I don’t know if this is the correct forum for this question but the Collect at Mass today says that God “restores human nature to yet greater dignity than at its beginnings.” What does this mean, specifically? I mean did God not make Adam and Eve as well as He could have? Also, I seem to recall a different Collect that says that God restored our original dignity. The one in question says greater dignity. Any ideas?
I believe it speaks to mankind not merely being concerned with this world, but part of the life of God.
When Jesus was incarnated, God became one of us elevating all of us, so we can now call God, Abba, Father. We are lifted even above that state Adam and Eve enjoyed before the fall. Hence on Easter Vigil during the Exaltet, the Church proclaims, ‘‘O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the death of Christ! O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!’’
Although Adam was created with great dignity and original holiness and justice, he was sort of neutral in one particular area: in his will. He didn’t necessarily know how well he had it, or even how great a being he already was; he hadn’t yet valued and embraced the gifts he had, let alone the One from whom they came. He wanted “more”, and ended up losing even what he had. But God, having created His universe in a “state of journeying to perfection”, as the catechism puts it, already had His plan of salvation prepared for humankind. As the human will is molded, as it becomes conformed with the will of God, as we come to freely choose the good, as we come to love, man increases in justice and dignity. That’s what we’re here to do, to learn how to will, in this world of sin and hard knocks, and where grace also abounds, what Adam did not yet will in Eden, a place where he had it made. Here’s a related paragraphs from the catechism:
412 But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, "Christ’s inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon’s envy had taken away."307 And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "There is nothing to prevent human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, ‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’; and the Exsultet sings, ‘O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!’"308**
This is not only the correct answer but very beautifully written. Thank you.
This chart may not be theologically correct!
– human in resurrection body
– human in heaven and in bliss, but without body being resurrected yet
– human in Eden who is unfallen and perfect but does not have life in Christ:
(less dignity, more power)
– human who is a sinner but has been baptized and has life in Christ:
(more dignity, less power)
– normal fallen human who hasn’t been baptized