When Does The Person Begin?

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

God is "the beginning" without beginning

A theology of the body, from the perspective of the Incarnation, is an investigation of the bodily sign of the man and the bodily sign of the woman: the new Adam and the new Eve95.  Thus this is an attempt to investigate the message of God, as it were, in making man in the image of God, 'male and female he created them' (Gn 1:27).  In other words, what is the revelation inherent in the sexual differentiation of man and woman?

Now I take it as axiomatic that the created order is an incarnation of the Uncreated order: where 'incarnation' is both understood as applying particularly to Scripture, Christ and the Church, and to everything else in the following sense: the incarnation is the 'analogical' principle by which God creates, such that what is made, is made to imitate the Uncreated Being of God.  Finally, this design of God by which creation 'imitates' the Creator is echoed in a unique way in the design of man: the body manifests the soul: almost as if what creation is to the Creator, the body of man is to his soul.

Therefore the Blessed Trinity is the reality-archetype in the sense that God is the being to which everything created is an 'image.'  The origin of all correspondence of word to reality is, therefore, an expression in the created order of The Uncreated Mystery from all eternity.  In other words, in order to make sense of reality, it now seems necessary to trace everything back to its source in God.  For nothing else accounts for how things are to the same extent as this mystery does.  Perhaps this is why St. John begins his Gospel with the lines: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God' (Jn 1: 1).  In other words, perhaps there is no other possible beginning because this is "The Beginning" from what "Is" in all eternity.

Thus I am confessing, I think, that nothing else has fixed the meaning of things for me like the mystery of the Blessed Trinity does.  This Reality seems so necessary to thought that I cannot think of anything more fundamental to thought than the Blessed Trinity.  This is that which, coming before all else, is what I will call the Being which is the First Principle of everything, particulary thought.  God, I've come to realise, is the ultimate answer to every question; and not just the God who is one, and who can be known to reason - but especially the God who is the Blessed Trinity and who cannot be known except through listening96 to the Revelation of His Word.

This leads to two thoughts.  Firstly, that everthing that exists as the gift of the Creator is good - because the goodness of what exists as created (cf. Gn 1: 31) mirrors97 the goodness of the Creator.  Secondly, that a theology of the body is also and inescapably a theory of knowledge which is fundamentally ordered to the prior existence of the Blessed Trinity, precisely because creation is the work of the Creator.

95 Cf, LTW, art 11, page 17.    Back
96 I acknowledge a debt here to the Neocatechumenal emphasis on listening to the Word of God, particularly to Paul and Helen Hayward and Fr. Tony Trafford.  Secondly, I acknowledge a debt to the Prologue, pages 1-4, of The Rule of St. Benedict, translated by Justin McCann, (London: Sheed and Ward, 1976); and, incidentally, to the counsel and hospitality I have been given down my searching years, by the different Benedictine communities with whom I've stayed and prayed.    Back
97 Cf. Ws 7: 26.    Back

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