Thought of the day
Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday of the Fifth week of Lent

“ Is it not written in your law, 'I said, You are gods' ? ”

Saint John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005
General Audience 6/12/79

“ Is it not written in your law, 'I said, You are gods' ? ”

“Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gn 1,26). As if the Creator himself retracted to create man; as if, in creating him, not only he called him to existence by saying: “May it be!” but, in a particular way, he drew man from the mystery of his own being. This is comprehensible because it does not concern only the being, but the image. The image must reflect, it must reproduce, in a certain way, the substance of its prototype...It is obvious that this resemblance is not meant as a portrait, but in the sense that the life of a human being is similar to that of God...

By defining man the “image of God”, the book of Genesis reveals what is peculiar to man, what distinguishes him from all other creatures of the visible world. Science, we know, has tried and continues trying to show in different ways the bonds of man with the natural world, to show his dependence on this world, so as to insert him in the history of evolution of the different species.

With all our respect for this type of research, we cannot limit ourselves to this. If we analyse man in the depths of his being we see that he differs from the natural world more than he resembles it. Anthropology and philosophy too proceed in this same way, as they try to analyse and understand the intelligence, freedom, conscience and spirituality of man.
The book of Genesis seems to go beyond all these experiences of science and, by saying that man is the image of God, it makes us understand that the answers to the mystery of his humanity must not be sought in his resemblance with the world. Man resembles God more than nature. It is in this sense that the psalm could say, “You are gods” (Ps 82,6), words that Jesus will repeat.