM LIVES GROWS REPRODUCES ILeugh;nOI {$p,&;ng| XIS1'$ ($,stnol Man has all the perfections of the animal, but as we have seen man is specialhe knows and wills. This is our nature: all the things we can do -- thinking, willing, loving--are our natural powers as men. Along with a body we possess a spiritual soul. To complete our study of the various grades of being, we have the Angels. These creatures, composed of brilliant intelli- gence and free will, are not bound by the limitations of a material body. Learning is Work Right here in studying this chapter on "Creation" we have a concrete example that learn- ing is work. Everything man knows comes through the av- enues of his sensessight, hear- ing, touch, taste, smelling. Our mind abstracts the images pres- ented to it by our sensesthen we have a thought, an idea. The man in the garden thus learned about the animals and their na- tures. But Adam was created an adulthe had no opportunity to learn all that an adult must know in order to survive. God obviously c r e a t e d him with knowledge that was not due to him. Adam could have learned in time much that he knew the moment he was created but God chose to give Adam a vast store- house of knowledge immedi- ately. This gift was not totally above man's nature to know, but the wayhe got it was indeed beyond his natural powers. A gift of this kind we call preternatural. Ad- am's preternatural g i f t s are listed on the diagram and have been mentioned earlier in the that nothing can be created to share naturally in God's own way of knowing and loving Him- self. From the Genesis descrip- tion in the light of later revelation by Christ we know fully  whereas the author of Genesis did not  that this rais- ing of Adam's nature made him share in God's own life; he par- ticipated in some way in the Divine Life. This sharing by a creature in the very Life of God Himself, we c a 11 sanctifying grace: something that is entirely supernatural. Grace simply means gift; in this case it is a gift that makes the possessor share intimately the holiness and life of God. Later in the course we will study the full revelation of grace more thoroughly; this glimpse of it suffices to see the Genesis story in its real significance. Man had grace and the preternatural gifts in the garden; but through sin, they were lost. Had Freedom Of Will As part of his nature man had freedom of will. In God's plan man must give glory to God, but it is to be given freely. Freedom is an often misunderstood word used as a catch-phrase. We talk about freedom of the press, re- ligious freedom- thinking that man is free to do what he pleases. This is not true. Man is free in one way only: to obey God or not to obey God. Relig- ious freedom is used to mean that man is free to worship God as man sees fit. The course has been plotted; man is not in possession of the right to set the course, all he is free to do is follow the course set by God or not follow it and take the consequences of his free act. Our freedom is given not to break laws according to our whim but rather to obey the laws by exercise of our free will to willingly obey and love God and thus give Him the supreme honor and glory that created beings can give. In refus- ing to exercise our real freedom by choosing God, we fall into the slavery of sin. The poet Dante, in the Divine Comedy, voices a deep truth and one worth reflecting on when he calls Hell "God's greatest com. pliment to man." Of all God's creatures on earth, man alone is capable of Hell and conversely man alone is capable of heaven man of all creatures is free to choose which it is going to be. Adam, the original man and physical head of the human race, was given the chance to exercise his freedom in the name of all. He was to use his free will (his greatest g 1 o r y) positively to choose God above all else. Had he obeyed and passed the test, God alone knows what things would be like now  it is incon- ceivable. But Adam failed! CHAPTER IV The Kingdom Falls Since Adam and Eve had per- fect control of themselves through the preternatural gift of integrity, there c o u 1 d be no temptation from within. The sol- licitation to sin had to come from without. In some way a real, personal being appeared to Eve under the form of a serpent. Later revelation shows that this person was Satan, a fallen angel of unimaginable intelligence. A simple command was given by God; they knew what they were not to do. I READ: Genesis Chapter III i The literary account of the temptation and man's reaction to his sin is classic and a real les- son for us. Man never directly chooses to do something evil; he cannot. His will is set in one direction toward good. The only way it is possible for anyone to commit an evil act is to convince him- self it is good in some way. Let us line up the steps in the temp- tation to see this. 1. There is an evil suggestion calling the law into doubt. Satan's first word is a lie deliberately distorting the command. "Did God say... ? 2. The sanction is removed God will not punish. "No, you shall not die . . ." 3. Confidence in God is re- duced -- perhaps He is cheating you; He is un- reasonable to demand this of you. "For God knows that your eyes will be opened... " 4. The evil act is made to fell for the line proffered by the "father of lies" and SIN entered into the world. Sin is nothing but free break- ing of the divine law. Sin says, "I will this good instead of what God wills." That is all there is to it; but what a horrible thing to put something else be- fore the all-good God. Tried To Hide From God Precisely what the sin was that Adam and Eve committed we do not know; but it certain- ly involved pride and disobedi- ence. Notice the reaction of the man and woman trying to hide from God. When God confronts them, notice the first recorded instance of the game known as "passing the buck." This is a futile game to play, for God To be Read During Meeting: Entire Lesson. I. Can you tell the distinction between preternatural gifts and supernatural gifts, and can you tell which gifts belong to each class? "pre---" means "'beyond" the natural "'super--" means "'above" above the natural 2. Describe the cleverness of Satan in tempting Eve? Does the average Catholic realize that the Devil, through cleverness and trickery and deceit is trying to lead him to sin and eternal destruction? 3. Each of us is "born with original sin on our souls." Are we personally to blame for this? 4. Adam tried to blame Eve for his fault, and both of them tried to hide from God as if they could thus escape punishment. Isn't there a tendency today to rationalize sin away, to blame "society" or otherwise to minimize moral depravity? Can you think of examples? Can moral depravity ever escape the judgment and vengeance of God? 5. Jewish history has its great importance in the promise of and then in awaiting the Redeemer. Describe the story of God's first promise to send a Redeemer. Can you see why Genesis III:15 is called the first gospel? 6. The Book of Genesis is a history book. As such, should it have a place in the classroom of our public schools? 7. Was it just of God to punish us because of the sin of Adam and Eve? Consider God's special gifts to Adam as a parallel between our inheritance from Adam and civil inheritance laws. I I I I I I 1 I I I, I I I I I I I I I I I I ! I I I I I I I I- I .I -I ! I I ! 1 I I I I 1 I I ! appear as good -- a prize is offered for breaking the law. "You shall be like God." This is how temptation worked in the first sm and, with vari- ations, it is true 'of every sin committed since. Temptation is insidious  like a serpent it fools us into thinking we can get away with it. Adam and Eve knows what we do. When we have the misfortune of finning we must immediately acknowl- edge our fault and beg God!s forgiveness. We All Failed Adam's sin was ORIGINAE, in the sense that it was the first; when he failed the test, we aH failed. Genesis is the record Of (Continued on Page 7:)