When Does The Person Begin?




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"Each One of Us is an Icon of the Beginning"

Just as the existence of God is 'before' the existence of creation,
so the truth about God is 'prior' to truth about creation.

While this is not about the beginnings of language, as such, it is nevertheless clear to me that the personal names of the members of the Blessed Trinity91 are, for me, a beginning as regards the meaning of anything.  In other words, and considering my own almost endless questioning of things there is, for me, an immense significance in the name of God: God the Father, God the Son and the God the Holy Spirit.  For it is not for nothing that the reality of God is the full meaning of His name.  Thus words are fundamentally orientated to what exists as to the inexhaustible fullness of their meaning.

It is almost as if calling a thing by name - the right name - is a way of entering into a dialogue with its existence: as if a name is a kind of key to a thing's interiority: to what it is.  Thus, while terms exist in relation to oneanother with respect to what they mean, and thus one term can be said to be defined by others, there is also the definition of a thing that obtains from the existence of the thing to which the word refers.  In other words there exists a similar kind of openness between our understanding of what something is and the thing itself, and the name of a thing and the thing itself.

Incidentally, the fact that God is our Creator constitutes, as it were, our being in relationship as a fundamental characteristic of our existence.  This raises the question of how our coming to know what exists is related to this ontologically prior fact?  A first thought is that the activity of coming to know, of its nature presupposes who or what is not known.  Therefore the connection between being in relationship, which exists prior to all activity of knowing - certainly as regards human beings - and the activity of that relationship, as it were, is that the being of relationship is manifest92 in the activity of that relationship which is generative of knowledge: almost as if it is within the nature of 'relationship' to generate knowledge.

Finally, this again indicates the logical priority, as it were, of being before knowing.  For if we do not know that something 'is'93, how can we determine what it is?  But this is a logical priority because, apart from what we make ourselves - and in which case we 'build in' the unity of thought and thing an artifact is - what exists already, exists as already and inherently intelligible: which is to say that what exists is, as it were, designed to be known.  Further: the existence of things are, as it were, a manifestation of the thought of their Creator: a thought which is expressed in the act of their creation (Gn 1: 1) as well as in the word through which, and in a more explicit way, the thought inherent in an act is made evident (Gn 1: 3).




References
91 Cf. CCC, art 234, page 62.    Back
92 Cf. A, page 158.    Back
93 Cf. SuTh, Pt 1, Qu 2, art 2, page 12.    Back

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