Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Human Being

The human being, is a living image of the living God. To express the dynamics of such an artistic work of the Creator, Origenes, as well as a great part of the Eastern Tradition after him, used two Biblical words (Gen 1:26-27): image and likeness. This was their way in responding to Gnosticism, a heresy of their time. 
Gnostics used to classify people into different categories. People could not move beyond these categories until their death. For instance, a person born with an attraction to material things, always remained materialist, and a spiritually oriented person always acted in a spiritual way. 
On the one hand, it seems psychologically sound on the other hand there is a problem. This belief denies the effectiveness of divine mercy and the power of the free human will. Moreover, St. Paul exhorts all people to a spiritual growth, “until Christ be formed in you” (Gal 4:19). Jacob’s vision of the ladder, on which angels ascend to and from heaven (Gn. 28:12) became a traditional symbol of spiritual progress, especially among the Syrian Fathers.

Link (here) to the full article by Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, S.J. entitled Image and Freedom, the piece is found in Vulgata.

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