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Chapter 2. Creation

Tau Cross with alpha and omega.

Drawn by Rudolf Koch. Courtesy of Arion Press.

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As every story and every life has its beginning, so too there is the very Beginning to all creation. As we look up at the stars, comets and meteorites, the planets and the moon, and around at the earth, oceans and lakes, deserts and swamps, mountains and hills, the flora and fauna, and the peoples around us, we reflect upon the work of the Divine Architect. St. Thomas Aquinas referred to God the Creator as the "Unmoved Mover". God, Who Himself is Eternal, created out of nothing. He initiated the universe and life itself. God directed and continues to guide evolution and humankind in this great journey, this pilgrimage of life. May we be faithful pilgrims on this wonderful voyage of life. May we be responsible creatures and co-creators.

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Genesis Chapter 1

The Story of Creation

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was barren, with no form of life; it was under a roaring ocean covered with darkness. But the Spirit of God was moving over the water.

The First Day

God said, "I command light to shine!" And light started shining. God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness and named the light "Day" and the darkness "Night." Evening came and then morning葉hat was the first day.

The Second Day

God said, "I command a dome to separate the water above it from the water below it." And that's what happened. God made the dome and named it "Sky." Evening came and then morning葉hat was the second day.

The Third Day

God said, "I command the water under the sky to come together in one place, so there will be dry ground." And that's what happened. God named the dry ground "Land," and he named the water "Ocean." God looked at what he had done and saw that it was good. God said, "I command the earth to produce all kinds of plants, including fruit trees and grain." And that's what happened. The earth produced all kinds of vegetation. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. Evening came and then morning葉hat was the third day.

The Fourth Day

God said, "I command lights to appear in the sky and to separate day from night and to show the time for seasons, special days, and years. I command them to shine on the earth." And that's what happened. God made two powerful lights, the brighter one to rule the day and the other to rule the night. He also made the stars. Then God put these lights in the sky to shine on the earth, to rule day and night, and to separate light from darkness. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. Evening came and then morning葉hat was the fourth day.

The Fifth Day

God said, "I command the ocean to be full of living creatures, and I command birds to fly above the earth." So God made the giant sea monsters and all the living creatures that swim in the ocean. He also made every kind of bird. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. Then he gave the living creatures his blessing揺e told the ocean creatures to live everywhere in the ocean and the birds to live everywhere on earth. Evening came and then morning葉hat was the fifth day.

The Sixth Day

God said, "I command the earth to give life to all kinds of tame animals, wild animals, and reptiles." And that's what happened. God made every one of them. Then he looked at what he had done, and it was good. God said, "Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures." So God created humans to be like himself; he made men and women. God gave them his blessing and said: Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the ocean, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth. I have provided all kinds of fruit and grain for you to eat. And I have given the green plants as food for everything else that breathes. These will be food for animals, both wild and tame, and for birds. God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good! Evening came and then morning葉hat was the sixth day.

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And God saw that it was good. Creation is beautiful yet subject to the Creator of all. "How wonderful is Your Name O Lord, Our God!" (Psalm 75:1). The stars and planets, creatures of every kind, birds and fish, flowers and trees, and we Your children proclaim Your majesty. May we have eyes to see the goodness and beauty in each created thing and in every human person. May we respect God's Ways and be responsible servants of one another, and caretakers of the gifts and resources entrusted to us. May we give out of genuine concern for those who share this planet Earth with us. May we be wise in our utilization of this world's goods so as to provide for present and future generations.

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Genesis 2

So the heavens and the earth and everything else were created.

The Seventh Day

By the seventh day God had finished his work, and so he rested. God blessed the seventh day and made it special because on that day he rested from his work. That's how God created the heavens and the earth. When the LORD God made the heavens and the earth,

The Garden of Eden

no grass or plants were growing anywhere. God had not yet sent any rain, and there was no one to work the land. But streams came up from the ground and watered the earth. The LORD God took a handful of soil and made a man. God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing. The LORD made a garden in a place called Eden, which was in the east, and he put the man there. The LORD God placed all kinds of beautiful trees and fruit trees in the garden. Two other trees were in the middle of the garden. One of the trees gave life葉he other gave the power to know the difference between right and wrong. From Eden a river flowed out to water the garden, then it divided into four rivers. The first one is the Pishon River that flows through the land of Havilah, where pure gold, rare perfumes, and precious stones are found. The second is the Gihon River that winds through Ethiopia. The Tigris River that flows east of Assyria is the third, and the fourth is the Euphrates River. The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it. But the LORD told him, "You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden, except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over!" The LORD God said, "It isn't good for the man to live alone. I need to make a suitable partner for him." So the LORD took some soil and made animals and birds. He brought them to the man to see what names he would give each of them. Then the man named the tame animals and the birds and the wild animals. That's how they got their names. None of these was the right kind of partner for the man. So the LORD God made him fall into a deep sleep, and he took out one of the man's ribs. Then after closing the man's side, the LORD made a woman out of the rib. The LORD God brought her to the man, and the man exclaimed, "Here is someone like me! She is part of my body, my own flesh and bones. She came from me, a man. So I will name her Woman!" That's why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person. Although the man and his wife were both naked, they were not ashamed.

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The second account of Creation is another beautiful reflection upon God's Goodness. God formed man from the dust of the ground and gave him the breath of life. Man's seemingly simple act of naming the other creatures reminds us of our role to be care-givers and stewards of one another and all the flora and fauna surrounding us. In this story, God formed woman from one of man's ribs. How perfect the combination of man and woman, husband and wife, that they compliment each other and become one. May God bless marriages and families with unity and love.

The following chapter of Genesis tells us the story of the fall of our first parents. God gave them free will upon their creation in the Garden of Eden, a garden of paradise. In the center of the garden were both the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve could have been very happy with the rest of the trees including the tree of life. However, they did not listen to God葉hey disobeyed His command. They did not choose the tree of life but instead ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They sinned in their pride and disobedience. Original sin, disorder, and strife entered the world. Adam and Eve were banished from the garden and all seemed lost. However, God in His Goodness, had a plan to save all humankind. From Noah, to Abraham, the kings and prophets, we read the record of salvation history. Finally, God sent forth His own Son born of a woman. Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, suffered, died, and rose to forgive our sins. Thus, He restored order to creation and saved humankind, offering us again the "tree of life" (Rev 22:14).

The fact that there are two accounts of creation reminds us that God created all things, directed, and guides creation's evolution, even now. There is no conflict between religion and science. Instead may we always have a place for both faith and reason. May God grant us renewed faith (courage, strength, piety, fear of the Lord) to sustain our relationships to God and one another. May God bless us with reason (knowledge, understanding, counsel) to help solve the world's problems and to develop answers with respect for one another and for the earth and its creatures.

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Psalm 148

Come Praise the LORD

Shout praises to the LORD!

Shout the LORD's praises

in the highest heavens.

All of you angels,

and all who serve him above,

come and offer praise.

Sun and moon,

and all of you bright stars,

come and offer praise.

Highest heavens,

and the water

above the highest heavens,

come and offer praise.

Let all things praise

the name of the LORD,

because they were created

at his command.

He made them to last forever,

and nothing can change

what he has done.

All creatures on earth,

you obey his commands,

so come praise the LORD!

Sea monsters and the deep sea,

fire and hail,

snow and frost,

and every stormy wind,

come praise the LORD!

All mountains and hills,

fruit trees and cedars,

every wild and tame animal,

all reptiles and birds,

come praise the LORD!

Every king and every ruler,

all nations on earth,

every man and every woman,

young people and old,

come praise the LORD!

All creation, come praise

the name of the LORD.

Praise his name alone.

The glory of God is greater

than heaven and earth.

Like a bull with mighty horns,

the LORD protects

his faithful nation Israel,

because they belong to him.

Shout praises to the LORD!

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Every artistic work credits the artist. Prayer can inspire and energize the artist. In turn, reflecting upon the art can become a prayer. May we take time to reflect upon inspired, sacred art, icons as windows to the divine, statues and pictures of saints, holy men and women, poetry and meditations, and the Holy Bible. Together with all creation in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, we worship and praise God, the Divine Artist and Craftsman, who made us and provides for us.

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Hail, holy light! Offspring of heav'n firstborn.

憂ohn Milton (16081674). Paradise Lost [1667].

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The year痴 at the spring

And day痴 at the morn;

Morning痴 at seven;

The hillside痴 dew-pearled;

The lark痴 on the wing;

The snail痴 on the thorn;

God痴 in his heaven

All痴 right with the world!

由obert Browning (18121889). Pippa Passes [1841], pt. 1, "Morning."

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Our Father in heaven is the first beginning and final end of everything ... From the Father through the Son and Spirit descends each act of the love of God, creating, sustaining in existence, giving life and its development both in the order of nature as well as in the order of grace. ... With God everything, without God nothing! ... God wants to draw the soul to himself through love.

祐t. Maximilian Kolbe. Aim Higher!: Spiritual and Marian reflections of St. Maximilian Kolbe. Prow Books / Franciscan Marytown Press.

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As I make my way across Poland, I contemplate the beauty of this, my native country and I am reminded of this particular aspect of the saving mission of the Son of God. Here, the blue of the sky, the green of the woods and fields, the silver of the lakes and rivers, all seem to speak with exceptional power. Here the song of the birds sounds so very familiar, so Polish. All of this testifies to the love of the Creator.

猶ope John Paul II, 12 June 1999 (VIS遊atican Information Service). With permission.

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The glory of the Trinity shines out in creation. In fact, it is possible to see, in the light of Revelation, how the creative act is associated with the 'Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change'... in Holy Scripture, creation is often also linked to the divine Word which bursts forth and acts. ... At other times, Scripture highlights the role of the Spirit of God in the creative act. ... That same Spirit is symbolically represented in the breath of the mouth of God. Faced with the glory of the Trinity in creation, man must contemplate, sing out, rediscover his wonder. ... For believers, contemplating creation also comprehends listening to a message, hearing a paradoxical and silent voice ... nature is a gospel that speaks to us of God. ... this capacity to contemplate and know, this discovery of a transcendental presence in creation, must also lead us to rediscover our fraternal relationship with the earth, to which we are bound from the moment of our creation. ... If nature is not violated and humiliated, she will once more become the sister of man.

猶ope John Paul II, 26 January 2000 (VIS遊atican Information Service). With permission.

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The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches and reminds us of the Ways of Coming to Know God:

When he listens to the message of creation and to the voice of conscience, man can arrive at certainty about the existence of God, the cause and the end of everything (46).

Created in God's image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him... These "ways" of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person. (31).

The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world's order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe... (32).

The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God's existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. The soul, the "seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material", can have its origin only in God. (33).

The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality "that everyone calls God." (34).

Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) The proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason. (35).

Man is in search of God. In the act of creation, God calls every being from nothingness into existence. "Crowned with glory and honor," man is, after the angels, capable of acknowledging "how majestic is the name of the Lord in all the earth." Even after losing through his sin his likeness to God, man remains an image of his Creator, and retains the desire for the one who calls him into existence. All religions bear witness to men's essential search for God. (2566).

勇xcerpts from the English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for use in the United States of America Copyright 1994, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.有ibreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with Permission.

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All of Creation praises You, O Lord

(an Adirondack summer afternoon)

Chipmunks run about.

Robins, sparrows, chickadees call out to each other.

Red squirrels chase one another in play.

Osprey soar above the bay.

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Winds come and go from the lake.

Thunder pounds in the west.

The sun plays peek-a-boo from behind the clouds.

Clouds cover the blue dome.

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Ants, alone, wander about aimlessly.

Phoebes and woodpeckers make themselves known.

Porcupines rest under cover until night.

The loon laughs at all.

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Grouse fly away with a hurried rush.

Bees pass flower to flower of the raspberry.

The Sun dries the soil.

Leaves shake with the breeze.

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The thunder approaches.

The winds increase.

Birds fly low. Wildlife takes shelter.

Insects gather together; ants build up their entrances.

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Then everything is quiet as the Storm arrives.

Water drops out of the masses of water vapor.

Dripping on everything, the plants rejoice.

The birds sing as they enjoy the show.

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Chipmunks and squirrels have taken shelter.

The insects have hidden themselves beneath leaves.

Lightning flashes, thunder echoes, rain pours

From the dome above us.

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The soil soaks up the water; the plants will be satisfied; the wildlife is singing.

The wind howls; thunder follows the lightning.

After awhile, the storm subsides and

All is well and fine.

輸nthony R. Brach (1981).

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O God, our Father, we stand before You with praise for the wonders of Your creation, and with thanksgiving for the gift of Your Love. We open our whole hearts to You and to Your children, our brothers and sisters in You. Brother Jesus, may we walk, study, work, and rest with You as we meet each other along life's journey and in times of solitude. May Your Holy Spirit renew us with love, joy, and peace. Bless our work as co-creators with You, stewards and caretakers of the earth and life. Amen.

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Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

優oxology. A well-known prayer.

(C) 2002 by Anthony R. Brach.