"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him" (Gen. 1, 27).
God then "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Gen. 2, 7). Man was also given dominion over all the other creatures upon earth.
However, in the plan of God He saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone for he needed companionship with one like himself. So God sent a deep sleep upon Adam, and while he was sleeping took one of his ribs and from it created Eve whom God gave to Adam as his companion and helpmate. Beholding his new partner for the first time Adam was ecstatic and exclaimed, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken" (Gen. 2, 23).
Being made in the image and likeness of God, Adam and Eve possessed the spiritual powers of intellect and will. They were created in a state of innocence and happiness, and enriched with supernatural (above nature) gifts to elevate, or "divinize," them and so enable them to participate in the life of God. These gifts included sanctifying grace with the concomitant infused theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, the infused moral virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance, the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the uncreated grace of the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity. Through such gifts, Adam and Eve possessed the sonship of God and the right to inherit heaven. In addition to these supernatural gifts, Adam and Eve possessed preternatural (beyond nature) gifts to perfect them as human beings, namely, impassability, immortality, integrity and infused knowledge. Their lower instincts, or passions, obeyed their reason and their reason obeyed God. All these gifts were gratuitous gifts of God, above our natural rights.
God placed Adam and Eve in the paradise of Eden, a garden of delights, where they would live in happiness and innocence, growing in grace, until God transported them body and soul to heaven for all eternity. However, it was God's determination for Adam and Eve to merit heaven through obedience and so put our first parents to the test: "And the Lord God commanded the man, You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die" (Gen. 2, 16-17). Satan in the form of a serpent approached Eve: "you will be like God." Adam, puffed up with pride at the prompting of Eve, sought inordinately to become like God in knowledge, and then believing God to be a liar disobeyed His prohibition and ate of the Tree of Knowledge.
At once, Adam and Eve felt shame and wished to hide from Gods presence. The punishments were then pronounced. They lost the sonship of God by being stripped of sanctifying grace and hence their right to enter heaven. Four wounds opened up within them: malice in the will; ignorance in the intellect; concupiscence in the concupiscible appetite; and debility in the irascible appetite. Their minds were now therefore darkened, and they became prone to evil, disorder and weakness. They were driven out of Paradise, angels guarding the entrances with flaming swords to prevent their return and access to the Tree of Life. Toil and sickness were henceforth to be their lot, and with the forfeiture of the gifts of impassibility and immortality they became subject to pain, suffering, sickness and death: "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Gen. 3, 19).
Through the disobedience of Adam and Eve "sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned" (Rom. 5, 12). The miserable consequences of Adams sin were to pass from him to all his posterity through natural generation, a fatal stain upon our souls. To this, the Church gives the term "Original Sin": "we were by nature children of wrath" (Eph. 2, 3).
God in His mercy, however, would not allow humanity to remain in this fallen state. Satan would not be allowed any victory through envy and deception. God gave us time for repentance, and promised a new Adam and Eve who would co-operate together to redeem our lost innocence and regain the Kingdom of Heaven (Gen. 3, 15). The Fathers Tatian the Syrian, Address to the Greeks 15 (C. 165-175 AD)
Tatian the Syrian, Address to the Greeks 15 (C. 165-175 AD):
"...it is necessary for us now to seek what once we had, but have lost: indeed, to unite the soul with the Holy Spirit, and to strive after union with God...The perfect God is without flesh; but man is flesh...Such is the form of mans constitution: and if it be like a temple, God desires to dwell in it through the Spirit, His Representative; but if it be not such a habitation, then man excels the beasts only in that he has articulate speech, and in other respects his manner of life is like theirs and he is not a likeness of God." St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 5, 3, 2 (C. 180 AD)
St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 5, 3, 2 (C. 180 AD):
"God, taking soil from the earth, made man. And surely it is much more difficult and more incredible that from non-existent bones and nerves and veins and the rest of the human system, he makes him to exist, and in fact raises him up as an animated and rational living being..." Tertullian, The Soul 22, 2 (Inter 208-212 AD)
Tertullian, The Soul 22, 2 (Inter 208-212 AD):
"We define the soul as born of the breath of God, immortal, corporal (sic), having form, simple in substance, acquiring knowledge by its own operation, showing itself in various ways, free to choose, subject to misfortunes, changeable according to natural inclinations, rational, the mistress, she who divines, descended from a single source." St. Cyprian of Carthage, The Advantage of Patience 19 (256 AD)
St. Cyprian of Carthage, The Advantage of Patience 19 (256 AD):
"The Devil bore impatiently the fact that man was made in the image of God; and that is why he was the first to perish and the first to bring others to perdition. Adam, contrary to the heavenly command, was impatient in regard to the deadly food, and fell into death; nor did he preserve, under the guardianship of patience, the grace he received from God." Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566)
Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):
Lastly, He formed man from the slime of the earth, so created and constituted in body as to be immortal and impassable, not, however, by the strength of nature, but by the bounty of God. Mans soul He created to His own image and likeness; gifted him with free will, and tempered all his motions and appetites so as to subject them, at all times, to the dictates of reason. He then added the admirable gift of original righteousness, and next gave him dominion over all other animals. Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)
Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):
No. 396: God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God...
No. 397: Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed Gods command. This is what mans first sin consisted of.
No. 400: The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the souls spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subject "to its bondage to decay." Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true; man will "return to the ground" for out of it he was taken. Death makes it entrance into human history.
No. 404: By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice.
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My goof-up. Here it is:
"A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him" (Dan. 7, 10).
Angels are the highest and most perfect of Gods creatures, being pure spirits endowed with power, intelligence and free will. They surround the throne of God and are "His ministers that do his will" (Ps. 103 , 21).
God created the angels before men, and in a state of innocence and grace together with excellent gifts. But God created them also free and capable of sinning, and willed that they should undergo a trial in order to merit heaven permanently as a reward for their fidelity. According to tradition, this test involved God revealing His plan to create humanity and later have the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity assume human nature and dwell among men on earth. Some time later, He and His Mother would be exalted in heaven above all the angels. Lucifer, the highest of the angels, could not accept mere human nature being exalted above his own and in his pride preferred the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity to unite with himself.
Lucifer together with one-third of the other angels rebelled against this plan of God, and becoming devils with perverted wills, were cast into hell: "God did not spare the angels when they sinned" (2 Pet. 2, 4). There they will remain forever without repentence or redemption for they gave full consent to their rebellion knowing without deception the consequences thereof. In other words they permanently fixed their own end.
Though they have no physical body like humans, they have the power to appear in bodily form. This they can do in either two ways. They can "assume bodies" by manipulating matter to create and put on a mask in the same way humans can put on a disguise or costume. This is the case when angels are seen by more than one person at a time. The other way is by influencing our imaginations by placing an image within them that gives the impression that there is a body there. This is normally the case when only one person is having a purely private experience of an angel.1
The exact number of angels is not stated in Sacred Scripture, however, according to the Prophet Daniel "A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him" (Dan. 7, 10).
According to the Fathers of the Church, the angels are divided into three hierarchies, and each hierarchy into three chiors:
(i) Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones;
(ii) Dominations, Principalities, Powers;
(iii) Virtues, Archangels, Guardian Angels.
Only three of the heavenly host are known to us by name:
(i) Gabriel ("Strength of God");
(ii) Michael ("Who is like unto God");
(iii) Raphael ("Remedy of God").
Though condemned to hell, Devils are permitted by God to come upon the earth to test mankind: "Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour" (1 Pet. 5, 8). In their envy and hatred they try to lead us to sin, and can even affect our bodies by possession. Nevertheless, "God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it" (1 Cor. 10, 13). If, then, we are overcome the fault is our own.
The chief occupation of the good angels is to adore and to praise God continually: "Day and night without ceasing they sing, Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty" (Rev. 4, 8). Angels also, as Gods ministers, take part in the government of the universe, executing the Divine commands: "Are not all angels spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?" (Heb. 1, 14).
It is the Churchs teaching that each person has a Guardian Angel appointed by God as a special protector: "Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven" (St. Matt. 18, 10); "When he knocked at the outer gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. On recognizing Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the gate, she ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, You are out of your mind! But she insisted that it was so. They said, It is his angel" (Acts 12, 11-15).
St. Michael was the special protector of Israel, and is now venerated as the guardian of Gods Church against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
We should love and revere the angels, and with confidence recommend ourselves to them in all the circumstances of our lives. The Fathers The Shepherd of Hermas, Vis. 3, 4, 1 (C. 140-155 AD)
The Shepherd of Hermas, Vis. 3, 4, 1 (C. 140-155 AD):
[Hermas recounts that the old woman who is the Church came to him in a vision]:
"I answered and said to her: Lady, this is a great and wonderful thing. But the six young men who are building, who are they, lady?
These are the holy angels of God, who were the first to be created, and to whom the Lord entrusted all of His creation, to increase it and to build it up, and to be masters of the whole of creation. Through them, therefore, the building of the tower will be completed.
But the others, who are bringing the stones:-who are they?
They also are holy angels of God; but these six are superior to them. The building of the tower, then, shall be completed; and all alike shall rejoice around the tower, and shall give glory to God, because the building of the tower was accomplished." Tertullian, Apology 22, 4 (197 AD)
Tertullian, Apology 22, 4 (197 AD):
"The business (of the fallen angels, who are the demons), is to corrupt mankind. Thus, from the very first, spiritual wickedness augured mans destruction. Therefore do they inflict diseases and other grievous misfortunes upon our bodies; and upon the soul they do violence to achieve sudden and extraordinary excesses. Their marvellous subtlety and elusiveness give them access to both parts of mans substance...Therefore are they everywhere in a moment. The whole world is but one place to them. What and where anything happens they can know and tell with equal facility." St. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 6, 13, 107, 2 (Post 202 AD)
St. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 6, 13, 107, 2 (Post 202 AD):
"Even here in the Church the gradations of bishops, presbyters, and deacons happen to be imitations, in my opinion, of the angelic glory and of that arrangement which, the Scriptures say, awaits those who have followed in the footsteps of the Apostles, and who have lived in perfect righteousness according to the Gospel." Origen, Fundamental Doctrines 1, Preface, 6 (Inter 220-230 AD)
Origen, Fundamental Doctrines 1, Preface, 6 (Inter 220-230 AD):
"In regard to the Devil and his angels and opposing powers, the ecclesiastical teaching maintains that these beings do indeed exist; but what they are or how they exist is not explained with sufficient clarity. This opinion, however, is held by most: that the Devil was an angel; and having apostatized, he persuaded as many angels as possible to fall away with himself; and these, even to the present time, are called his angels." St. Hilary of Poitiers, Commentaries on the Psalms, On Psalm 130 (129), 7 (C. 365 AD)
St. Hilary of Poitiers, Commentaries on the Psalms, On Psalm 130 (129), 7 (C. 365 AD):
"We recall that there are many spiritual powers, to whom the name angels is given, or presidents of Churches. There are, according to John, angels of the Churches of Asia. And there were, as Moses bears witness, when the sons of Adam were separated, bounds appointed for the peoples according to the number of the angels. And, as the Lord teaches, there are for little children, angels who see God daily. There are, as Raphael told Tobias, angels assisting before the majesty of God, and carrying to God the prayers of suppliants. Mention is made of all this, because you might wish to understand these angels as the eyes, or the ears, or the hands, or the feet of God." Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566)
Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):
Moreover, He created out of nothing the spiritual world and Angels innumerable to serve and minister to Him; and these He enriched and adorned with the admirable gifts of His grace and power...That the Devil and the other rebel angels were gifted from the beginning of their creation with grace, clearly follows from these words of the Sacred Scriptures: He (the Devil) stood not in the truth. On this subject St. Augustine says: In creating the angels He endowed them with good will, that is, with pure love that they might adhere to Him, giving them existence and adorning them with grace at one and the same time. Hence we are to believe that the holy Angels were never without good will, that is, the love of God. Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)
Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):
No. 329: St. Augustine says: "Angel is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is spirit; if you seek the name of their office, it is angel: from what they are, spirit, from what they do, angel." With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they "always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" they are the "mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word."
No. 336: From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life." Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of the angels and men united in God."
No. 392: Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection in that rebellion in the tempters words to our first parents: "You will be like God." The devil "has sinned from the beginning..."; he is "a liar and the father of lies."