VATICAN CITY — Even with modern scientific advances, it is still right to speak of the beginning of life as “creation” because the world’s origin is rational and motivated by love, Pope Benedict XVI said.
In today’s “age of science and technology,” the Pope asked, does it make sense to still speak of creation as Scripture does?
The Bible, he responded, “is not intended as a manual of the natural sciences; it wants to help us understand the authentic and profound truth of things. … So the Scripture tells us that the origin of the world, our origin is not irrational or out of necessity, but reason and love and freedom.”
The Feb. 6 general audience was held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, with approximately 8,000 people in attendance. As part of his ongoing series of reflections on the Creed during the Year of Faith, the Pope focused his attention on its second phrase: God is the “Creator of heaven and earth.”
“God is manifested as Father in creation, as the origin of life, and in creating shows his omnipotence” as a loving Father, he said.
These attributes, the Pope noted, can be seen in creation and also serve as a “call to faith for believers.”
The Pontiff then spent time on the meaning of man and woman being the apex of creation.
The Book of Genesis helps reveal God's plan for man, Pope Benedict stated. The first thing that it teaches is that “God formed man of the dust of the earth,” which means “that we are not God.”
It also tells us that humans come into being “because God breathes the breath of life into the body he molded from the earth. The human being is made in the image and likeness of God."
“And we all carry within us the breath of life from God, and every human life, the Bible tells us, is under the special protection of God. This is the deepest reason for the inviolability of human dignity against any attempt to evaluate the person in accordance with utilitarian criteria or those of power,” the Pope insisted.
The final point the Pope focused on was the meaning of sin and the fallen world.
Walking through the imagery of the fall of Adam and Eve, the Holy Father summarized the temptation “as building their own world in which to live” and not accepting “the limitations of being a creature, the limits of good and evil, morality …”
In this case, “dependence on the creating love of God is seen as a burden to be freed of,” he explained.
Moving on to the meaning of original sin, Pope Benedict said that the story of creation teaches that “sin begets sin, and the sins of history are interlinked.”
“Once the fundamental relationship (with God) is upset, the other poles of relationships are compromised or destroyed; sin ruins everything. Now, if the relational structure of humanity is troubled from the start, every man walks into a world marked by the disturbance of this relationship,” he said.
But Jesus Christ “takes the exact opposite path to that of Adam” and repairs the broken relationship with God and creation, the Pope proclaimed.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” Pope Benedict concluded, “to live by faith is to recognize the greatness of God and accept our smallness, our condition as creatures, letting the Lord fill us with his love. Evil, with its load of pain and suffering, is a mystery that is illuminated by the light of faith, which gives us the certainty of being able to be freed from it, the certainty that it is good to be human.”