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Monday, February 11, 2013

0264: The Term “Logos” in the Magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI (II)



Entry 0264: The Term “Logos” in the Magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI (II)  

An excerpt from the General Audience of 6 February 2013:

God is the origin of all things and his omnipotence as a loving Father unfolds in the beauty of creation. God manifests himself as Father in creation, inasmuch as He is the origin of life, and in creating, reveals his omnipotence.

God, like a good and powerful Father, takes care of what he has created with a love and loyalty that never fail or diminish.

"By faith", writes the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, "we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible"(11:3). Faith implies, therefore, knowing how to recognize the invisible by identifying the traces of it in the visible world.

The believer can read the great book of nature and understand its language (see Ps 19:2-5), but the Word of revelation, which stimulates faith, is necessary for man to achieve full awareness of the reality of God as Creator and Father. It is in the book of Sacred Scripture that human intelligence can find, in the light of faith, the interpretative key to understand the world.

In particular, the first chapter of Genesis holds a special place, with its solemn presentation of the divine creative act that unfolds in seven days: in six days God completes creation and on the seventh day, the Sabbath, he ceases from all activity and rests. A day of freedom for all, a day of communion with God. And so, with this image, the book of Genesis tells us that God's first thought was to find a love responding to His love.

The second thought is then create a material world in which to place this love, these creatures who answer him in freedom. This structure, therefore, causes the text to be marked by some significant repetitions. Six times, for example, the phrase is repeated: "God saw that it was good" (vv. 4.10.12.18.21.25), and finally, the seventh time, after the creation of man: "God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (v. 31).

Everything that God creates is good and beautiful, full of wisdom and love, the creative action of God brings order, sets things in harmony, bestows beauty. In the Genesis account then, it emerges that the Lord creates by his word: ten times the texts uses the expression "God said" (vv. 3.6.9.11.14.20.24.26.28.29).

It is the word, the Logos of God who is the origin of the reality of the world and by saying, "God said," and it was so, it emphasizes the effective power of the Word of God.

As the psalmist sings: "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, by the breath of his mouth all their host ... because he spoke and all things were created, he commanded, and it was done" (33:6.9). Life arises, the world exists, because everything obeys the divine Word.

But our question today is: in the age of science and technology, does it still make sense to speak of creation? How should we understand the Genesis narratives?

The Bible is not intended as a natural science manual; its intention instead is to teach us the authentic and profound truth of things. The fundamental truth that the Genesis stories reveal to us is that the world is not a collection of contrasting forces, but has its origin and its stability in the Logos, in God's eternal Reason, who continues to sustain the universe. There is a plan for the world that arises from this Reason, from the creating Spirit.

Believing that such a reality is behind all this, illuminates every aspect of life and gives us the courage to face the adventure of life with confidence and hope. Thus, the Scriptures tell us that the origin of being, of the world, our origin is not irrationality or necessity, but rather reason and love and freedom. Hence the alternative: either priority of the irrational, of necessity, or priority of reason, freedom and love. We believe in this latter position