What does God's promise to Noah mean?


#1

Taken by itself, it’s an interesting story about God preserving Noah’s household. God makes a covenant with Noah that he will never flood the Earth again through water, and he shows the sign through a rainbow. What is the “big connection” here, though, to the narrative of salvation in human history? There’s a reason Noah is in the Bible.


#2

Interested in the answer as well…


#3

From the footnotes:
*** [6:1–4] These enigmatic verses are a transition between the expansion of the human race** illustrated in the genealogy of chap. 5 and the flood depicted in chaps. 6–9. The text, apparently alluding to an old legend, shares a common ancient view that the heavenly world was populated by a multitude of beings, some of whom were wicked and rebellious. It is incorporated here, not only in order to account for the prehistoric giants, whom the Israelites called the Nephilim, but also to introduce the story of the flood with a moral orientation—the constantly increasing wickedness of humanity. This increasing wickedness leads God to reduce the human life span imposed on the first couple. As the ages in the preceding genealogy show, life spans had been exceptionally long in the early period, but God further reduces them to something near the ordinary life span.

  • [6:2] The sons of God: other heavenly beings. See note on 1:26.

  • [6:4] As well as later: the belief was common that human beings of gigantic stature once lived on earth. In some cultures, such heroes could make positive contributions, but the Bible generally regards them in a negative light (cf. Nm 13:33; Ez 32:27). The point here is that even these heroes, filled with vitality from their semi-divine origin, come under God’s decree in v. 3.

  • [6:5–8:22] The story of the great flood is commonly regarded as a composite narrative based on separate sources woven together. To the Yahwist source, with some later editorial additions, are usually assigned 6:5–8; 7:1–5, 7–10, 12, 16b, 17b, 22–23; 8:2b–3a, 6–12, 13b, 20–22. The other sections are usually attributed to the Priestly writer. There are differences between the two sources: the Priestly source has two pairs of every animal, whereas the Yahwist source has seven pairs of clean animals and two pairs of unclean; the floodwater in the Priestly source is the waters under and over the earth that burst forth, whereas in the Yahwist source the floodwater is the rain lasting forty days and nights. In spite of many obvious discrepancies in these two sources, one should read the story as a coherent narrative. The biblical story ultimately draws upon an ancient Mesopotamian tradition of a great flood, preserved in the Sumerian flood story, the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic, and (embedded in a longer creation story) the Atrahasis Epic.

  • [6:6] His heart was grieved: the expression can be misleading in English, for “heart” in Hebrew is the seat of memory and judgment rather than emotion. The phrase is actually parallel to the first half of the sentence (“the LORD regretted…”).

  • [6:7] Human beings are an essential part of their environment, which includes all living things. In the new beginning after the flood, God makes a covenant with human beings and every living creature (9:9–10). The same close link between human beings and nature is found elsewhere in the Bible; e.g., in Is 35, God’s healing transforms human beings along with their physical environment, and in Rom 8:19–23, all creation, not merely human beings, groans in labor pains awaiting the salvation of God.

  • [6:11] Corrupt: God does not punish arbitrarily but simply brings to its completion the corruption initiated by human beings.

  • [6:14] Gopherwood: an unidentified wood mentioned only in connection with the ark. It may be the wood of the cypress, which in Hebrew sounds like “gopher” and was widely used in antiquity for shipbuilding.

  • [6:15] Hebrew “cubit,” lit., “forearm,” is the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, about eighteen inches (a foot and a half). The dimensions of Noah’s ark were approximately 440 × 73 × 44 feet. The ark of the Babylonian flood story was an exact cube, 120 cubits (180 feet) in length, width, and height.

  • [6:16] Opening for daylight: a conjectural rendering of the Hebrew word sohar, occurring only here. The reference is probably to an open space on all sides near the top of the ark to admit light and air. The ark also had a window or hatch, which could be opened and closed (8:6).

  • [6:19–21] You shall bring two of every kind…, one male and one female: For the Priestly source §, there is no distinction between clean and unclean animals until Sinai (Lv 11), no altars or sacrifice until Sinai, and all diet is vegetarian (Gn 1:29–30); even after the flood P has no distinction between clean and unclean, since “any living creature that moves about” may be eaten (9:3). Thus P has Noah take the minimum to preserve all species, one pair of each, without distinction between clean and unclean, but he must also take on provisions for food (6:21). The Yahwist source (J), which assumes the clean-unclean distinction always existed but knows no other restriction on eating meat (Abel was a shepherd and offered meat as a sacrifice), requires additional clean animals (“seven pairs”) for food and sacrifice (7:2–3; 8:20).

  • [6:22] Just as God had commanded him: as in the creation of the world in chap. 1 and in the building of the tabernacle in Ex 25–31, 35–40 (all from the Priestly source),
    everything takes place by the command of God. In this passage and in Exodus, the commands of God are carried out to the letter by human agents, Noah and Moses. Divine speech is important. God speaks to Noah seven times in the flood story.


#4

The story is a lot more than about preserving the family of Noah. Read the scripture in its entirety in Genesis Chapter 6.At v. 12, God views the earth was corrupt and full of lawlessness, since all mortals had corrupted their ways on earth. This entire story demonstrates the ultimate power of God and His love for those who do His will and remain close to Him. We are created by God and for God and have free will to choose to remain in His word or not. Spiritual death is sin. We must recall our love of God and do His will in order to avoid our own destruction. We are an essential part of our environment and have a duty before God to be good stewards of it. We are called to remember the omnipotent power of our Creator and also to rely on His mercy if we are faithful to Him. When we see the rainbow appear in the clouds, we remember our total reliance on God and strive to do His will here on earth.


#5

**Jesus is the ark.
**


#6

The flood story is an important one in the history of salvation. Apart from what has already been said here, some additional thoughts:

This is the third creation story in Genesis. The first is Genesis 1:1-2:5, which recounts the Generations of Creation. The second is Genesis 2:6-5:31, which recounts the Generations of Adam to Noah. The third is Genesis 6-10, which recounts the Generations of Noah and his sons, Sem, Ham and Japheth, and their children which populated the earth.

These three stories follow a simple pattern that is laid out in Genesis 1:1-2, which reads:

[1] In the beginning God created heaven, and earth. [2] And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters.

After this follows the account of the creation of heaven and earth. But, note well these two verses, because they set the stage for the entire drama of creation and salvation history. In the beginning God created heaven, and earth. The first thing we’re told about God is that He is a creator. And He created everything.

And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Next, we see God’s creation is in desolation. These words “void and empty” in Hebrew actually paint a picture of a wasteland, like a desert. Remember, this text (Gen, Exo, Lev, Num, Deu) is attributed to Moses, and would have been given to the Israelites during their 40 years in the desert. So, this imagery would have been poignant to them. They had just come from a land of plenty: Egypt, though they had been oppressed there. Now, they were in a wasteland, their future uncertain, desperate.

In these first two verses, we’re not told why the earth was a wasteland, nor why darkness was on the face of the deep (remember, deep here has a two-fold meaning. It refers both to the heavens as well as to the oceans… we see that later when God divides the waters from the waters, those above the firmament of heaven and those below). So, in verse 1, God creates heaven and earth, and in the first part of verse 2, we see that creation in desolation.

And the spirit of God moved over the waters. This imagery of God moving over the waters, or “hovering” is meant to convey the image of God “seeding” the waters, giving life. And that’s it really. That’s the whole story right there. God creates, His creation dies, and He gives it life. Birth, Death, Rebirth. Creation, Sin, Salvation.

So, in the first creation story, we see the creation of the world. That’s it, that’s what we see. The first creation story from Genesis 1:3-2:5 is Genesis 1:1 “expanded” so to speak. The second and third creation stories from Genesis 2:6-10 is Genesis 1:2 “expanded.” These creation stories recount how God’s creation comes to ruin, to destruction: through the wickedness of man, and God’s subsequent “recreation”: He seeds the earth again by preserving his creation on the Ark through the total destruction of the earth by Flood waters which burst forth from “the deep.” And what do we see hovering over these waters of the deep? A dove… the spirit of God, which brings life back to Noah and his family in the form of an olive branch… the typological symbol for peace.

These themes run throughout the rest of Scripture, particularly the theme of salvation arriving by passage through death. The Israelites entered the promised land from the slavery of Egypt only by passing first through the “Red Sea”, and then through 40 years of desert. This is symbolic of death. The waters of Baptism don’t merely symbolize the washing away of our sins, but they symbolize this by imaging death. They are meant to remind of us of the “Baptism of the world” that occurred at the Flood, and also the “Baptism of Israel” at the Red Sea. These remind us that Salvation comes to us through death, particularly the death of our Saviour, Jesus the Christ.

Mary was “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit, and she was “seeded” with Divine Life. Later, this same spirit, in the form of a dove, overshadows Jesus at His Baptism. And when we are Baptized, this same spirit comes to dwell within us, “seeding” us with His own Divine Life. Do you see how all of these themes permeate the drama of Salvation? So much of these symbols and themes that we are familiar with come to us from the whole creation story, spanning from the creation of all the world, to the salvation of creation through the floodwaters.

Death is the natural consequence and punishment for sin, that is clear from these creation stories, and God preserves us from the death in His own salvific work. That’s the reason the Flood story is there. It completes the “cycle” of Salvation typology that is given to us in the first chapters of Genesis.

After the flood story, this new creation cycles through this story over and over again, until the definitive victory is won in Jesus.


#7

Typologically, the story is very interesting. The short answer is that it is new-creational, anticipating the dissolution of the cosmos and the creation of the new heavens and the new earth at the end of time. The story has hints that the author meant it as a cosmic reboot, with the earth returning to its original state of chaotic waters with the spirit hovering over it as in the beginning of Genesis. This is, I believe, why the NT authors so often reference the Noah story when referring to the end of the world – because of its typological elements, with the total destruction of evil and creation of a pristine new world. Noah, as a sort of second Adam, typifies Christ, who himself, along with his family, are the only survivors of the chaotic waters which symbolize death. The Church fathers often saw the ark as a type of the Church, sometimes as a type of Christ (although they’re the same thing). There are scriptural reasons for both of these associations, but I don’t want to go on forever.

It also typifies baptism, as 1 Pet 3:20-21 points out. This shouldn’t be surprising, because baptism is in itself new-creational. In baptism, we are created anew spiritually, in inaugurated participation in the new creation to come. And while St. Peter only points out one point of correspondence between the two events, that in both those involved were saved “through water”, you could add that that in both cases the Spirit was the active participant. In the Noah story, the Spirit hovered over the water and even the dove probably represents the Spirit.

The long answer is to read GK Beale’s *A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New *. He’s a protestant, but only very rarely will you find material contrary to the Catholic faith in his works. At 900 pages, it’s a whopper, but it’s a really fantastic study of the theme of the new creational kingdom of God all throughout the bible. As a reformed protestant (meaning Calvinist), he doesn’t get baptism right, which is almost hard to believe with how well it would fit into his theology.


#8

Hello Captain,

Might I be so bold as to make the following comments -

Beautiful everything you say. I would like to just say that Jesus is the second Adam, although Noah is a type of Christ.

Also, I’d keep separate Jesus and the church. I know what you mean but I’m a stickler for this. A person could leave the “church” (the Rome Church) but not leave Jesus. However, if a person leaves Jesus he is also leaving the church.

I bring it up because some are really confused by this. I believe the ark is Christ because it saved the occupants. Jesus saves us. Not a church. I insist on this. I remember way back when and the church taught us that all we had to do is go to Mass and confession and we’d be ok. We are now taught that we’re to have a relationship with Jesus. I find this difference to be life changing and agree with it whole-heartedly and like to bring out this point here.

Everything you say is good - just to clarify.

Fran


#9

Hi Franguilian,

You’re right of course that Jesus is the second Adam, the head of a new race. I wasn’t super clear in my post, but what I was getting at is that Noah, too, was a sort of second Adam, in that from him issued all the peoples of the world. This “second Adamness” is one of the attributes that makes him a type of Christ, who was The Second Adam in a higher, spiritual sense.

As for the

Fran

I’d like to get back to this later and give it more attention, but I’m a little low on time. It’s a really profound mystery, I think. Here’s a section from the Catechism, though, which I hope will help and that very neatly hits all our points of discussion. “Outside the Church there is no salvation” is still Catholic teaching, only today it is understood with more nuance(ie, in a way that doesn’t necessarily exclude those not in full communion with Rome).

Anyway, here’s the passage:

*" To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. the Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. the Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” **According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.**334

“Outside the Church there is no salvation”

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively,** it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body**:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337"*


#10

I’d like to get back to this later and give it more attention, but I’m a little low on time. It’s a really profound mystery, I think. Here’s a section from the Catechism, though, which I hope will help and that very neatly hits all our points of discussion. “Outside the Church there is no salvation” is still Catholic teaching, only today it is understood with more nuance(ie, in a way that doesn’t necessarily exclude those not in full communion with Rome).

Anyway, here’s the passage:

*" To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. the Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. the Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” **According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.**334

“Outside the Church there is no salvation”

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively,** it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body**:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337"*

**I know the catechism. Of course the church is necessary, how else could the Word be proclaimed? But Jesus was on that cross, not the church. (I’m not anti-church).

I’m interested in what you have to say.

Fran**
Uffa. Got a new computer yesterday and this keyboard is giving me grief! So I highlighted, my quote thingy won’t work! Lata…


#11

Uffa. Got a new computer yesterday and this keyboard is giving me grief! So I highlighted, my quote thingy won’t work! Lata…

Hi Frangiuliano,

I hope you don’t mind my interjection here. The Church has always been identified as the Body of Christ, and not in a symbolic sense either, but rather in a mystical sense.

You cannot divide Christ. In the same sense that each particle of the Host is fully Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity, because He is indivisible, so too, if the Church is the Body of Christ, it is so in the fullest sense, because He is indivisible.

And we must understand this mystical relationship, for it is central to the economy of Salvation. We are not protestants who believe that mere intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel is what saves us, and that the work is 100% performed by God. Rather, we believe that Christ comes to us, interiorly and exteriorly, and we must respond and enter into Him as He enters into us, and be transformed by Him, into Him.\

The Church is at once both composed of separate individuals, and also the one Jesus Christ. This is so because Jesus is Divine, and transcends all boundaries. If Jesus is in me, He is so indivisibly, fully. And if He is also in you, then He is so indivisibly, fully. That makes us one in a mystical sense, as through Christ.

We are each “little Christs,” individually, and collectively, we are Christ. But not by our own power, or by our virtue, or merit, but because He comes to us, individually and collectively. We really share in His Divine Life. If Jesus was on the cross… then so is His Church, because we are His Body. And if we are not on the cross, then we aren’t truly sharing in His Church. That doesn’t mean we seek out suffering, but that we accept and offer to the Father all the suffering that comes our way, in union with the cross of Christ. He wasn’t kidding when He said to pick up our crosses daily and follow Him. That’s what it means to be part of His Church. We must hang with Him.

It is precisely because Jesus is God, and therefore is capable of transcending all barriers, that Jesus is able to offer all sin and suffering to the Father. It is because He is present to each of us from the cross, and in a unique and special way in the Mass. We participate in His sacrifice. It is not a distant and cut off event. It is close to us. We participate in the Cross. We offer all we are in the Mass, one with Him on the Cross. We fill up what is lacking in the Cross, and that is our participation in it.

The Church truly is the Ark, because the Church is Christ, who is indivisible.


#12

The story of Noah and the flood is the third creation story. The words used are almost exactly the same as the first creation story.

*And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 1:22)

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. (Genesis 9:1)*

It is a reestablishment of the order which God intended in the first creation and the reestablishment of the original covenant/family relationship between God and man. It’s all about the covenant.

Every covenant has an oath. The promise is part of God’s oath.

Every covenant has a sign and the rainbow is a sign of the covenant. God “Hung his bow in the clouds”. A bow is a weapon. God hung up his weapon and promised never again to use it against man.

Every covenant comes with a shared meal. God said that Noah could eat meat but reserved the consumption of blood for when his Son would come so that we could consume His blood.

It’s all about the covenant. The covenant was everything to the Jews.

-Tim-


#13

Hello TimothyH,

I beg everyone to learn the covenants; it’s one of the most important concepts to learn to understand both the OT and the NT.

Maybe we could run through the Noahic Covenant quick.

It’s the first explicit covenant where that word is actually used. The ones prior to this were the Edenic and the Adamic Covenants.
It is an unconditional covenant - God will realize it without man’s cooperation.
It is between the King and the Servant.
The sign is a rainbow.
Noah was not a Jew, so the covenant was between God and all mankind - He was giving us a second chance.

The promise to Noah is made in Genesis 6:17-18 when asking him to build the ark:

“And behold, I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven, everything that is on the earth shall perish.
But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark-you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.”

In Genesis 9:1-6 God blesses Noah:

Be fruitful and multiply
All animals will fear man
Animals will be food
Do not eat blood
Do not kill
o Adam lived with animals, now animals fear man
o Animals became food only after fall
o Life is precious to God. Do not kill. Even animals should not kill man.
o God had promised Cain no man could do him harm because of above. Genesis 4:15

The promise from Genesis 6:17-18 is fulfilled in Genesis 9:9-17:

“And behold I establish my covenant with you and with you seed after you…neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters… I do set my bow in the cloud and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth… an everlasting covenant…”

These are the characteristics of the covenant:

The covenant is with all creatures on earth
It is unconditional
It obliges God to never again destroy all flesh on earth by water
There is no obligation on the part of man
A sign must be visible to man - the sign is the rainbow

This is the last covenant in the OT which considers all mankind, not just the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

2 Peter 2:5 refers to Noah and God’s judgement of sin.

Genesis 8:20-21
“Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled the soothing aroma, and the Lord said to Himself: I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth…”

This refers to our sin nature. The OT Israelites always offered sacrifices.
God desires to save man and give him the chance for a new beginning.
Jesus is our salvation - He gives us a new beginning.

From notes on the last lesson I did on the covenants, about two years ago. It took well over an hour and may also be useful for this thread.

Thanks for reminding me!

Fran


#14

Hi Mr. Snaith,

Never mind your interjecting!

I differentiate between the church in Rome and the invisible church which is the Body of Christ. Everyone who believes in Jesus belongs to the Body of Christ.

The economy of salvation, however, leaves much to be desired for me. After all, Jesus died first and then the church was formed. Mere intellectual assent certainly does not save us. However, I do believe God did all the ‘work’. What could we possibly do to save ourselves? If we could, Jesus would not have had to be sacrificed.

I do very much agree with your very next sentence about how God comes to us and we have to respond and be transformed interiorly, or, certainly, something is amiss! Protestants believe this too, as you might know. Even the grace movement teaches that some interior change is necessary and sin is to be kept at a distance.

You say that Jesus transcends all boundaries. Maybe the difference between you and I is that I really believe this. I know my position is not easy to understand. I do believe that you and I and others of faith on this CAF are one in the body of Christ and that we are all little Christs. I used to tell my catechism kids this: it’s something kids tend to remember.

I mean, don’t you believe someone could be outside the church (Rome) and still be a part of the Body of Christ? This would be Jesus transcending all boundaries. He is able to be a part of us in any situation. By this I don’t mean that I don’t believe it’s good and even necessary to belong to and go to a church.

You loose me when you speak of the church being on the cross. I’m not sure I understand how you mean this. Of course we pick up our cross daily and of course we add our sacrifices to the sacrifice of the Mass. This concept of yours that we have to hang with Him on the cross or we can’t be part of His church is, maybe, new to me. Do you mean that we have to accept the actual work that was done by Jesus by dying on the cross to redeem us, or do you mean something different?

With Him, In Him, Through Him. Yeah. I don’t think there was anything lacking in the cross. I think it was a complete work. Jesus said, It is finished. He did it all. It’s a complete and finished work.

We add our work at Mass as an offering, not as a sacrifice. It’s at the offertory. The best thing we could offer is ourselves.

It’s all words, Mr. Snaith. We might be saying the same thing.

Fran


#15

I would say that everyone who is baptized belongs to the Body of Christ. Moreover, sure, you can make the distinction, but that doesn’t mean the church in Rome is somehow separate from the Body of Christ. It’s all one. As I said before, Jesus is indivisible. If you mean to call attention to the fact that the Church is “larger” than the visible Church, yeah that’s true too.

No real disagreement here! :smiley:

:thumbsup:

No, I’m pretty sure I really believe this too…

Yes. Yes I do.

:thumbsup:

Well, yes we have to accept the actual work that was done by Jesus. But, as with all graces that come to us, we must become participants in it. The cross is the most important gift God has ever given to us. He calls us to participate in it. In the Mass, this occurs in a particular way. He actually makes present to us Calvary there. When we stand before the Altar of Sacrifice at the Mass, we are actually standing at the foot of the Cross. Time and space are boundaries that do not apply to Christ. He brings Himself present to us there.

But not only in the Mass. We each share in the priesthood of Christ, because He brings this priesthood to us by our communion with Him. Therefore, we are each able to, outside of the Mass, offer up our sins and our sacrifices and our thanksgivings, etc, through this unity to Christ, up to the Father along with His sacrifice on Calvary.

In union with Him, we share in His life.

It’s not a mere token of “moral unity” when we “offer it up.” We shouldn’t just say, “here, Lord, you do all the work.” He’s happy to, and His work is sufficient, but it is better for us to say, “here, Lord, I want to help you help me.” We are called to participate in His saving work; to save ourselves and save others. We do this in the greatest sense when we pick up our daily crosses for Him, and for those around us, and offer these crosses up along with Him. And if I do that, then I’m with Him on the cross because He brings me there. And if I am, the Church is.

It is a complete work, and there is nothing lacking. The only thing lacking is my participation. But it’s a complete work because all of time, all sin of all time, and all communion from across all time was made present to that moment on Calvary. It’s a complete work because Jesus crosses the expanses of space and time. But if I don’t participate, I’m not included in that complete work. My participation is part of that complete work, because that participation is present at the cross of Calvary by the Divine, Eternal Presence.

I hope I’m making sense.

We might be. :wink:


#16

Read your whole post. Aren’t you glad when catholics could agree instead of arguing all the time?

I’m on the other side of the world (Europe) and it’s pretty late here.

Will post again tomorrow.

Fran


#17

In Ephesians 5, Paul calls the relationship between man and wife, Christ and Church a “profound mystery”. To me, it’s a mystery almost on par with the Eucharist. Here, Paul, under the guidance of the Spirit, says that a group of individuals is Christ’s body, where there Jesus says that something that looks like bread is His Body. I’m not saying they’re necessarily equivalent, only that it’s the same sort of deep mystery.
There are various ways scripture tries to explain the mystery to us. “I’m the vine, you are the branches”, “you’re in me, I’m in you”, and of course with Paul and throughout scripture, the marital union is used.
Off hand, I can’t remember for sure, but I think it was Pope Pius XII when declaring the doctrine of the assumption that Mary could rightfully be called the mother of the church exactly because she gave birth to Jesus, and since the Church is Jesus’ body, it follows that she’s the mother of the Church, as well.


#18

Good morning -

Well, I don’t know if I mean larger than the visible church, it can’t be larger than the VISIBLE church. Maybe larger than the church in Rome. The visible church is just everyone who belongs to Christ; who have been baptized, and even those who have not had a chance to be baptised but are baptised by “desire”.

I had a long discussion with a priest one time regarding this idea that everyone who is baptized is a member of the Body of Christ (as many believe). What if you get baptised as a baby and then grow up to be a murderer? So, yes, your baptism must be ‘accepted’ at some point, as must Jesus and His teachings. So, yes, the church in Rome is a part of the Body, of course - but it’s larger than that.

Well, yes we have to accept the actual work that was done by Jesus. But, as with all graces that come to us, we must become participants in it. The cross is the most important gift God has ever given to us. He calls us to participate in it. In the Mass, this occurs in a particular way. He actually makes present to us Calvary there. When we stand before the Altar of Sacrifice at the Mass, we are actually standing at the foot of the Cross. Time and space are boundaries that do not apply to Christ. He brings Himself present to us there.

Very beautiful. This is the way we should all understand this. Not all catholics do. Protestants are upset with us for “sacrificing Jesus” at every Mass. But you explain it beautifully. To God there is no time. It’s us who are going back to be at the foot of the cross. It’s an ongoing sacrifice ,if I can say it like that. Words are so lacking when speaking of spirituality! It’s one sacrifice spread out through eternity and which was provided (planned) from the beginning of time.

But not only in the Mass. We each share in the priesthood of Christ, because He brings this priesthood to us by our communion with Him. Therefore, we are each able to, outside of the Mass, offer up our sins and our sacrifices and our thanksgivings, etc, through this unity to Christ, up to the Father along with His sacrifice on Calvary.

In union with Him, we share in His life.

“For it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me”.
Galatians 2:20
John 14:17 The H.S. will abide in you –

It’s not a mere token of “moral unity” when we “offer it up.” We shouldn’t just say, “here, Lord, you do all the work.” He’s happy to, and His work is sufficient, but it is better for us to say, “here, Lord, I want to help you help me.” We are called to participate in His saving work; to save ourselves and save others. We do this in the greatest sense when we pick up our daily crosses for Him, and for those around us, and offer these crosses up along with Him. And if I do that, then I’m with Him on the cross because He brings me there. And if I am, the Church is.

How do we save others?
Otherwise I understand what you’re saying in the light of James 2. Faith without works is dead. Or, we are God’s hands and feet, or let us do all for the glory of God.

It is a complete work, and there is nothing lacking. The only thing lacking is my participation. But it’s a complete work because all of time, all sin of all time, and all communion from across all time was made present to that moment on Calvary. It’s a complete work because Jesus crosses the expanses of space and time. But if I don’t participate, I’m not included in that complete work. My participation is part of that complete work, because that participation is present at the cross of Calvary by the Divine, Eternal Presence.

I hope I’m making sense.

We might be. :wink:

Yes. You’re making perfect sense. Too bad not everybody sees this. Some are so legalistic as if it’s more like we’re supposed to follow a set of rules. I always feel like I have to get God out of that box some want to put Him in. It’s like this: I do for my husband because I love him, not because he made up a list of rules when we got married. This is how I understand our relationship with Jesus should be. The Law kills.
Galatians 6:17-21.

Maybe this is adult faith? When I don’t have to rely on Augustine, Anselm, Teresa, De Salles, Thomas, the CCC, papal bulls, but have an understanding that comes naturally.
Sounds dangerous, doesn’t it?

I think I’ve said enough - I think I’ve said too much.

Fran


#19

There are many mysteries in Christianity because we’e so limited and it’s difficult to understand the infinite.

It must be me, but I don’t believe Christ and His body, the Church, is a big mystery. Maybe I’m just not understanding it as well as others. You bring up the CCC.

Read CCC 846 again and then tell me it really makes sense to you. The church used to say that anyone outside the Catholic (Roman Catholic) chuch was lost. I’m sorry but this is so absurd that I can hardly speak to it. And yet it’s what I heard in my growing up years.

Is 845 speaking of the Catholic Church as in 843, or is a change occurring? Now it’s called the Son’s Church. Does it mean the Body of Christ?

The church is prefigured by Noah’s Ark which alone saves from the flood. Okay. So it’s the CHURCH that’s saving me? Not Jesus who died to redeem my sins?

Then it goes on to say that the one Christ is the mediator and way of salvation and that He is present to us in the body which is the church. This is saying a whole different concept. I’d go so far as to say that He is also knowable outside of the church. Romans 1.

Then it goes on to say that they could not be saved who, knowing that the CATHOLIC church was founded as necessary by God through Christ would refuse to enter it or remain in it.

So which is it?? In some places it’s telling me those outside the catholic church cannot be saved - in other places it’s telling me that they’re saved but don’t have the fullness of faith.

I know people who love God but have left the church for various reasons. You think they’re going to hell?

I’ve taught from the catechism and know it pretty well. I find it to be confusing and unclear. It almost seems to have been done purposefully. Make two people read and they come up with two different ideas.

Of course you’re right about the vine and the branches. But, lo and behold, this comes from the bible! Maybe we should stick to the bible? I kind of hope this is where Pope Francis is headed. We already have a priest in our parish who wants catechism to be done using only the bible and not all these books put out that are so watered down that I think kids of today are totally bored by them.

Anyway, I’m in a talkative mood today. Sorry about that.

Fran


#20

Good Morning Fran,

Actually, this is incomplete. The Church is both visible and invisible. The Church, the Body of Christ, includes all those members of the Catholic Religion, those who are Baptized Christians, but not members of the Catholic Religion, and those who have gone before us and now reside in Heaven (and I would argue also those in Purgatory). So, the Church is actually “larger” than the visible Church, but what I was referring to before was actually the Roman Catholic Church. But, let’s also remember that there are many non-Roman Catholics who are in union with the Papacy. Though they are not Roman Catholic, they too hold the fullness of Faith.

What if? Baptism imprints on the soul of the Baptized an indelible mark which makes one a child of God. That is our rebirth. But, as always comes with free will, we may choose to walk away from our inclusion in God’s family. But, that mark never goes away. We will always remain a child of God, even if we turn our backs on Him. That doesn’t mean we’re saved no matter what. In the end, the rotten wood will be cut off, but Baptism is our entry into Grace, and the Body of Christ.

By bringing them the Gospel of life, by offering prayers and sacrifices and suffering for them that they may receive the Graces necessary for salvation. If you don’t think we have a hand in saving others, read Paul’s letters again. Here, I’ll look up the verses that indicate this and get back to you.

We should never have to “rely” on these things. All of these things exist to deepen and enrich our Faith. That’s it. Faith is a Grace conferred by God, and transmitted through the Sacraments. The Sacraments, not the CCC, etc. But let’s not put the teachings of the Magesterium and the Saints down. These are what give us our certainty in Faith, when confusion and error arise. God didn’t give us these gifts arbitrarily.


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