October 11, 2016

TOB Tuesday: Original Unity

The creation of Eve

Editor's note: Each Tuesday we will feature posts discussing Saint John Paul the Great's Theology of the Body; his reflection on our nature and life as persons made in the image and likeness of God, conjugal love, the meaning of celibacy, and the eternal beatitude to which every human being is called. 

In Genesis, when Adam awakes from the divine sleep, God presents him with Eve. Immediately, Adam exclaims, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." Adam's response is an expression of love. Adam recognizes in Eve a person, equal in dignity to himself. Eve beholds in Adam a person like her. This was the moment that original solitude was overcome. The loneliness and longing that each felt for the other was wondrously fulfilled in their covenantal union.

With original unity, Adam was a gift to Eve, and Eve a gift to Adam. Their very bodies spoke a language of intimacy and trust — enabling them to view each other "with all the peace of the interior gaze". Never would our first parents in Eden exploit each other for selfish purposes. Man was not tempted to dominate woman. Woman was not afraid of man. Participating in the primordial sacrament of marriage, Adam and Eve were a communion of persons. Their love as husband and wife was harmonious, selfless and total, untainted by sin, fear and shame.

Central to Saint John Paul II’s catechesis is the nuptial meaning of the body. John Paul states: "The body and it alone is capable of making visible what has been invisible, the mystery of the divine since time immemorial." The body makes visible the ineffable mystery of the human person. It is a sign and, at the same time, an embodiment of the individual. In the beginning, there was no disconnect between man’s spiritual and material impulses. They worked in concert not conflict. The mind-body-spirit relationship existed in perfect harmony within the human person much like that between men and women, and God and man.

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