Dies Domini 9: God’s Creation

Today, John Paul II reminds us of God’s creative agency in the universe. He mentions the “style” as “poetic,” but the title of DD 9-10, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gn 1:1)” is certainly an appropriate starting point, and not just for the universe in which we live.

9. The poetic style of the Genesis story conveys well the awe which people feel before the immensity of creation and the resulting sense of adoration of the One who brought all things into being from nothing. It is a story of intense religious significance, a hymn to the Creator of the universe, pointing to him as the only Lord in the face of recurring temptations to divinize the world itself. At the same time, it is a hymn to the goodness of creation, all fashioned by the mighty and merciful hand of God.

Let’s not worship the created: makes good sense. The Holy Father also puts the narrative of Genesis 1 in perspective: it is an act of worship, not a scientific account. In turn God offers an act of affirmation toward the created universe:

“God saw that it was good” (Gn 1:10,12, etc.). Punctuating the story as it does, this refrain sheds a positive light upon every element of the universe and reveals the secret for a proper understanding of it and for its eventual regeneration: the world is good insofar as it remains tied to its origin and, after being disfigured by sin, it is again made good when, with the help of grace, it returns to the One who made it. It is clear that this process directly concerns not inanimate objects and animals but human beings, who have been endowed with the incomparable gift and risk of freedom. Immediately after the creation stories, the Bible highlights the dramatic contrast between the grandeur of (humankind), created in the image and likeness of God, and the fall of (human beings), which unleashes on the world the darkness of sin and death (cf. Gn 3).

I find this an accurate and appropriate perspective.  God affirms the goodness of the creation, including people. And human beings, for their part, are involved in a pilgrimage of cooperation to participate in a recovery of that original grace.

Connection to  Sunday? It places the eighth day in perspective. Christ’s resurrection is part of our pilgrimage, but we’ll get to that in future posts. Meanwhile, any comments on Genesis 1?

The Vatican site has Dies Domini in its entirety.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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