Monday, November 30, 2009

Gen 2, 8-14 God planted a garden in Eden

(Gen 2, 8-14) God planted a garden in Eden

[8] Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed. [9] Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. [10] A river rises in Eden to water the garden; beyond there it divides and becomes four branches. [11] The name of the first is the Pishon; it is the one that winds through the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. [12] The gold of that land is excellent; bdellium and lapislazuli are also there. [13] The name of the second river is the Gihon; it is the one that winds all through the land of Cush. [14] The name of the third river is the Tigris; it is the one that flows east of Asshur. The fourth river is the Euphrates.

(CCC 378) The sign of man's familiarity with God is that God places him in the garden (Cf. Gen 2:8). There he lives "to till it and keep it". Work is not yet a burden (Gen 2:15; cf. 3:17-19), but rather the collaboration of man and woman with God in perfecting the visible creation. (CCC 377) The "mastery" over the world that God offered man from the beginning was realized above all within man himself: mastery of self. The first man was unimpaired and ordered in his whole being because he was free from the triple concupiscence (Cf. I Jn 2:16) that subjugates him to the pleasures of the senses, covetousness for earthly goods, and self-assertion, contrary to the dictates of reason. (CCC 374) The first man was not only created good, but was also established in friendship with his Creator and in harmony with himself and with the creation around him, in a state that would be surpassed only by the glory of the new creation in Christ. (CCC 375) The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, adam and Eve, were constituted in an original "state of holiness and justice" (Cf. Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511). This grace of original holiness was "to share in… divine life" (Cf. LG 2). (CCC 376) By the radiance of this grace all dimensions of man's life were confirmed. As long as he remained in the divine intimacy, man would not have to suffer or die (Cf. Gen 2:17; 3:16, 19). The inner harmony of the human person, the harmony between man and woman (Cf. Gen 2:25), and finally the harmony between the first couple and all creation, comprised the state called "original justice".

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gen 2, 7 God formed man out of the clay

(Gen 2, 7) God formed man out of the clay

[7] the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.

(CCC 362) The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that "then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being"(Gen 2:7) Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God. (CCC 363) In Sacred Scripture the term "soul" often refers to human life or the entire human person (Cf. Mt 16:25-26; Jn 15:13; Acts 2:41). But "soul" also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him (Cf. Mt 10:28; 26:38; Jn 12:27; 2 Macc 6: 30), that by which he is most especially in God's image: "soul" signifies the spiritual principle in man. (CCC 364) The human body shares in the dignity of "the image of God": it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit (Cf. 1 Cor 6:19-20; 15:44-45): Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day (GS 14 § 1; cf. Dan 3:57-80). (CCC 365) The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body (Cf. Council of Vienne (1312): DS 902): i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gen 2, 4b-6 There was no man to till the soil

(Gen 2, 4b-6) There was no man to till the soil

[4b] At the time when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens - [5] while as yet there was no field shrub on earth and no grass of the field had sprouted, for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the soil, [6] but a stream was welling up out of the earth and was watering all the surface of the ground –

(CCC 315) In the creation of the world and of man, God gave the first and universal witness to his almighty love and his wisdom, the first proclamation of the "plan of his loving goodness", which finds its goal in the new creation in Christ. (CCC 316) Though the work of creation is attributed to the Father in particular, it is equally a truth of faith that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together are the one, indivisible principle of creation. (CCC 317) God alone created the universe, freely, directly and without any help. (CCC 318) No creature has the infinite power necessary to "create" in the proper sense of the word, that is, to produce and give being to that which had in no way possessed it (to call into existence "out of nothing") (cf. DS 3624). (CCC 319) God created the world to show forth and communicate his glory. That his creatures should share in his truth, goodness and beauty - this is the glory for which God created them. (CCC 320) God created the universe and keeps it in existence by his Word, the Son "upholding the universe by his word of power" (Heb 1:3), and by his Creator Spirit, the giver of life. (CCC 321) Divine providence consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end. (CCC 322) Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (cf. Mt 6:26-34), and St. Peter the apostle repeats: "Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you" (I Pt 5:7; cf. Ps 55:23). (CCC 323) Divine providence works also through the actions of creatures. To human beings God grants the ability to co-operate freely with his plans.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gen 2, 1- 4a God blessed the seventh day and made it holy

Genesis 2

(Gen 2, 1- 4a) God blessed the seventh day and made it holy

[1] Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. [2] Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. [3] So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation. [4a] Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation.

(CCC 345) The sabbath - the end of the work of the six days. The sacred text says that "on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done", that the "heavens and the earth were finished", and that God "rested" on this day and sanctified and blessed it (Gen 2:1-3). These inspired words are rich in profitable instruction: (CCC 346) In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakeable faithfulness of God's covenant (Cf. Heb 4:3-4; Jer 31:35-37; 33:19-26). For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation, and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it. (CCC 347) Creation was fashioned with a view to the sabbath and therefore for the worship and adoration of God. Worship is inscribed in the order of creation (Cf. Gen 1:14). As the rule of St. Benedict says, nothing should take precedence over "the work of God", that is, solemn worship (St. Benedict, Regula 43, 3: PL 66, 675-676). This indicates the right order of human concerns. (CCC 348) The sabbath is at the heart of Israel's law. To keep the commandments is to correspond to the wisdom and the will of God as expressed in his work of creation. (CCC 349) The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ's Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendour of which surpasses that of the first creation (Cf. Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 24, prayer after the first reading).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gen 1, 29-31 God found it very good

(Gen 1, 29-31) God found it very good

[29] God also said: "See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; [30] and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food." And so it happened. [31] God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed - the sixth day.

(CCC 340) God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other. (CCC 341) The beauty of the universe: the order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man's intellect and will. (CCC 342) The hierarchy of creatures is expressed by the order of the "six days", from the less perfect to the more perfect. God loves all his creatures (Cf. Ps 145:9) and takes care of each one, even the sparrow. Nevertheless, Jesus said: "You are of more value than many sparrows", or again: "of how much more value is a man than a sheep!" (Lk 12:6-7; Mt 12:12). (CCC 2415) The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity (Cf. Gen 128-31). Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation (Cf. CA 37-38).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gen 1, 28 Fill the earth and subdue it

(Gen 1, 28) Fill the earth and subdue it

[28] God blessed them, saying: "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth."

(CCC 338) Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God's word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history are rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun (Cf. St. Augustine, De Genesi adv. Man. 1, 2, 4: PL 34, 175). (CCC 339) Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection. For each one of the works of the "six days" it is said: "and God saw that it was good." "By the very nature of creation, material being is endowed with its own stability, truth and excellence, its own order and laws" (GS 36 § 1). Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God's infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment. (CCC 1604) God who created man out of love also calls him to love - the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love (Cf. Gen 1:27; 1 Jn 4:8, 16). Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: "and God blessed them, and God said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it'" (Gen 1:28; cf. 1:31).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gen 1, 27c Male and female he created them

(Gen 1, 27c) Male and female he created them

[27c] male and female he created them.

(CCC 369) Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. "Being man" or "being woman" is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator (Cf. Gen 2:7, 22). Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity "in the image of God". In their "being-man" and "being-woman", they reflect the Creator's wisdom and goodness. (CCC 370) In no way is God in man's image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective "perfections" of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband (Cf. Isa 49:14-15; 66: 13; Ps 131:2-3; Hos 11:1-4; Jer 3:4-19). (CCC 383) "God did not create man a solitary being. From the beginning, "male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27). This partnership of man and woman constitutes the first form of communion between persons" (GS 12 § 4). (CCC 360) Because of its common origin the human race forms a unity; for "from one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth" (Acts 17:26; cf. Tob 8:6): O wondrous vision, which makes us contemplate the human race in the unity of its origin in God… in the unity of its nature, composed equally in all men of a material body and a spiritual soul; in the unity of its immediate end and its mission in the world; in the unity of its dwelling, the earth, whose benefits all men, by right of nature, may use to sustain and develop life; in the unity of its supernatural end: God himself, to whom all ought to tend; in the unity of the means for attaining this end;… in the unity of the redemption wrought by Christ for all (Pius XII, encyclical, Summi Pontificatus 3; cf. NA 1). (CCC 361) "This law of human solidarity and charity" (Pius XII, Summi Pontificatus, 3), without excluding the rich variety of persons, cultures and peoples, assures us that all men are truly brethren.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gen 1, 27b In the divine image he created him

(Gen 1, 27b) In the divine image he created him

[27b] in the divine image he created him;

(CCC 358) God created everything for man (Cf. GS 12 § 1; 24 § 3; 39 § 1), but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him: What is it that is about to be created, that enjoys such honour? It is man that great and wonderful living creature, more precious in the eyes of God than all other creatures! For him the heavens and the earth, the sea and all the rest of creation exist. God attached so much importance to his salvation that he did not spare his own Son for the sake of man. Nor does he ever cease to work, trying every possible means, until he has raised man up to himself and made him sit at his right hand (St. John Chrysostom, In Gen. sermo II, 1: PG 54, 587D-588A). (CCC 359) "In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear" (GS 22 § 1). St. Paul tells us that the human race takes its origin from two men: Adam and Christ…. The first man, adam, he says, became a living soul, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. The first Adam was made by the last Adam, from whom he also received his soul, to give him life... The second Adam stamped his image on the first Adam when he created him. That is why he took on himself the role and the name of the first Adam, in order that he might not lose what he had made in his own image. The first Adam, the last Adam: the first had a beginning, the last knows no end. The last Adam is indeed the first; as he himself says: "I am the first and the last" (St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermo 117: PL 52, 520-521). (CCC 360) Because of its common origin the human race forms a unity; for "from one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth" (Acts 17:26; cf. Tob 8:6): O wondrous vision, which makes us contemplate the human race in the unity of its origin in God… in the unity of its nature, composed equally in all men of a material body and a spiritual soul; in the unity of its immediate end and its mission in the world; in the unity of its dwelling, the earth, whose benefits all men, by right of nature, may use to sustain and develop life; in the unity of its supernatural end: God himself, to whom all ought to tend; in the unity of the means for attaining this end;… in the unity of the redemption wrought by Christ for all (Pius XII, encyclical, Summi Pontificatus 3; cf. NA 1). (CCC 361) "This law of human solidarity and charity" (Pius XII, Summi Pontificatus, 3), without excluding the rich variety of persons, cultures and peoples, assures us that all men are truly brethren.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gen 1, 27a God created man in his image

(Gen 1, 27a) God created man in his image

[27a] God created man in his image;

(CCC 306) God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures' co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God's greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan. (CCC 307) To human beings God even gives the power of freely sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of "subduing" the earth and having dominion over it (Cf. Gen 1:26-28). God thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbors. Though often unconscious collaborators with God's will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their actions, their prayers and their sufferings (Cf. Col 1:24). They then fully become "God's fellow workers" and co-workers for his kingdom (1 Cor 3:9; I Thess 3:2; Col 4:11). (CCC 308) The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes: "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13; cf. 1 Cor 12:6). Far from diminishing the creature's dignity, this truth enhances it. Drawn from nothingness by God's power, wisdom and goodness, it can do nothing if it is cut off from its origin, for "without a Creator the creature vanishes" (GS 36 § 3). Still less can a creature attain its ultimate end without the help of God's grace (Cf. Mt 19:26; Jn 15:5; 14:13).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gen 1, 26c Let them have dominion over all the creatures

(Gen 1, 26c) Let them have dominion over all the creatures

[26c] Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground."

(CCC 302) Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created "in a state of journeying" (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call "divine providence" the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection: By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, "reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well". For "all are open and laid bare to his eyes", even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures (Vatican Council I, Dei Filius I: DS 3003; cf. Wis 8:1; Heb 4:13). (CCC 303) The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history. The sacred books powerfully affirm God's absolute sovereignty over the course of events: "Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases" (Ps 115:3) and so it is with Christ, "who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens" (Rev 3:7). As the book of Proverbs states: "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established" (Prov 19:21). (CCC 304) And so we see the Holy Spirit, the principal author of Sacred Scripture, often attributing actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a "primitive mode of speech", but a profound way of recalling God's primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world (Cf. Isa 10:5-15; 45:51; Dt 32:39; Sir 11:14), and so of educating his people to trust in him. The prayer of the Psalms is the great school of this trust (Cf. Pss 22; 32; 35; 103; 138; et al.).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gen 1, 26b After our likeness

(Gen 1, 26b) After our likeness

[26b] after our likeness.

(CCC 355) "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27). Man occupies a unique place in creation: he is "in the image of God"; in his own nature he unites the spiritual and material worlds; he is created "male and female"; God established him in his friendship. (CCC 356) Of all visible creatures only man is "able to know and love his creator" (GS 12 § 3). He is "the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake" (GS 24 § 3), and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God's own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity: What made you establish man in so great a dignity? Certainly the incalculable love by which you have looked on your creature in yourself! You are taken with love for her; for by love indeed you created her, by love you have given her a being capable of tasting your eternal Good (St. Catherine of Siena, Dialogue 4, 13 "On Divine Providence": LH, Sunday, week 19, OR). (CCC 357) Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gen 1, 26a Let us make man in our image

(Gen 1, 26a) Let us make man in our image

[26a] Then God said: "Let us make man in our image,

(CCC 343) Man is the summit of the Creator's work, as the inspired account expresses by clearly distinguishing the creation of man from that of the other creatures (Cf. Gen 1-26). (CCC 293) Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: "The world was made for the glory of God" (Dei Filius, can. § 5: DS 3025). St. Bonaventure explains that God created all things "not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it" (St. Bonaventure, In II Sent. I, 2, 2, 1), for God has no other reason for creating than his love and goodness: "Creatures came into existence when the key of love opened his hand" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. II, Prol.). The First Vatican Council explains: This one, true God, of his own goodness and "almighty power", not for increasing his own beatitude, nor for attaining his perfection, but in order to manifest this perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures, with absolute freedom of counsel "and from the beginning of time, made out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal…" (Dei Filius I: DS 3002; cf. Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800). (CCC 294) The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us "to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace" (Eph 1:5-6), for "the glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man's life is the vision of God: if God's revelation through creation has already obtained life for all the beings that dwell on earth, how much more will the Word's manifestation of the Father obtain life for those who see God" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 20, 7: PG 7/1, 1037). The ultimate purpose of creation is that God "who is the creator of all things may at last become "all in all", thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude" (AG 2; cf. 1 Cor 15:28).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gen 1, 24-25 God made all kinds of wild animals

(Gen 1, 24-25) God made all kinds of wild animals

[24] Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds." And so it happened: [25] God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. God saw how good it was.

(CCC 300) God is infinitely greater than all his works: "You have set your glory above the heavens" (Ps 8:1; cf. Sir 43:28). Indeed, God's "greatness is unsearchable" (Ps 145:3). But because he is the free and sovereign Creator, the first cause of all that exists, God is present to his creatures' inmost being: "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). In the words of St. Augustine, God is "higher than my highest and more inward than my innermost self" (St. Augustine, Conf. 3, 6, 11: PL 32, 688). (CCC 301) With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence: For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living (Wis 11:24-26). (CCC 344) There is a solidarity among all creatures arising from the fact that all have the same Creator and are all ordered to his glory: May you be praised, O Lord, in all your creatures, especially brother sun, by whom you give us light for the day; he is beautiful, radiating great splendour, and offering us a symbol of you, the Most High…. May you be praised, my Lord, for sister water, who is very useful and humble, precious and chaste…. May you be praised, my Lord, for sister earth, our mother, who bears and feeds us, and produces the variety of fruits and dappled flowers and grasses…. Praise and bless my Lord, give thanks and serve him in all humility (St. Francis of Assisi, Canticle of the Creatures).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gen 1, 20-23 God created all kinds of swimming creatures

(Gen 1, 20-23) God created all kinds of swimming creatures

[20] Then God said, "Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky." And so it happened: [21] God created the great sea monsters and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems, and all kinds of winged birds. God saw how good it was, [22] and God blessed them, saying, "Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth." [23] Evening came, and morning followed - the fifth day.

(CCC 297) Scripture bears witness to faith in creation "out of nothing" as a truth full of promise and hope. Thus the mother of seven sons encourages them for martyrdom: I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws… Look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being (2 Macc 7:22-23, 28). (CCC 298) Since God could create everything out of nothing, he can also, through the Holy Spirit, give spiritual life to sinners by creating a pure heart in them (Cf. Ps 51:12), and bodily life to the dead through the Resurrection. God "gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist" (Rom 4:17). And since God was able to make light shine in darkness by his Word, he can also give the light of faith to those who do not yet know him (Cf. Gen 1:3; 2 Cor 4:6).