The first three chapters of Genesis were not literal. The overall messages (e.g. “God created the universe”, “everything that God created was good when it was created”, “evil results when humans choose to reject God”, etc.) were divinely inspired and known truths when Genesis was written, but the stories themselves are not historical accounts of actual events. If the stories are not historical accounts then I don’t see why the quotes themselves would have been written exactly as God said it.
Even if the events were historical, the quotes would still probably not be exact. The stories were passed down orally before being written, meaning everybody would need to be passing everything down verbatim. This is not the case, as seen in the historical parts of the Bible where the dialogue is not exact.
God’s words seem to express a council between several persons in Gen. 1:26,“let us make man to our image and likeness.” It might be said that this is the plural of majesty, but this interpretation seems to be excluded by God’s words to Adam after the Fall," behold Adam is become as one of us" (Gen. 3:22). The expression “one of us” indicates more than the plural of majesty.
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints.” - Colossians 1:24-26
God’s peace. In response to my post, JM3 said : “How do you know that God did not speak to the angels? Were you there? Saying that God spoke with the angels does not infer that God consulted with them or needed their assistance. Let’s not read more into a statement then what is actually there. Did the angels help to create us? We have not been given this information. To say yes or no would be presumptuous.”
By “speaking” I did not mean that God might not have communicated with the angels, and I apologize if I was unclear here. I simply meant that in no way did he ask (or need) them for their advice. (I can imagine God saying “Watch this!”)
From Scripture, it is clear that angels do not have a creative role. Cf. Heb 1: 14, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?” Blessings, ~Br. Carlo~
Since the Angels give us our souls when we’re born, they might also need to know how we were made. Who knows how much prior knowledge is needed in order to breath souls into humans. They probably assisted Him but didn’t create themselves.
May I respectfully point out the different teaching of Catholicism.
God, alone, immediately creates our individual spiritual soul, because of which we are in the “image” of God – because He is God; therefore, He does not probably use assistance. Any “assistance” of any kind reflects deficiency making God an inferior, lesser being.
God does not use angels to give us souls. Any thought along that line debases God.
Catholicism teaches that it is because of the God-created soul, that our body made of matter (from our parents) becomes a living human body. Spirit and matter are not two natures united; but rather their union is a single nature.
A clarification, please. When you posted “They probably assisted Him but didn’t create themselves.” I accepted your position regarding creating and emphasized assistance instead. Most likely, I am sensitive about “assisting God” because lately I have been doing some personal, private research into human origin and human nature.
It has been years since I heard the story(s) about an angel bringing our soul to us when we are born. Mentally, I coupled that story with the one about an angel taking our soul back to heaven when we die. I never thought much about the actual “spiritual soul” until someone here on CAF gently nailed me for being a Cartesian dualist.:o Needless to say, I had a lot of catching up to do in regard to Catholic teaching. Because this granny is insatiably curious, I sincerely appreciate learning the perspectives of other people. This time it was learning about angels and souls in this thread, which made me realize the tremendous power of our unassisted Creator God.
No, I’m afraid, I won’t elaborate any further on your previous post that contains one or two highly self-confident comments. Usually I would say it makes little sense to just say “and I disagree entirely with the rest of your post”, but I chose to put it that way because I decided to better leave it at that, Trust me, you wouldn’t want to hear it,
I appreciate your second reply though and I like curious people and people that appreciate learning other peoples perspective
I think it is necessary to preface any discussion of the Jewish interpretation of the Jewish scriptures to the Catholic reader.
Catholicism is a faith based dogmatic religion. A Catholic wants to know what the one real true interpretation of the phrase or passage is and by what Church authority. It is a religion of absolutes. Something is true or it is not true. A particular act is a sin or it is not a sin.
Judaism is an intellectual and questioning religion. There are many possible interpretations ,for instance, to the concept of the “image of God”. Each has its own ramifications . Some even may be contradictory. However, they all come to allow us to fully develop and understand the concept .
So the first thing to realize is that my posts don’t cover all the Jewish interpretations and don’t go into depth as to the meaning of these interpretations.
The other thing to remember is that all Jewish interpretations are naturally within the framework and the concepts of Judaism. So when a Jewish sage refers to “us” it should be seen and understood in the framework of the Jewish concept and definition of God.
concerning the use of the word “us” I am reposting from a few days ago
Bereishit (Genesis) 1:26
“Let us make man”
This indicates that Man was created with great deliberation and wisdom. God did not say “Let the earth bring forth” as He did with other creatures; instead Man was brought into being with the deepest involvement of Divine Providence and wisdom (Abarbanel)
Targum Yonatan paraphrases: " And God said to the ministering angels who had been created on the second day of the Creation of the world “Let us make Man.”
When Moses wrote the Torah and came to this verse (let “us” make ), which is in the plural and implies (God forbid) that there is more than one Creator, he said “Sovereign of the Universe! Why do you thus furnish a pretext for heretics to maintain that there is a plurality of divinities”? “Write!” God replied. “Whoever wishes to err will err…instead, let them learn from their Creator Who created all, yet when He came to create Man He took counsel with the ministering angels” (Midrash). Thus God taught that one should always consult others before embarking upon major new initiatives, and He was not deterred by the possibility that some might choose to find a sacrilegious implication in the verse. The implication of God’s response, “Whoever wishes to err,” is that one who sincerely seeks the truth will see it; one who looks for an excuse to blaspheme will find it.
“Behold Man has become like the Unique One among us”
By eating from the Tree of Knowledge, Man had become like the Unique One among us, meaning that he had become unique among the terrestrial ones, just as God is unique among the the celestial ones, for now Man can discriminate between good and bad, a quality not possessed by cattle and beasts (Rashi following Targum).
concerning the phrase :
The Image of God
The Jewish sages have taught us that it is the image of God in man that obligates us to honor man, that it is what gives value and meaning to his existence. However what is meant by “the image of God”?
“Reason”: Some Jewish sages view the image of God in man as referring to man’s intellect and reason. In his ability to comprehend and discern. This is what makes man unique, which distinguishes him from all other living things. It is the key to the worship and to the love of God.
“Free Will”: Some see the image of God in free will. Man is freed from the laws of causality. He has the power to choose between two different actions. The ability to overcome his nature and events and to choose to be good and righteous. This is an essential element in Judaism for without free will there is no meaning to sin.
“Domination over the Universe and Creativity”: This is based on the continuation of the verse granting Man dominion over other living things. Just as God has dominion over all, so the image of God is in the dominion of man over his world. Man himself is inspired to become a creator, not only of physical creation but also of intellectual creation. There is a concept in Judaism of God not having entirely completed the creation of the world and leaving room for man to create and perfect.
“Morality”: This view holds that the image of God in man is his innate morality.
“Divine Spark”: According to this view, the image of God is not a trait or a quality that lends itself to identification and classification but rather the divine spark that lies hidden deep within man.
(for “us” see The Chumash the stone edition- for “the image of God” see the English translation of the lecture by Rav Chaim Navon)