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The wrong use of created things

"Now nobody denies that God is the Maker of the universe - for Nature herself witnesses it - and that it is good, and its Makerís free gift to man. But having no intimate acquaintance with God, knowing Him only by natural revelation, not as His " friends " - afar off, and not as those who have been brought close to Him -  men cannot know what He wants and what He forbids regarding the use of His creation. They must be ignorant, too, of the hostile power which works against Him, and perverts to wrong uses the things He created ; for you cannot know either the will or the enemy of a God you do not know. We must not, then, consider merely by whom all things were made, but by whom they have been perverted. We shall find out for what use they were made at first, when we find for what they were not made There is a vast difference between the corrupted state and that of primal purity, just because there is a vast difference between the Creator and the corrupter. All sorts of evils, which even the heathens prohibit, and avoid, are brought about through created things. Take, for instance, murder, whether committed by dagger, by poison, or by magic spells. Weapons and herbs and demons are all equally Godís creation. Has the Creator, then, provided these things for man's destruction? No, He forbids every sort of murder by that one initial command, "You shall not kill." Moreover, who but God, the Maker of the world, put in it, the gold, brass, silver, ivory, wood, and all the other materials used in the manufacture of idols ? Yet has He done this that men may set up a worship in opposition to Himself? On the contrary, idolatry in His eyes is the crowning sin. What is there offensive to God which is not God's? But in offending Him, it ceases to be His ; and in ceasing to be His, it is in His eyes an offending thing. Man himself, guilty as he is of every misdeed, is not only a work of God - he is His image, and yet both in soul and body he has severed himself from his Maker. For we did not get eyes to serve our evil desires, and the tongue for speaking evil, and ears to listen to evil speech, and the throat to commit gluttony, and the belly to be gluttony's ally, and the genitals for unchaste excesses, and hands for violent deeds, and the feet for idling around; or was the soul placed in the body to become a factory of snares, and fraud, and injustice ? I do not think so ; for if God, who demands innocence, hates everything like evildoing - if He completely hates such plotting of evil, it is clear beyond a doubt, that, of all things He created , He has made none to lead to deeds which He condemns, even though these same deeds may be performed by things He made; for, in fact, the one ground of condemnation consists of the creatureís misuse of creation. We, therefore, who in our knowledge of the Lord have obtained some knowledge also of His foe - who, in our discovery of the Creator, have at the same time laid hands upon the great corrupter."

Tertullian, De Spectaculis, 2.

 

Prayer:

O God, we thank you for all Human beings, who populate the earth, for the animals, and all forms of life ; and for Your inanimate creatures, that form the beauties of Your Creation. We humbly ask You to help us find You through them and to always employ them for Your honour and glory. We ask You this through Your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit for ever and ever, Amen.

 

By Ateneo Pontificio "Regina Apostolorum"

 

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