1st General Audience of September 5, 1979
1. John Paul begins his audience in reference to the Synod of Bishops which will meet in Rome in the Fall of 1980, with the topic, De muneirbus famliae christianae “The role of the Christian family.”
[Delivered as an Apostolic Exhortation on the feast of Christ the King in 1981, Familiaris Consortio.]
The family as the community of Christian life that has been fundamental from the beginning.
The Lord used the word “beginning” in reference to marriage in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark.
2. John Paul II immediately goes into the indissolubility of when Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees in St. Matthew’s Gospel he immediately appeals to the “beginning.” See, TOB, p. 132; Mt. 19:3-8.
The Pharisees ask if it is “lawful, for a man to divorce his wife,” and then they refer to the certificate of divorce which Moses had allowed.
Instead, Jesus refers to God’s original plan, the original order willed by God with two references to the “beginning.” This is not how things were, and so, this is not how they were meant to be
3. In Gen. 1:27, we have the words, From the “beginning” the Creator created them male and female.
When Jesus addresses the Pharisees he continues with the passage from Gen. 2:24, For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and be united with his wife, and the “two will be one flesh.”
Jesus adds to Genesis, “what God has joined let man not separate.”
Bl. John Paul maintain that this is decisive: the principle of unity and indissolubility of marriage is God.
4. The words of Jesus Christ confirm an “eternal law” that is, a law that does not change, because it has its source in God the Creator, instituted by God, from the “beginning” of man’s creation.
2nd General Audience, September 12, 1979
First account of creation
1. We have two accounts of the creation of man and woman,
Gen. 1:27, “from the beginning he created them male and female”;
Gen. 2:24, “and the two will become one flesh” which leads into chapter 3, the Fall.
The second account of creation in chapter 2 is where God puts man into a deep sleep and he fashioned woman from the side of his rib.
2. 1st creation of man: places man within the cosmos, related to the creation of the world. In Gen. 1:27 only man is created in the image of God, unlike all the other creatures that are not created in God’s image.
3. Theological aspect of the 1st account of creation: man’s relationship with God, created in God’s likeness and image, so that he cannot be reduced to the material world.
4. With God’s creation of man and woman follows the mandate of procreation.
5. In this first chapter of Genesis man receives his being from God, and after the creation of man and woman, God saw that it was very good. Gn 1:31.
The 1st account is also more metaphysical in that man receives his being from God expressed in the image of God. The mystery of God’s creation corresponds to the human perspective of procreation.
Implications here for the theology of the body is that the body of man is very good because it receives its being from God, and man, male and female, in God’s image.
3rd General Audience, September 19, 1979
Second Account of Creation
1. The second account of creation emphasises the original innocence, man before the Fall, the harmony between God and His creation.
the 1st account is man is in relation to the world, the cosmos;
the 2nd account man is in relation to God.
John-Paul refers to the 2nd account as more psychological because of man’s subjective nature; the self-understanding of man, first witness of human conscience. (cf. Genesis 2).
This subjective character of man corresponds to the objective creation of man in the image of God that we find in chapter 1 of Genesis.
The words that refer to the indissolubility of marriage are found in the immediate context of the 2nd account of creation, where man and woman are created separately.
2. The name for the first human being is “man” adam. Only after the first woman is created is the man referred to by his maleness, “iss” in relation to “issah” “woman” because she has been taken from the male: is>issah.
By referring to Gen 2:24 Christ not only refers to the beginning of creation, but also the boundary between original innocence and original sin.
From the same flesh of man that God formed the woman, she was brought back to the man. Man said, “she will be called woman because from man she has been taken. Gen 2:23. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will be one flesh” Gen. 2:24.
How does this passage end? “Now both were naked, the man and his wife, but they did not feel shame” Gen. 2:25.
3. The fall of man and woman is linked to the tree known as the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil” Gen. 2:17.
John-Paul describes two situations expressed in Genesis:
1. Innocence: man and woman are outside the knowledge of good and evil: before transgressing the Creator’s prohibition;
2. Transgression: man and woman are within the knowledge of good and evil, after eating of the fruit, at the suggestion of an evil spirit, the snake.
The second situation places man in a state of sinfulness, contrasted with the state of original innocence.
Chapters 2-3 of Genesis have a fundamental significance for the theology of man and the theology of the body.
The comparison in Latin is referred to as status naturae integrae [integral] and status naturae lapsae [fallen].
The Perspective of the “Redemption of the Body” (Rom. 8:23)
4. Christ does not approve of what Moses had allowed, instead, he appeals to the beginning, the way things were meant to be, supposed to be.
The “hardness of heart” explains why Moses allowed for divorce. Christ does not accept this.
Although, man has lost his innocence, the original order has not been lost.
4th General Audience of September 16, 1979
1. The tree of knowledge of good and evil serves as a boundary between original man and historical man, man in his integral state, and man in his fallen state.
Original Innocence Original Sin
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
Original man Historical man
GRACE GRACE LOST
2. Historical man is therefore rooted in prehistorically or original man, so that his sinfulness is explained in reference to his original innocence.
3. Christ’s reference to the “beginning,” however, is not just to express the loss of original innocence, but also, is attributed to the mystery of redemption.
Already after man and woman broke their Covenant with God, they receive the promise of redemption in what is referred to as the Proto-Evangelium, tells us of Jesus’s victory over Satan,
Gen. 3:15: I shall put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring, and hers; it [he=Septuagint] will bruise your head and you will strike its heel.
Man participates in the history of sin, but also in the history of redemption.
Man is open to the mystery of redemption realised in Christ, and not just shut out of redemption due to original sin.
In refereeing to St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, St. Paul sates, “We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for…the redemption of our bodies” Rom. 8:23
John Paul reminds us that it is Christ who leads us from the state of original sin to original innocence and the “redemption of the body.”
This redemption of the body assures the continuity between original sin and original innocence.
4. Bodily man is perceived by experience which stop’s at man’s original innocence in some way;
John Paul states that, “Our human experience is the legitimate means of theological interpretation,” so human experience is the point of reference when we attempt to interpret in the beginning.
5. John Paul says, the “beginning speaks to us with the great wealth of light that comes form Revelation, and to which theology wishes to respond”-- [we study God in relation to God’s word.]
Fr. David Bellusci, O.P.
List of Titles
Lesson 1: What is meant by "Beginning"?