Image and likeness

The first four chapters of Genesis they offer the fundamental elements of a solid anthropology. The biblical narrative, in effect, under a mythical guise, with anthropomorphisms and space-time data not subject to scientific requirements, offers basic guidelines for a rational conception of the human being. The Holy Scriptures of both the Old Testament and, particularly, the New, will have to enrich this panorama from a perspective of faith, using categories such as redemption, grace and sanctification.

Among the primordial features of the human being -created in the image and likeness of God- traditionally highlighted in the aforementioned biblical text, the attributes of intelligence, will, subjectivity and freedom appear, exposed in contrast to those of animals and other beings of nature. , entrusted to man for his care and service. The sociality (openness to communication and communion) also appears as a capital fact; based on it arises the plurality and sexual distinction of people; Adam dialogues with God and relates to his partner. The framework of the story is of human-divine and interhuman intercommunication, as well as responsibility and co-responsibility of the nascent humanity. The self-destructive dark side of this (egoism, lack of solidarity, self-absolutization) is also shown in its origins (see Gn 3).

The expression “in the image and likeness” of God, used by the Genesis to identify that transcendent similarity of the human creature, has not traditionally received, however, an adequate development regarding its cause in the sociality of God himself. On this point it is appropriate to make a few comments here.

What is substantial and central to the Christian faith is contained in the Creed. Now, this is, centrally, the confession of God as One and Triune (Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and of Jesus Christ the Savior (the incarnate Son of God). The Church, by the way, understands this truth as mystery in the strict sense, that is, as truth not acquired by a purely rational procedure but through divine revelation, and which truth, even when already known, remains indemonstrable for human reason alone.

This trinitarian nature of God has not had an adequate impact, however, on Christian reflection and praxis, to the point that a Catholic thinker like Karl Rahner went so far as to say that if the Trinity were eliminated from theology books, not much would change. in the thought and life of Christians. God is usually emphasized in the uniqueness, infinity, omniscience, eternity and omnipotence of him. It is convenient, therefore, to highlight some consequences or reflections in human creatures of the relational, communional nature of God, who “is love” (1 Jn 4, 8). Some examples are worth: a) the sociality of the human being (being-for-the-other, for communication and communion, dialogical); b) the unifying meaning of God’s saving plan in Jesus Christ, which does not end simply in singular, isolated individuals, but in a universal community, of which the Church is-must be a sign and instrument; c) the highest and central divine commandment, love, the foundation of an ethic and spirituality of communion, also with an ecological dimension (see this analogical expansion in Francis, Laudato Si´220). It is worth adding that divine sociality (relationship, communionality) manifests the arrow or vital, personalizing and communional direction of the perfection of being. This interpretation is situated at the antipodes of an individualistic, intimate conception of the person.

I do not think that it is extemporaneous at the end of the previous reflections to highlight two things. The first is the inescapable temporal sociopolitical and cultural commitment of Christians and their supratemporal projection (see Mt 25, 31-46). The other is the need on their part to properly project in reflection and praxis the faith in the trinitarian nature (relational, communal) of God, for which it will be very useful in the current “civilization of the image” the revaluation and diffusion of the equilateral triangle as a symbol of the Unitrino.

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Image and likeness