Friday, August 12, 2011

It is Not Good: A Short Reflection of Theology of the Body


It is Not Good

God says of man in Genesis: “It is not good that the man should be alone” (2:18 RSV-CE). Here solitude appears to take on a negative character. In the creation stories, it is clear that man is alone in the sense that there are no other creatures like himself. The solitude man experiences in the beginning is different from the solitude of a monk or hermit; they have and know others but leave the world to be for the world. No, man here, in the creation stories, really is alone: there is none like him and it is not good that man should have none like himself. “Alone simply means he has no other like himself.

But why is not having another like oneself “not good”? Christ Himself says of God in the Gospels that “no one is good but God alone” (Mark 10:18 RSV-CE). Knowing the revelation of God through Christ and the Spirit, God is revealed as a community of loving persons where each is like the other (scripture passages). It can be said that what is “not good” about Man's solitude is that man, at this point, has no community, no other who is like himself. In other words, it is “not good” for man to be alone because man less perfectly images the self-giving love of the Trinity when man has no other like himself. Therefore, man more perfectly images the Trinity when he has another like himself to whom he may make of gift of himself.

This is expressed at man's joyous proclamation upon waking and discovering woman: “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” It is as if Man looks at woman and says, “you are a creature who is like me in not only form and matter but also in nature and substance. I give the gift of myself to one who is like me and you give the gift of yourself to one who is like you.”

The giving of self as a gift expresses in no way an economic system. Making a gift into an economic system destroys the nature of what a gift is – namely that a gift is freely given. Original man is not saying that he loves woman because she is instrumentally good and useful for something (washing the dishes, cooking dinner or having children). Man gives of himself freely to woman simply because she is the only one who is able to accept the gift, understand the gift, and respond to the gift in a way that results in man and woman echoing the Trinity. In the process of giving, accepting, understanding, and responding to the gift of self, man and woman form a relationship of reciprocity

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