Is Man really Good ?

Recently , I was given the opportunity to speak to a group of Franciscans on the subject of Man and his relationship to God. This was to be on the subject of a book that was to be used in the context of spiritual formation and education.

The very first part of the book talked about how it is that Man is GOOD.

The other morning I was having coffee with my friend at work who is a Christian who is of a different faith tradition that I, and we started talking about this subject. He confessed that he did not think that men were GOOD , or at least not all of them. So this set me off on the search for how it is that we view mankind.

Genesis Chapter 1 :

26l Then God said: Let us make* human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth.

27God created mankind in his image;

in the image of God he created them;

male and female* he created them.

28God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.* Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.m 29* n God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; 30and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food. And so it happened. 31God looked at everything he had made, and found it VERY GOOD. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day.o ( capitalization added for emphasis).

The first man was not only created good, but was also established in friendship with his Creator and in harmony with himself and creation around him in a state that would be surpassed only by the glory of the new creation Christ.( CCC# 374)

In #375 it is shared that at the Council of Trent (1546), Adam and Eve were constituted in an original state of holiness and justice.

And in Lumen Gentium we are to understand that this state of holiness was to share in divine life.

OK so by this point I believe we can reasonably understand that Man was created good.

Now, We can talk about our conscience. :

“By his reason, man recognizes the voice of God which urges him to do what is good and avoid what is evil.” ( CCC# 1706 )

Gaudiem Et Spes #16 – shares with us about the nature of conscience. Within our consciences, man discovers that law which is laid upon his heart by his Creator, and how within that conscience is the place where man reaches to that voice that calls him to GOOD. And right . It is by this Law written on the heart of every man that he will indeed be judged (Rom 2-16 – capitalization added for emphasis)

This particular author states that we are “fallen”.

What really should be said here is that we have a sinful and fallen nature. This born out in the Catechism :

“Man , enticed by the Evil One abused his freedom at the very beginning of History., he succombed to temptation and did what was evil. He still desires GOOD, but his nature bears the wound of Original Sin. (CCC# 1707 Capitalization added for emphasis)

So we are back to man is basically GOOD. AND bears the stain of Orignial Sin. There is the inclination to sin and error.

Man has through out history given expression to their quest for knowing God in their religious beliefs and behaviors, in their prayers, sacrifices and rituals etc. To spite their ambiguity they are so universal that they can call man a religious being… ( CCC#28 )

Here again, Man is GOOD. Since he has a conscience he also has throughout history spent time in seeking God who is never far.

“The whole world of man’s history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching ,s o our Lord tells us., from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right and it is at great cost to himself and aided by Gods grace that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.” (Gaudium et Spes – 37)

So here we suffer from the fallen nature, but to spite our fallen nature we can survive the battles we face. Through the grace of God, man can both individually and communally do Good.

We understand that children who die out of side of the sacrament of Baptism are commended to Gods mercy. We also understand that the church teaches that for those who unable to obtain Baptism prior to their death may receive what we refer to as Baptism of Desire.

In addition, Mark 2:5 which recounts the story of the paralytic whose friends tore a hole in the roof and the house and raised him in to see Christ, was told that he was forgiven his sins because of the faith of his friends.

We are REDEEMED, as we understand that because Jesus entered the world and through the Paschal Mystery, God has achieved the remission of sin for all mankind.

This is important, because it is not unusual for man in his battles, may reach a point where they feel useless, or unworthy, or damaged beyond the point where God would love them or be able to reach them at all.

Indeed nothing could be further from the truth.For someone who believes that they might have been too far astray of God, it is important for them to know that not only were they redeemed already but could enter into a life in communion with God who loves them inclusive of their battle scars, damages, and burdens.

St Paul reminds us that Gods power is brought to perfection in weakness. For when we are weak, it is then that we are strong.

“As Lord , Christ is also head of the church, which is His Body( Ephesians 1:22)

Taken up to Heaven and glorified after He had thus fully accomplished his mission , Christ dwells on earth in His Church. The Redemption is the source of the authority , that Christ , by virtue of the Holy Spirit exercises over the Church. The Kingdom of Christ is already present in mystery.” on earth , the seed and the beginning of the Kingdom. (CCC #699)

We know that God desires all men to obtain salvation.

Timothy 2:4 tells us “ God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”.

We know that redemption has already occurred because in Lumen Gentium 1:3

“ To carry out the will of the Father, Christ inaugurated the kingdom of Heaven on Earth and revealed to us His Mystery, by his obedience he brought about OUR REDEMPTION.”

( capitalization added for emphasis)

One note , it is important to note that Although man indeed is GOOD, man is not good in and of himself, but because of God and his love for us as the basis of that goodness and redemption.

I realize that this is a lot of material for consumption, however, in our world we are constantly confronted with evil, and violence, and it can be overwhelming since you hear so much of it.

There is, however so much in the world that is GOOD. We need to live our faith understanding that although what you might see with human eyes might not be good, if we put on the mind of Christ, we we can move beyond our own human and material world to not only gain the kind of communion with God that we desire, but we can take what we have received, ( Christ) and share Him with the world.

May God give you the gift of His peace !


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One Response to “Is Man really Good ?”

  1. JANE DOE Says:

    Luke 18:19

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