Catechism 1: On the end of Man
On The end of Man
Who made the world?
God made the world.
(Genesis 1:1) In the beginning God created heaven, and earth.
(Hebrews 11:3a) By faith we understand that the world was framed by the word of God;
(Colossians 1:6) For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and in him.
Who is God?
God is the creator of heaven and earth and all things.
In Genesis 1:1 we see God created everything in the heavens and in the earth.
The very first verse of the Bible reads: ‘In the beginning God (plural) created (singular) the heavens and the earth’ (Genesis 1:1). Moses, the author of Genesis under the direction of the Holy Spirit, chose to use the Hebrew plural term elohim for God, rather than the singular el or the singular poetic form eloah. But he does use the singular form of the verb ‘created’!
Besides elohim, Moses also used other plural forms with reference to God in Genesis. Genesis 1:26 reads, ‘Then God said, “Let us make [plural] man in our [plural] image.”’ Here Moses uses the singular verb ‘said’, but quotes God as using a plural verb and a plural pronoun with reference to Himself.
How do we explain God being plural and yet a singular?
- God the Father- Genesis 1:1
- God the Son- John 1:1-3
- God the Holy Ghost- Genesis 1:2
(II Corinthians 13:13) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God, and the communication of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen.
(Matthew 28:19) Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
* a imperfect illustration is the egg.*
What is man?
Man is a creature composed of a body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.
(Genesis 1:26,27) And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him:
If God is “us” in Gen. 1:26-27, and “us” is the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit, then man is created in the image of all three.
(I Thessalonians 5:23) And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Somehow, the soul, spirit, are connected and interrelated. And yet can be separated.
(Hebrews 4:12) For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Our Body's are the temple of the Holy Ghost
(I Corinthians 6:19) Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own?
The Jewish Temple had two rooms the outer court and the inner court. Within the inner court is the Holy of Holys. So we have a picture of outer court (The body) the inner court (The soul) and within the inner court the Holy of Holys (spirit).
How is the soul like God?
- It is a spirit. You can't see your soul.
(John 4:24) God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth.
( I John 4:12) No man hath seen God at any time.
- My soul will never die.
- My soul has understanding it has the gift of reasoning.
- My soul has free will.
Why did God make me?
- To know him-
(John 17:3) Now this is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
What does it mean to know God? To get to know how he thinks, what his desires for us are etc
- To love him-
(John 14:21) He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
- To serve him-
When you serve your brethren you serve God.
(Matthew 25:31-40) And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
(I Corinthians 12:27) Now you are the body of Christ, and members of member.
Of which should we take care of more our soul or our body?
(I Timothy 4:8) For bodily exercise is profitable to little: but godliness is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
(I Corinthians 6:19-20) Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body.
Why must we take care of our soul more then our body?
(see I Timothy 4:8)
Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.
What must we do to save our souls?
Salvation is not a one time experience. It is on going. In other words, there is a Past a Present and a Future in the salvation of a Christian.
(Romans 5:10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled (Past) to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled (Present), shall we (Future) be saved by his life.
- Realize we are a sinner.
(Romans 5:12) Wherefore as by one man (Adam) sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.
- Believe on Jesus as the one who bore your sin, died in your place, was buried, and whom God resurrected.
(John 1:12) but as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name.
(Acts 3:19) Be penitent, (repent) therefore, and be converted (turn back or change your mind), that your sins may be blotted out.
- You must desire and seek to be baptized
(Acts 2:38) Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins:and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- You must be subject to Jesus' holy Church
(I Corinthians 12:27-28)
"Now you are the body of Christ, and members of member. And God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors; after that miracles; then the graces of healing, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches."
- Keep the Commandments of God
(John 14:15) "If you love me, keep my commandments."
- Keep Holy the Lord's Day
(Exodus 31:15) "Six days shall you do work: in the seventh day is the sabbath, the rest holy to the Lord. Every one that shall do any work on this day, shall die."
(Acts 20:7) "And on the first day of the week, when we were assembled to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, being to depart on the morrow: and he continued his speech until midnight."
- Hear the Word of God
(Luke 11:27-28) "And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it. "
How shall we know the things we are to believe?
HOW GOD SPEAKS TO US
As from the first, God speaks to his Church through the Sacred Scripture and through Sacred Tradition. To make sure we understand him, he guides the Church’s teaching authority—the magisterium—so it always interprets the Bible and Tradition accurately. This is the gift of infallibility.
Like the three legs on a stool, the Bible, Tradition, and the magisterium are all necessary for the stability of the Church and to guarantee sound doctrine.
- Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition should not be confused with mere traditions of men, which are more commonly called customs or disciplines. Jesus sometimes condemned customs or disciplines, but only if they were contrary to God’s commands
(Mark 7:6-9) But he answering, said to them: Well did Isaias prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men. For leaving the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the washing of pots and of cups: and many other things you do like to these. And he said to them: Well do you make void the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.
He never condemned Sacred Tradition, and he didn’t even condemn all human tradition.
Sacred Tradition and the Bible are not different or competing revelations. They are two ways that the Church hands on the gospel. Apostolic teachings such as the Trinity, infant baptism, the inerrancy of the Bible, purgatory, and Mary’s perpetual virginity have been most clearly taught through Tradition, although they are also implicitly present in (and not contrary to) the Bible.
(2 Thess. 2:14) Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.
(1 Cor. 11:2) Now I praise you, brethren, that in all things you are mindful of me: and keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you.
Sacred Tradition should not be confused with customs and disciplines, such as the rosary, priestly celibacy, and not eating meat on Fridays in Lent. These are good and helpful things, but they are not doctrines. Sacred Tradition preserves doctrines first taught by Jesus to the apostles and later passed down to us through the apostles’ successors, the bishops.
Scripture, by which we mean the Old and New Testaments, was inspired by God
(2 Tim. 3:16) All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice,
The Holy Ghost guided the biblical authors to write what he wanted and how he wanted them to write. For example, God wanted a Gospel that was written with a doctors point of view, so the Holy Ghost guided Luke to be the author of the Gospel of Luke as well as the book of Acts of the Apostles. Since God is the principal author of the Bible, and since God is truth itself (John 14:6) and cannot teach anything untrue, the Bible is free from all error in everything it asserts to be true.
Some Christians claim, "The Bible is all I need," but this notion is not taught in the Bible itself. In fact, the Bible teaches the contrary idea.
(2 Pet. 1:20–21) Understanding this first, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation.
- The Magisterium
Together the pope and the bishops form the teaching authority of the Church, which is called the magisterium (from the Latin for "teacher"). The magisterium, guided and protected from error by the Holy Spirit, gives us certainty in matters of doctrine. The Church is the custodian of the Bible and faithfully and accurately proclaims its message, a task which God has empowered it to do.
Keep in mind that the Church came before the New Testament, not the New Testament before the Church.
Divinely-inspired members of the Church wrote the books of the New Testament, just as divinely-inspired writers had written the Old Testament, and the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit to guard and interpret the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments.
Such an official interpreter is absolutely necessary if we are to understand the Bible properly. (We all know what the Constitution says, but we still need a Supreme Court to interpret what it means.)
The magisterium is infallible when it teaches officially because Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles and their successors "into all truth".
I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you.
The Apostles Creed chiefly sums up the teachings of the Church.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen. (see explanation in Baltimore Catechism 3 pg 18-26)