7th General Audience, October 31, 1979
1. The philosophical anthropology is expressed in the Lord God formed man with dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being Gen. 2:7 expressing the relationship between soul and body.
This living being is distinguished from all other living beings of the visible world. From the beginning awareness of man’s superiority: only he is able to cultivate the earth and subdue. Only he is able to name the creatures.
2. The structure of this body is such that it permits him to be the author of genuinely human activity -- in this activity the body expresses the person -- who man is and ought to be -- as a result of his consciousness and self-determination.
The Alternative between Death and Immortality
2. Man is placed before thy mystery of the tree of knowledge, You may eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for when you eat of it you shall certainly die Gen. 2:16-17). Man’s existence that he received from the Creator is that of subjectivity and bodyliness.
John Paul asks the question whether man could have understood the words “you shall die” since man’s only experience was that of existing in this life.This word “die” must have appeared as a radical antithesis of everything that man had been endowed with.
These words show that man is dependent on God, he has a limited existence, he could not fail to associate the meaning of death with the life he had enjoyed up to that point -- showing that man was susceptible to non-existence. Conditional construction: “when you eat, you shall die.”
It depended on man’s free choice, the structure within his own solitude, or whether he would enter with solitude into the circle of antithesis revealed to him. Together with the tree of knowledge of good and evil, appropriate the experience of dying and death.
Man should have known by hearing the words of God, that the roots of the tree plunged not only into the Garden of Eden, but deep into humanity, that this tree concealed within itself a solitude unknown to him.
4. Gen. 2:17, moves beyond the meaning of the body into the eschatological meaning of the body.
The human body is different from all other bodies, and the alternative is to be found in the body created from the dust of the ground.
The original meaning of solitude is permeated by the alternative between death and immortality, with a whole significance of the theology of the body.
8th General Audience, November 7, 1979
It is not good that man should be alone, leads up to the creation of woman. Gen 2:18.
The original solitude becomes the basis of original unity. The basis of Christ’s words to the Pharisees in Mt. 19:5, A man will leave his father and his mother and unite with his wife, and the two will be one flesh.
In Gen. 1 there is no original solitude because he is “male” and “female” from the beginning.
In Gen. 2, man is a body amongst bodies, belonging to the visible world, and yet going beyond it.
Bodyliness and sexuality are not identical.
Bl. John Paul says that, The fact that man is a “body” belongs more deeply to the structure of the personal subject than the fact that in his somatic [body] constitution he is also male or female.
Original solitude a reference simply to “man” which is prior to the meaning of unity; the latter is based on masculinity and femininity -- two different carnal beings -- two ways in which the same human being is created in the “image of God” -- is a body.
3. So, the Lord God caused torpor [=profound sleep] [or state of unconsciousness] to fall upon the man, who fell asleep; then he took on of his ribs and closed the flesh again in its place. With the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he formed a woman (Gen. 2:21-22).
Original solitude is broken because man waken’s from his sleep “male” and “female.”
4. The “rib” shows the homogeneity of the whole being, of both, the body and the morphology, confirmed by the man’s first words to the woman just created, This time she is flesh from my flesh and bone from my bones (Gen. 2:23).
This shows that the woman has the same being as man, “similar to himself” -- the woman is created based on the same humanity.
The woman is created out of flesh, that is, the “rib” -- life itself. And “bones”, too, can be understood in relational terms, that is, from “being.”
John-Paul points out what he calls somatic [Gk. somatikos] homogeneity -- similarity in the body -- even though there is a sexual difference, when the man say, she is flesh from my flesh and bone from my bones. She will be called woman because from man has she been taken, Gen. 2:23.
For the first time, man shows joy and exaltation, because there is a being now similar to himself.
This helps establish the full meaning of original unity.
9th General Audience, November 14, 979
There is an ontological unity, that of being/s, and one of sexual duality.
Then, man is also created with a particular meaning, who has value before God, but also for a particular value, for man himself:
First because he is man;
Second because the woman is for the man and the man is for the woman.
The creation of man in Gen. 1 expresses man in theological and metaphysical terms;
The creation of man in Gen. 2 expresses man in existential terms: “man has value.”
This experience of value is already present in the original solitude, [creating man in God’s image, and it is very good] and then, the value in the creation of man as male and female.
John-Paul says that when man sees woman, a being “taken from him” this is a biblical prototype of the Song of Songs.
The power of the first and “original” emotion of the man in the presence of the humanity and femininity of the other human being, seems, “unique and unrepeatable.” -- before the woman.
“Communion of Persons”
2. Solitude is what leads to a communion of persons or what John Paul refers to as a communio personarum.
A man was created for a purpose even in his original solitude, in the relational sense, and confirmed, in the negative sense, in his solitude.
The communio formed itself in a double solitude, man and woman, in their encounter, distinct from the world of living beings.
Concept of “help” also expresses reciprocity in existence, which no other living being could ensure.
3. Man was created in the image of God in the 1st account, and in the 2nd account he became in the image of God through the communion of persons, communio personarum.
This means that in the 2nd account the communio personarum could also prepare for the Trinitarian concept of the “image of God.”
Right from the beginning, the blessing of fruitfulness descended, linked with human procreation Gen. 1:28.
4. It’s when the man looks at the woman that he can say, flesh of my flesh, bones of my bones, in a way that humanity is manifested.
5. This anthropological reality is essentially theological. Man created in the image of God becomes a theology of masculinity and femininity.
The unity of the bodies: the two become one flesh, Gen. 2:24 has several dimensions: ethical, sacramental, theological.
From the beginning there is an incarnate communion of persons and masculinity and femininity express the two-fold dimension of man’s bodily constitution: body and consciousness of that body.
Fr. David Bellusci, O.P.
List of Titles
Lesson 1: What is meant by "Beginning"?