Class Three Outline
1. “I believe in One God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen”
(a) creation of universe ex nihilo (out of nothing) and ab initio temporis (at the beginning of time)
(b) creation of angels
(c) creation of mankind
(d) the universe, angels, and human beings are not accidental or arbitrary products of chance, but willed by God
(e) Divine Providence – God sustaining what He has created
B. The Creation and Nature of Man (CCC 355-421, 1846-1876)
1. Who and What is “Man”?
(a) created by God in Love and Truth, contingent and dependent upon Him
(b) Man – male and female, equal and complementary – is made in the image of the Triune God
(c) “not good for the man to be alone” – emptiness of individual solitude
-- (i) social-relational beings, incomplete in ourselves, in need of an other and Other in order to be true to ourselves
-- (ii) meant to exist both in general society and in a specific loving communion of persons
(d) body and soul, having one nature of matter and spirit, which is temporal and transcendent
(e) a human being is a person – a free subject with an inherent dignity, not an object or thing, possessed with sentience and free will, as well as the capacity for reason and for love
(f) God does not force His love or truth on us against our will – God does not even save us without our consent, we are free to choose to return His love or to reject Him and live our lives apart from Him
(g) the existence of free will means that we are morally responsible for our own willful choices
2. What is the Meaning of Life?
(a) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself”
(b) love one another, as Jesus loves us, so too should we love one another
(c) God reveals meaning of life in scripture and in our very bodies, male and female
(d) we are made to love and be loved in truth
-- (i) made in the image of the Triune God, who is Love and Truth, this love is not merely relational, but spousal in nature, a love which is unitive and fruitful (procreative)
C. The Fall of Mankind
1. Original Sin
(a) sin – Original and personal – necessarily is in opposition to God, who is Truth and Love
(b) More than merely disobeying God, Adam and Eve erroneously believed that they did not need God, but could be gods themselves with the power to choose their own truth, their own concepts of right and wrong. Mankind effectively rejected God.
-- (i) this Original Sin has affected and infected us all, leaving a stain on our very being
-- (ii) the stain of Original Sin cannot be removed by our own efforts, but requires the transformative power of God, which we receive in Baptism
2. The Consequences of Original (and Personal) Sin
(a) a wide gulf of separation between humanity and God was created, so great that human beings are incapable of crossing it on his own
(b) death – ultimately, sin so removes us from Truth and Love, that is, Life, that we are “doomed to die”
(c) corruption of human nature, including ability to love and discern truth
(d) weakened will and impairment of reason, judgment, and ability to see and know God, rejection of Light has thrown us into darkness
(e) intrinsic punishment of being a slave to error and further sin, and temptations overwhelm us
(f) poisons relations not only with God, but other humans as well – instead of living a life of love and truth toward others, mankind has lived a life of selfish self-gratification and exploitation of others; instead of harmony, there is discord
-- (i) Adam and Eve – each blames the other
-- (ii) Cain and Abel – Cain murders his brother
-- (iii) Tower of Babel – the sin of mankind led to social disunity and division – (compare this with sanctification by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost leading to social unity)
3. Mankind forgets knowledge of God
(a) Humanity fell so far away from God that eventually we forgot all about the truth of God. Instead of knowing the truth of who and what God is, mankind embraced all sorts of false ideas and religious practices, including –.
-- (i) polytheism – belief in multiple gods and goddesses, often limited to places, actions, etc.
-- (ii) animism – belief in animal gods/spirits, etc.
-- (iii) idol worship
-- (iv) appeasement (including human sacrifice)
-- (v) divinity of worldly rulers