CCC 36 “Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason.”1 Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God’s revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created “in the image of God”.2
CCC 225 It means knowing the unity and true dignity of all men: everyone is made in the image and likeness of God.3
CCC 243 Before his Passover, Jesus announced the sending of “another Paraclete” (Advocate), the Holy Spirit. At work since creation, having previously “spoken through the prophets”, the Spirit will now be with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them “into all the truth”.4 The Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another divine person with Jesus and the Father.
CCC 268 Of all the divine attributes, only God’s omnipotence is named in the Creed: to confess this power has great bearing on our lives. We believe that his might is universal, for God who created everything also rules everything and can do everything. God’s power is loving, for he is our Father, and mysterious, for only faith can discern it when it “is made perfect in weakness”.5
CCC 279 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”6 Holy Scripture begins with these solemn words. The profession of faith takes them up when it confesses that God the Father almighty is “Creator of heaven and earth” (Apostles’ Creed), “of all that is, seen and unseen” (Nicene Creed). We shall speak first of the Creator, then of creation and finally of the fall into sin from which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to raise us up again.
CCC 280 Creation is the foundation of “all God’s saving plans,” the “beginning of the history of salvation”7 that culminates in Christ. Conversely, the mystery of Christ casts conclusive light on the mystery of creation and reveals the end for which “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”: from the beginning, God envisaged the glory of the new creation in Christ.8
CCC 290 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”:9 three things are affirmed in these first words of Scripture: the eternal God gave a beginning to all that exists outside of himself; he alone is Creator (the verb “create” – Hebrew bara – always has God for its subject). The totality of what exists (expressed by the formula “the heavens and the earth”) depends on the One who gives it being.
CCC 292 The Old Testament suggests and the New Covenant reveals the creative action of the Son and the Spirit,10 inseparably one with that of the Father. This creative co-operation is clearly affirmed in the Church’s rule of faith: “There exists but one God. .. he is the Father, God, the Creator, the author, the giver of order. He made all things by himself, that is, by his Word and by his Wisdom”, “by the Son and the Spirit” who, so to speak, are “his hands”.11 Creation is the common work of the Holy Trinity.
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,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.”13 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.14
CCC 299 Because God creates through wisdom, his creation is ordered: “You have arranged all things by measure and number and weight.”15 The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, the “image of the invisible God”, is destined for and addressed to man, himself created in the “image of God” and called to a personal relationship with God.16 Our human understanding, which shares in the light of the divine intellect, can understand what God tells us by means of his creation, though not without great effort and only in a spirit of humility and respect before the Creator and his work.17 Because creation comes forth from God’s goodness, it shares in that goodness – “And God saw that it was good. .. very good”18- for God willed creation as a gift addressed to man, an inheritance destined for and entrusted to him. On many occasions the Church has had to defend the goodness of creation, including that of the physical world.19
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.20 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.21 They then fully become “God’s fellow workers” and co-workers for his kingdom.22
CCC 314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God “face to face”,23 will we fully know the ways by which – even through the dramas of evil and sin – God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest24 for which he created heaven and earth.
CCC 336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.25 “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.”26 Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.
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.27
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.28 These inspired words are rich in profitable instruction:
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.29 As the rule of St. Benedict says, nothing should take precedence over “the work of God”, that is, solemn worship.30 This indicates the right order of human concerns.
CCC 355 “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”31 Man occupies a unique place in creation: (I) he is “in the image of God”; (II) in his own nature he unites the spiritual and material worlds; (III) he is created “male and female”; (IV) God established him in his friendship.
CCC 372 Man and woman were made “for each other” – not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be “helpmate” to the other, for they are equal as persons (“bone of my bones. ..”) and complementary as masculine and feminine. In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming “one flesh”,32 they can transmit human life: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”33 By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents cooperate in a unique way in the Creator’s work.34
CCC 373 In God’s plan man and woman have the vocation of “subduing” the earth35 as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator “who loves everything that exists”,36 to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them.
CCC 703 The Word of God and his Breath are at the origin of the being and life of every creature:37
It belongs to the Holy Spirit to rule, sanctify, and animate creation, for he is God, consubstantial with the Father and the Son. .. Power over life pertains to the Spirit, for being God he preserves creation in the Father through the Son.38
CCC 1218 Since the beginning of the world, water, so humble and wonderful a creature, has been the source of life and fruitfulness. Sacred Scripture sees it as “overshadowed” by the Spirit of God:39
At the very dawn of creation
your Spirit breathed on the waters,
making them the wellspring of all holiness.40
CCC 1602 Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of “the wedding-feast of the Lamb.”41 Scripture speaks throughout of marriage and its “mystery,” its institution and the meaning God has given it, its origin and its end, its various realizations throughout the history of salvation, the difficulties arising from sin and its renewal “in the Lord” in the New Covenant of Christ and the Church.42
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.43 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.’”44
CCC 1607 According to faith the disorder we notice so painfully does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relations, but from sin. As a break with God, the first sin had for its first consequence the rupture of the original communion between man and woman. Their relations were distorted by mutual recriminations;45 their mutual attraction, the Creator’s own gift, changed into a relationship of domination and lust;46 and the beautiful vocation of man and woman to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth was burdened by the pain of childbirth and the toil of work.47
CCC 1652 “By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory.”48
Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: “It is not good that man should be alone,” and “from the beginning [he] made them male and female”; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: “Be fruitful and multiply.” Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.49
CCC 2002 God’s free initiative demands man’s free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only he can satisfy. The promises of “eternal life” respond, beyond all hope, to this desire:
If at the end of your very good works. .., you rested on the seventh day, it was to foretell by the voice of your book that at the end of our works, which are indeed “very good” since you have given them to us, we shall also rest in you on the sabbath of eternal life.50
CCC 2184 Just as God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done,”51 human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.52
CCC 2331 “God is love and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image. .. God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion.”53
“God created man in his own image. .. male and female he created them”;54 He blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply”;55 “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.”56
CCC 2402 In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits.57 The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. The appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.
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.58 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.59
CCC 2427 Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another.60 Hence work is a duty: “If any one will not work, let him not eat.”61 Work honors the Creator’s gifts and the talents received from him. It can also be redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work62 in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in his redemptive work. He shows himself to be a disciple of Christ by carrying the cross, daily, in the work he is called to accomplish.63 Work can be a means of sanctification and a way of animating earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ.
CCC 2501 Created “in the image of God,”64 man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works. Indeed, art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is a freely given superabundance of the human being’s inner riches. Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man’s own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill,65 to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God’s activity in what he has created. Like any other human activity, art is not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the ultimate end of man.66
CCC 2809 The holiness of God is the inaccessible center of his eternal mystery. What is revealed of it in creation and history, Scripture calls “glory,” the radiance of his majesty.67 In making man in his image and likeness, God “crowned him with glory and honor,” but by sinning, man fell “short of the glory of God.”68 From that time on, God was to manifest his holiness by revealing and giving his name, in order to restore man to the image of his Creator.69
1 Vatican Council I, Dei Filius 2:DS 3004; cf. 3026; Vatican Council II, Dei Verbum 6.
2 Cf. Gen 1:27.
3 Gen 1:26.
4 Cf. Gen 1:2; Nicene Creed (DS 150); Jn 14:17, 26; 16:13.
5 Cf. Gen 1:1; Jn 1:3; Mt 6:9; 2 Cor 12:9; cf. I Cor 1:18.
6 Gen 1:1.
7 GCD 51.
8 Gen 1:1; cf. Rom 8:18-23.
9 Gen 1:1.
10 Cf. Ps 33:6; 104:30; Gen 1:2-3.
11 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 2,30,9; 4,20,I: PG 7/1,822,1032.
12 Cf. Ps 51:12.
13 Rom 4:17.
14 Cf. Gen 1:3; 2 Cor 4:6.
15 Wis 11:20.
16 Col 1:15, Gen 1:26.
17 Cf. Ps 19:2-5; Job 42:3.
18 Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21,31.
19 Cf. DS 286; 455-463; 800; 1333; 3002.
20 Cf. Gen 1:26-28.
21 Cf. Col 1:24.
22 1 Cor 3:9; 1 Thes 3:2; Col 4:11.
23 1 Cor 13:12.
24 Cf. Gen 2:2.
25 Cf. Mt 18:10; Lk 16:22; Pss 34:7; 91:10-13; Job 33:23-24; Zech 1:12; Tob 12:12.
26 St. Basil, Adv. Eunomium III, I: PG 29, 656B.
27 Cf. Gen 1-26.
28 Gen 2:1-3.
29 Cf. Gen 1:14.
30 St. Benedict, Regula 43, 3: PL 66, 675-676.
31 Gen 1:27.
32 Gen 2:24.
33 Gen 1:28.
34 Cf. GS 50 # 1.
35 Gen 1:28.
36 Wis 11:24.
37 Cf. Pss 33:6; 104:30; Gen 1:2; 2:7; Eccl 3:20-21; Ezek 37:10.
38 Byzantine liturgy, Sundays of the second mode, Troparion of Morning Prayer.
39 Cf. Gen 1:2.
40 Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: Blessing of Water.
41 Rev 19:7, 9; cf. Gen 1:26-27.
42 1 Cor 7:39; cf. Eph 5:31-32.
43 Cf. Gen 1:27; 1 Jn 4:8, 16.
44 Gen 1:28; cf. 1:31.
45 Cf. Gen 3:12.
46 Cf. Gen 2:22; 3:16b.
47 Cf. Gen 1:28; 3:16-19.
48 GS 48 # 1; 50.
49 GS 50 # 1; cf. Gen 2:18; Mt 19:4; Gen 1:28.
50 St. Augustine, Conf. 13, 36, 51: PL 32, 868; cf. Gen 1:31.
51 Gen 2:2.
52 Cf. GS 67 # 3.
53 FC 11.
54 Gen 1:27.
55 Gen 1:28.
56 Gen 5:1-2.
57 Cf. Gen 1:26-29.
58 Cf. Gen 128-31.
59 Cf. CA 37-38.
60 Cf. Gen 1:28; GS 34; CA 31.
61 2 Thess 3:10; Cf. 1 Thess 4:11.
62 Cf. Gen 3:14-19.
63 Cf. LE 27.
64 Gen 1:26.
65 Cf. Wis 7:16-17
66 Cf. Pius XII, Musicae sacrae disciplina; Discourses of September 3 and December 25, 1950.
67 Cf. Ps 8; Isa 6:3.
68 Ps 8:5; Rom 3:23; cf. Gen 1:26.
69 Col 3:10.