The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 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. These inspired words are rich in profitable instruction:”

Obiter Dicta:  The six days of creation story found in the Bible is located in Genesis 1:1 through 2:4a.  This story was written by an author identified by scriptures scholars as the Priestly author.  The priestly author lived during the Babylonian captivity and exile (c. 578 to 537 B.C.).

Genesis 1:1 through 2:4a is called the first creation story because it is followed by a second creation narrative which begins at 2:4b.  The first creation story reflects the trauma undergone by the Priestly author and his audience in Judea-Jerusalem and in Babylon during the Babylonian captivity/exile.  In order to cope, this author focuses on the need to maintain a cultural focus and an ordered life.  This is part of the explanation of casting God’s creation in terms of a sequence, an order, of days.  The purpose of such an explanation is to reinforce the traditions which support the physical and emotional and mental health of the author’s audience during its traumatic captivity and exile.  Such traditions emphasize much needed work and the need for rest ensconced within life sequence and order (the days of creation) which do not need a lot of mental effort to be remembered and followed.

In short, the first creation casts God’s creation in terms of days because this ordered sequence provides a descriptive metaphor which the Priestly author can use to honor God, speak the truth, and support a hurting community

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 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.”

Obiter Dicta:  Creatures manifest God by being themselves; by acting fully as the creature they are.  For sentient creatures, humility includes being aware of their nature/essence and acting in accord with their nature/essence.  In the words of Saint Irenaeus (c. A.D. 130 to 202); “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” (Gloria Dei est vivens homo

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 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.”

Obiter Dicta:  Paragraph 343 of the Catechism states that human kind (“man”) “is the summit of the Creator’s work” and that the creation stories in the Bible “distinguish…man from that of the other creatures.”

Angels are among “the other creatures”.  Despite the importance and value of angels, they are secondary to human kind in the sense that they were created by God as a divine tool to assist/serve human kind.

It might be wise to take this reality (i.e. the relationship of angels and human kind) in the sense that human kind need more help, than other creatures, to be holy and to embrace the holiness given them

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 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 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!””

Obiter Dicta:  To a person who is ill, correct medical treatment is of “more value” than an infant.  To a person with financial difficulties, money may be of more value  than an infant.  To a person in legal difficulties, a just legal system may be of more  value than an infant.  To a person with spiritual difficulties, prayer may be of more value than an infant.  To the farmer, a plow horse may be of more value than an infant.

And yet, no one would say that medicine or money or legal system or prayer or a horse is “more perfect” than the infant.

There is a hierarchy of usefulness.  There is not a hierarchy of perfection for each entity has a perfection (an end, a purpose, a goal) which is unique to the kind of being of which an individual is a part

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 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.”

Obiter Dicta:  Beauty is believed, by some followers of classical (c. 400 B.C. to A.D. 500) and scholastic (c. A.D. 1100 to 1700) metaphysics/ontology, to be a transcendental property of being/existence/is-ness.  If beauty is such a transcendental property it then exists wherever and whenever existence/being/is-ness is found.  Every thing which exists would then also contain beauty.

Beauty understood this way is manifested by “the order and harmony of the created world”, by “the diversity of beings”, “from the relationships which exist among them [those diverse beings]”, and in the “laws of nature”.

Beauty understood as a transcendental property of being/existence/is-ness is not “in the eye of the beholder” or “a matter of taste”.  Rather, beauty is a quality which exists in everything which has existence/being/is-ness.  Understood this way, being is not a choice or a perspective.  Rather, beauty is a property, the awareness and appreciation of which grows as one’s tastes mature

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 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.”

Obiter Dicta:  One should be cautious about judging as good-holy/bad-evil certain traits, qualities, attributes and certain differences of race, ethnicity, nationality, familial structure, lifestyle, gender, et alia.  At the same time, it is true that life well lived, socially and politically, requires that judgments and distinctions be made in order for individuals to prosper, in order for human kind to prosper, and in order for the environment to prosper.  But the making of such determinations depends on divine guidance, experience and skilled reasoning in regard to the ways of nature and the understandings revealed by natural law, and the assignation of authorities selected to make such determinations.

Caution is required because it is sometimes difficult to discern what traits/qualities/attributes/differences are essential for the well being of the human environment, human kind, and human individuals.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 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.” 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.”

Obiter Dicta:  When Jesus spent his forty days in the desert, one of the temptations presented to him by the accuser (i.e. satan) was to satisfy his physical hunger by changing stones into bread.  It is not part of the “particular goodness” of rock to become bread.  Becoming bread would contradict a stone’s “own stability, truth and excellence..order and laws.”  To agree to changing rocks into bread would be a “disordered use of things…in contempt of the Creator…” which could “…bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.”

Science and technology are wonderful gifts to us from God.  It is good that we can utilize the forces and things of nature to create new products which aid human kind; antibiotics, new sustainable food grains, eyeglasses, etc.  But we need to choose to be aware of when manipulation of natural things have detrimental consequences.  Genetic manipulation of insects to counter similar insects carrying human disease, nanobot based treatments for disease, the production of plastics for practical applications, oil based pesticides to increase human food production, fracking to increase the availability of fossil fuel resources, chemical products for making fabrics stain proof or fire-retardant; things such as these can sometimes cross a line in which the natural products are used in a manner so contrary to a harmonious balance with nature that the products begin to have “disastrous consequences for human beings and their environments”.  Human beings can become overdependent on such technological products, leading to overuse and misuse.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 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.”

Obiter Dicta:  We tend to think of creation as an event which happened in the past, at/with time’s beginning.  Further, we tend to think of the history of all created things as a process which God put in place at the creation event and then that process operates, to some degree, on its own.

It is better, more accurate, to think in the following terms.  Since God’s essence and the condition within which God exists are timeless (i.e. eternal), creation is one continuous ongoing timeless event as seen from God’s perspective.  From this perspective, it is correct to say that “…all existent things, all of nature, and all human history are…[are present in, the essence of] this primordial event [i.e. timeless creation]”.  God creates all of creation continuously in the sense of giving it its being/existence/is-ness and essence.  The primary essential fact of all created things and events is that they are created; are creatures.  God created the universe, as seen from our temporal perspective, about 14 billion years ago.  God created human kind a few million years ago.  God created one’s parents at some point in the past.  God created you and I.  God creates us and all of creation right now; this moment…and right now; this moment… and right now; this moment…

Also, from the perspective of us latter-day creatures with awareness and reasoning and will, creation was a singular event at the beginning of time (and/or within which time was created) which set into motion a host of temporal causal effects.

Every moment and event in created history is formed and framed by temporal causality (cause and effect events).  Also, the being/existence/is-ness and essence of every moment and event in created history is given its being/existence/is-ness and essence by God in God’s ongoing timeless (eternal) act of creating.  Every created thing and process is a composite of causality and creation (i.e. being given being/existence/is-ness and essence).

………….

A scholastic (c. A.D. 1100 to 1700) metaphysical description of creation is that “from nothing, only nothing results” (ex nihilo nihil fit).  Among and within created things and conditions, nothing comes from nothing.  However, God, who is not a created temporal being, but is being/existence/is-ness itself, is able to cause something (i.e. creation) to come out of nothing.

…………..

The physicist/mathematician Stephen Hawking (A.D. 1942 to 2018) and others physicists have made the assertion that the universe did not come into existence out of nothing but was formed by forces found within “empty” space itself.  Though such statements seem to contradict ex nihilo nihil fit, they actually do not.  The theist (one who believes in a creator God) can simply say that God’s timeless ongoing act of creation includes those forces from which a more local phenomenon (i.e. the universe) came into existence

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 337

“God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine “work”, concluded by the “rest” of the seventh day. On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation, permitting us to “recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God.””

Obiter Dicta:  Creation manifests the essence of God.  The essence of God is being/existence/is-ness along with the qualities of goodness, truth, unity, and beauty.  

The Greek language word translated as glory (δόξᾰ, pronounced doks-ah) is related to a verb (δοκέω, pronounced doe-kay-oh) which means appearing or being manifested.  God does not do things to obtain glory/praise.  Being complete and actual and perfect, God has no need for our praise and the glory we might give to God.  Rather, the act of creation, gives glory to God in the sense that creation manifests God’s essence to creatures.  The divine essence manifested in creation is not a glory earned or or an optional act done by God for the purpose of attaining glory.  Glory of/to God appears, is manifested within creation.

The purpose of God’s self-manifestation (God’s glory) is not for God’s benefit but for the benefit of creatures whom God has given the divine like qualities of awareness, reasoning, and will.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 336

“From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.”

Obiter Dicta:  Angels guard and protect us.  Baptism acts as a shield.  Calling upon the Holy Spirit as one’s advocate protects a person from the disabling accusations of accusers, whether spiritual or human or one’s own mental condition.  We call upon the saints to provide us inspiration.  In addition to the Holy Spirit, we find we can request help from God the Father and God the Son.  There are the human members of the Church living with us within the human condition who in constant ways serve us and others as the hands and feet and speech of Jesus.

We are constantly surrounding by iridescent irenic nebulosity of persons and beings, spiritual/eternal and temporal/corporeal, who care for us