This post, the second of three themes in “The Beauty of Creation.” Human beings are creations of God, and so we are part of the firmament of the universe, of the goodness of divine creation. Because of the free choice of our fall, the Son of God renews, reforms, and elevates us.
B) From Creation to Re-creation.
Among the creatures, there is one with a certain similarity to God: (Humankind) created in His image and likeness. By a spiritual soul, (we carry) in (ourselves) a “germ of eternity irreducible to matter alone.” (GS18)
So, destroy and eliminate the physical being; no matter: something remains, something of us.
But the image has been altered by the first sin, that poison which injures the will in its leaning to the good and thereby obscures intelligence and deviates the senses. The beauty of the soul, thirsty for truth and the beloved, loses its splendor and becomes capable of evil, of ugliness. A child witnessing an evil act does not assert, “This is not beautiful!” For ugliness—and hence a priori good—appears in the domain of the moral and turns back on (us), its subject. With sin, he has lost his beauty and sees himself naked, even unto feeling shame.
God intervenes for us, and Jesus comes:
The coming of the Redeemer re-establishes (people) in (their) first beauty; moreover, it redresses (them) in a new beauty: the unimaginable beauty of the creature raised up to divine sonship, the transfiguration promised by the soul ransomed and lifted up by Grace, resplendent in all its fibre, the body called to new life.
Here is the theme of re-creation:
If Christ, the New Adam, “fully reveals (us to ourselves) and makes (our) supreme calling clear,” (GS 22) the Christian approach to the beauty of creation finds its summit in the overwhelming newness of the re-creation: Christ, perfect representation of the glory of the Father, communicates to (us) the fullness of Grace. He makes (us) gracious, i.e. beautiful and agreeable to God. The Incarnation is the focal center, the correct perspective in which beauty takes its ultimate meaning. “He who is the ‘image of the invisible God’ (Colossians 1:15) is Himself the perfect man who has restored in the children of Adam that likeness to God which had been disfigured ever since the first sin.
In a way, this is a familiar action of the Second Person, as Christian tradition has associated the figure of Proverbs 8:22-31 with the person at play at the dawn of creation. Jesus also is present to us and assists us when we appeal for redemption after falling into son.
Human nature, by the very act that it was assumed, not absorbed, in Him, has been raised to a dignity beyond compare. For by His Incarnation, He, the Son of God, has in a certain way united Himself with each (person).” (GS 22) We will return later to the beauty of the holiness that emanates from those configured to Christ under the breath of the Holy Spirit. It is one of the most beautiful witnesses, capable of stirring the most indifferent hearts and letting them feel the passage of God in the lives of (people).
This restoration of life continues:
In an action of continuous Grace, the Christian worships Christ who has given him back life, and lets himself be transfigured by the glorious gifts he has made. Our eyes, eager for beauty, let themselves be attracted to the New Adam, true icon of the eternal Father, “radiant light of God’s glory” and “perfect copy of His nature.” (Hebrews 1:3) To the pure in heart, to whom it has been promised to see God face-to-face, Christ has already made it possible to perceive the light of the glory at the very heart of the night of faith.
The full document is here.
Image: the rose window at Notre Dame in Paris, By Zachi Evenor based on File:North rose window of Notre-Dame de Paris, Aug 2010.jpg by Julie Anne Workman – CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60404628