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11/15/2022 -- The Garden of Eden: Location of the Very First Eucharistic Celebration Within History? Part I of II
STOSS Books
Published by Stephen Michael Leininger in Stephen Michael Leininger · 14 November 2022
Tags: GardenofEdenTreeofLifeTreeofEvilApple

The Garden of Eden: Location of the Very First Eucharistic Celebration Within History?

 

Part I of II

   

The Garden of Eden: The First Covenant of Salt?

Let me begin this article by providing the following proviso: The beliefs put forth in this writing should be considered my theological opinion. I must make this statement. This obligation is so because the theological concept at the very foundation of this discussion is eternity and the eternal now of God. God is the Eternal Now. That being the case, it is impossible for a finite being even to grasp, let alone begin to understand, the concept of an eternal now.
The Right Reverend James Bellord writes:
The Eternity of God is His infinite tenure of life. The life of God is nothing else but God; so, it is incomprehensible, and can no more be represented in human words than the likeness of God can be painted in oils. For we can only conceive of existence as in time and as having succession and duration, and we necessarily speak of all existence in corresponding language. Now, time and eternity are incommensurable terms. They are of analogous significance, as being the creature’s tenure of life and God’s; but they are the opposites of one another at every point…. [Attempting to understand and express that understanding of the eternal now can be] misleading, for it is an attempt to picture eternity by multiplying an element which is contradictory to eternity[1]
However, it should be noted that my opinions are based on what I believe to be compelling scriptural and theological evidence. Based on this evidence and the hermeneutics I apply, I hope you will find my interpretation plausible. The Tree of Life, the fountain in the Garden’s center, and the Garden itself are the main topics of this blog series. The knowledge gained in this blog will, I believe, help to understand other events in Bible history.
Within the Church, there has been much speculation about the meaning of the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. To my knowledge, the Magisterium contains no doctrinal statements explaining its existence. Therefore, the latter Tree will not be discussed in this blog series. However, there is a three-part blog on Original Sin (links to all three parts included). The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is extensively discussed in that blog series.
Moving on, let’s explore the belief in the existence of multiple levels of Heaven. According to Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel:
Realm (or realms) designated by a Hebrew term used to represent the sky and air, and also heaven. The form of the word in Hebrew is dual (implying two of something). Although this dual form may only represent an ancient device for expressing the plural, it is supposed by some to imply the existence of a lower and an upper heaven—a physical and a spiritual heaven.[2]
From the theological viewpoint, the most important use of the term “heaven” is its reference to the spiritual domain, the abode of God himself. Numerous passages of Scripture speak of God as “the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity” (Is 57:15), who has a parallel dwelling on earth[3] and in heaven (1 Kgs 8:12), and of whom Solomon said, “Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee” (v. 27). It is that abode to which the Lord Jesus Christ said he was about to return (Jn 14:2; cf. Pss 61:4; 65:4). There is where the true Tabernacle stands, of which the earthly Tabernacle was merely a shadow (cf. Heb 8:1–5). That abode of God was in view when the apostle Paul wrote of “the third heaven” (2 Cor 12:2). As such, it is often seen as a synonym for God himself (cf. Mt 23:22; Lk 15:18)[4]
The Lord Jesus indicated that heaven is the dwelling place of God, or the place from which his presence is made manifest (cf. Mt 6:9; Rev 11:1–3); the Scriptures tell how Christ came from heaven to declare the glory of God (Jn 1:14, 18); Jesus, during his earthly ministry, repeatedly claimed that he had come from heaven (Jn 3:13; 6:33–51); and on at least three occasions utterances from heaven confirmed these claims (Mt 3:16, 17; 17:5; Jn 12:28). In the upper room, Jesus said that he was about to return to his Father’s house and that it was a genuine place (Jn 14:1–6).[5]
I submit that the lower/earthly heaven is Eden (and its surrounding Garden, the Church). The upper Heaven is where the sanctified faithful dwell. Paul wrote about the significance of where Christ dwells.
Quoting and explaining Paul, N. L. Geisler wrote:
“In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (2:9). Colossians 1:19 is one of the most powerful descriptions of Christ’s deity in the New Testament (cf. Heb. 1:3). “Fullness” (plērōma), a key word in Colossians, is used in 1:19 and 2:9. (The verb plēroō? is used in 1:9, 25; 2:10; and 4:17.) The noun means “completeness” and is used of a wide range of things including God’s being (Eph. 3:19), time (Gal. 4:4), and grace in Christ (John 1:16). This full and complete Deity is said to “dwell” (katoikēsai, “abide lastingly or permanently”) in Christ.[6]  
The first of three Scripture passages to equate Eden with paradise (though not necessarily using that precise word) is in Genesis. The second describes Ezekiel’s dream of the New Covenant Temple, i.e., the place where God dwells in creation. The third is in Revelations, in which the Throne of God and the Lamb are described. When we compare the wording of all three passages, we see that they are almost identical, indicating they refer to the same special dwelling place.
To make the comparison of the three passages easier, the following protocols have been employed: 1) Italicized and underlined words highlight the nearly identical wording among all three passages; 2) The italicized (but not underlined) words represent my interpretations and thoughts.
Following are the three passages:
Passage A. (Rev. 22:1-5) — “Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal [i.e., a river flowing from the Sacred Heart of the Resurrected glorified/luminous DNA of Jesus — which is crystalline in structure], flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb [the Lamb always refers to Jesus on the wood of the Cross] through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face [the incarnate Son of God], and his name shall be on their foreheads (Rev. 22:1-5).”[7][8]
Passage B. (Ez. 47:12) — “And on the banks, on both sides of the river [of Living Water] flowing out from the NC Temple in Ezekiel’s dream], there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food [in John 6:55, Jesus identifies himself as Real Food], and their leaves for healing (Ez. 47:12).”
According to Block: “Like the trees in Eden (Gen. 2:15–17), these trees will remain perpetually green and provide an endless supply of food (maʾăkāl). The impression of regularity and reliability, reflected in ʾ-yittōm piryô, “its fruit will not fail,” is rendered more concrete with loŏdāšāyw yĕbakkēr, “according to their months they will yield fresh fruit.”[9]
Passage C. (Gen. 2:7-10) — “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed [it is always Jesus who breathes the Breath (cf. John 20:22)] into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden [the Church] in Eden [the Sanctuary in Ezekiel; the Throne in Revelations], in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground [i.e., the dust of the earth from which man was made] the Lord God [the Word made flesh] made to grow every tree [man in the state of Original Justice] that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life [bearing the Eucharist] also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flowed out of Eden [The New Covenant Temple in Ezekiel’s dream] to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers* [representing the multiplicity of the Living Water of the Holy Spirit encompassing the entire world[10] — SML] (Gen. 2:7-10).”
*Daniel Isaac Block writes: “Few doubt that Ezekiel’s vision of a life-giving stream has been influenced, at least in part, by Gen. 2:10–14, which portrays paradise as a garden, rendered fruitful by a river flowing out of Eden and dividing into four branches, and which Yahweh visits daily (3:8). However, Ezekiel offers this ancient Edenic tradition a special twist by merging it with official Zion theology, according to which the temple in Jerusalem is the source of blessing and nourishment to a dry and thirsty land.”[10-A]
Let’s provide further evidence below of the link between the historical (i.e., Garden of Eden), the prophetical, (i.e., Ezekiel’s dream of the rebuilt Temple), and the eschatological (i.e., Revelations and the new Jerusalem).
From Block’s Footnote to the above, we read:
“This Zion-river connection recalls Ps. 46:5 (Eng. 4), which speaks of “a river whose streams (pĕlāgîm) make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High” (NRSV). See also Ps. 36:9–10 (Eng. 8–9), where those who take refuge under Yahweh’s wings drink “of the abundance of his house” (yirwĕyun middešen bêtekā), “the river of his delights” (naal ʿădānêkā tašqēm), since with him is “the fountain of life” (mĕqôr ayyim). Ezekiel was undoubtedly familiar with the Gihon spring in the Kidron Valley, a vital source of water for Jerusalem from the 2nd millennium; it may have been considered sacred (cf. 1 K. 1:38), but nowhere is it associated with the temple. Zimmerli (Ezekiel 2, p. 511) also links the stream from the temple with the “gently flowing waters of Shiloah” (Isa. 8:6–7), but the connection is remote.”[10-B]
To help us understand the commonality of the above three quotes, let us look at what Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich writes:
And now I saw Adam borne up on high to a garden [in Eden], to Paradise [emphasis SML]. God led all the animals before him in Paradise, and he named them. They followed him and gamboled around him, for all things served him before he sinned. All that he named, afterward followed him to earth. Eve had not yet been formed from him. … I saw Adam in Paradise among the plants and flowers, and not far from the fountain [of Living Water —like the purifying Living Water flowing out from the rebuilt Temple’s (i.e., Jesus’s resurrected body) threshold in Ezekiel’s prophetic dream (Ez. 47:12)] that played in its center [same location as the Tree of Life].[11]
Interestingly, the phrase, “borne up” can be used to describe an event in which someone is being taken up to Heaven (cf. Dt. 32:11; Ex. 19:3-4; Ez. 10:16; and Prov. 23:5), but not necessarily to the level where the beatific vision occurs; animals could not experience the beatific vision. We learn from these passages that Heaven is not so much a geographical place as it is wherever God dwells — even if it be on a pre-fallen earth inhabited by men still in the state of Original Justice.
In Revelations, we read, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches [i.e., the garden]. To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life (the Eucharist), which is in the paradise [Eden] of God” (Rev. 2:7). In other words, if we conquer our sinfulness, we shall regain what we lost — access to the Garden of Eden, wherein is the Tree of Life. — i.e., paradise. Scripture makes it clear that Eden still has an entrance that is accessible from the earth today, but access is blocked because of our fallen nature. Otherwise, why would God need to post guards at its entrance (Gen. 3:24). When sin is no longer in our world, man will again be granted access to that paradise.
To sum up, only three times the word paradise is used in the RSVCE translation of Scripture. They are Lk. 23:43, 2 Cor. 12:3, and Rev. 2:7. All three refer to Heaven, i.e., the heavenly Jerusalem. The dwelling place of God, which is also where Christ dwells — and he dwells there within a Covenant of Salt together with man when fully in the image and likeness of God.
Gordon J. Wenham tells us:
The LORD God ([Gen] 2:4) is a phrase common in [Gen. chapters] 2–3, but it is hardly used elsewhere in the OT. It sums up two ideas that are important in these chapters — that God is both mankind’s Creator (‘God’ is the term used in ch. 1) and his friend or covenant partner [emphasis SML] (the LORD, or Yahweh, is God’s personal name revealed only to Israel; Ex. 3:14; 6:3).[12]
In the STOSS Books Glossary Page, I reveal the more profound understanding of the personal name of God as revealed to Moses in (Ex. 3:14). The “LORD God” is significant in our exegesis of Genesis 2:7-10. It is so because the LORD God refers to the Person of the Son of God.
Neal and Dunn explain the etymology (study of the origin of words) of Eden and the Garden. They write:
References abound in ancient Near Eastern literature regarding divine gardens; it is certainly no accident that the descriptions of the garden of Eden are almost identical to them (ANET 38; 83). In Ugaritic myth, the high god El dwells at “the source of the (two) rivers, in the midst of the (double) deep” (CTA 3.2.14-15). Life-giving water is also described in Ezek 47:1-12; Zech 14:1-21; Joel 3:16-18 as coming from Mount Zion [i.e., the Temple Mount in Jerusalem]. The main feature of the garden of God theme is the presence of the deity, and in another Ugaritic myth, El’s dwelling place is called p?r m’d, or “appointed assembly” (CTA 3.5.12-17; 4.4.20-24), much like the assumed divine assembly with which God converses (Gen 1:26; 3:22; Wray and Mobley, The Birth of Satan, 48; Mullen, The Divine Council). The similarities are impressive; the garden of Eden is not meant to be just a habitation for humanity, but a divine dwelling place where humanity is in the presence of God (Soggin, “The Fall of Man in the Third Chapter of Genesis”).[13]
According to Michael Heiser, the “appointed assembly” can be interpreted as “the council of the Sons of El (“the God of Israel”), “assembly of the gods,” the divine council.[14] Remember, through Jesus, all of mankind become sons and daughters of God the Father. The divine assembly is present at the celebration of Mass, where the Lamb’s Marriage occurs (Rev. 19:7-9).
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The word “Church” (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to “call out of”) means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious purpose. Ekklesia is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai [the dwelling place of God] where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people. By calling itself “Church,” the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is “calling together” his people from all the ends of the earth [the four rivers flowing from Eden and the three rivers flowing from the Temple in Ezekiel’s dream represent the Living Water’s of the Holy Spirit calling all mankind to God]. The equivalent Greek term Kyriake, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are derived, means “what belongs to the Lord” [CCC 751].
The Garden of Eden is where God dwells in a unique way (cf. 2 Cor. 12:2,4). What do we call the place where God dwells within creation? The Temple (the resurrected body of Christ — Jn. 2:21). What do we do in the Temple? In the case of the Temple of Eden, Adam and Eve partook in the Heavenly Mass and consumed the fruit of the Tree of Life. The Church is the Garden; Eden is the Temple of God.
About the Garden, Gordan Wenham writes:
God’s concern for human need, already mentioned in [Gen.] 1:29, is again underlined here. A delightful park full of fruit trees, rivers, gold and gemstones [in the STOSS Glossary, we learn that precious stones represent man in a condition of Original Justice] is prepared for human habitation in an area called Eden (i.e., ‘delight’). Trees, water, gold and gems and cherubim also adorned the later Tabernacle (Ex. 25:27) and temple (1 Ki. 7; Ezk. 41–47), and these symbols suggest what was most important about the garden: the presence of God [SML]. He used to walk there in the cool of the day having intimate conversation with Adam and Eve (3:8). The tree of life gives eternal life (Pr. 1:7).[15]
Note: immortal life can only be had by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus in the Eucharist (Jn. 6:53-55).
Clearly, Wenham describes a place intended for praise, worship, and offerings. Let us begin to elaborate on the how(s), why(s), and defenses of these statements. The rest of this series will be devoted to that endeavor. Throughout St. Catherine of Siena’s book, The Dialogue, she quotes God repeatedly, referring to the Church as a Garden.[16]

The Deeper Meaning of “Tree” in the Garden

Since trees are a vital part of the Garden within Eden, let’s examine them more fully. According to award-winning journalist Joe Kovacs:
Trees don’t just mean physical trees in the woods,” Kovacs explains. “On the metaphoric level, the Bible personifies [emphasis SML] them, making it clear the tall plants actually refer to people. Here are some examples in which it’s obvious they allude to human beings who can think, speak, and take action, be it good or evil.[17] [see also, Mt. 7:18-20, 12:33; Jdg. 9:8; Ps. 96:12; Mk. 8:24; Rev. 22:2; and Ez. 47:12].
Again, the Bible personifies trees. In typology, trees are types of man, fallen or otherwise. In addition to personifying trees and the fruit they bear, the material of trees, i.e., wood, tends to denote material/physical union (nuptial when referring to Jesus and man). Particularly the material of which they are formed — wood. They point to a Covenant of Salt. There is a reason that Jesus chose to be hung upon a tree. There is no such thing as mere coincidence in God’s plans. What did the wood of the Cross (made from a tree) represent?
Think of the salt (a type of our salt of DNA) that had to be added to unblemished offerings in compliance with Levitical Law. Wood tends to be used as an indication of a one-flesh relationship. For example, in passages involving vines, Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches that possess the same DNA (family) as the vine (e.g., Jn. 15:1-2).
In his conversations with St. Hildegard, God repeatedly compares the human body/spiritual soul composite to a tree.
The following are some examples:
1). “And the soul [i.e., the lower powers of the spiritual soul] flows through the body like sap through a tree.”[18]
2). “The soul in the body is like sap in a tree, and the soul’s powers [the lower powers of the spiritual soul] are like the form of the tree.”[19]
3). “[Jesus] drew from His mother no sap of sin [therefore, Mary had been immaculately conceived from the moment of her conception], because she conceived Him without the pith of a man; as the stalk gives no sap to the grain, because it flourishes not by the pith of a tree but by the sun and rain and gentle breeze.”[20]
According to the Catholic Bible Dictionary:
In Rev 2:7 and 22:2, the Tree of Life may be seen as a type of the Eucharist [I believe the fruit that was eaten was in fact the Eucharist — SML]. In the context of Rev 21:9 – 22:5, the tree appears as part of the vision of the New Jerusalem and grows on the sides of the river flowing beneath the divine throne (Rev 22:2). The tree offers “twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations,” and the righteous “will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates”** (Rev 22:14).[21]
**When Jacob awoke from his dream, he said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate [emphasis SML] of heaven” (Gen. 28:17). What is meant by the phrase gate of heaven? According to Hildegard, it is the heavenly Jerusalem — the New Covenant of Salt Temple of the Living God.[22] The stone pillar is an appropriate symbol of the meta-sense-able reality of the certain place because Jesus is Truth. Catherine of Siena specifically links the gate of truth with Truth incarnate (the embodied Son of God). She tells us the Father is one with this gate.[23] When we go through this gate, we find ourselves in the Father. Not just close to the Father — but IN the Father. That would only be possible through Marriage [i.e., the Mass, Eucharist] of the Bridegroom — the Temple rebuilt in three days (Jn. 2:19-22). The risen Body of Christ.

Is Genesis Merely a Myth?

Before we go any further, we must dispel an exegetical error employing the commonly-used hermeneutics of Genesis. Anyone who tries interpreting Scripture as though it is written using mythopoetic formulation is very likely to misinterpret Genesis. Yet, all too often, exegetes try to apply the meaning of modern-day myth as a basis for interpreting the ancient Hebrew used by Moses (circa 1480 BC) when he wrote Genesis.
Mythopoeia formulation did not even exist until the Hellenistic Greek period (circa 300 BC to 300 AD) — eleven centuries after the writing of Genesis. Using a linguistic style that did not even exist when Genesis was written is not hermeneutically valid. During the Hellenistic period, the meaning of myth began to change to a language of mere story-telling, employing poetic language, having no relation to non-fiction literature. Some have equated mythopoeia as the language of fake/artificial myth. J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is an example of a mythopoetic formulation.[24] So, what does an expert on Hebrew linguistics in Moses’ day have to say about myth?
Bernard F. Batto[25] has his Ph.D. in Linguistics. He is a Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at DePauw University. He specializes in interpreting the Hebrew Bible within its ancient Near Eastern cultural and historical context. He served as the Old Testament book review editor and associate editor for The Catholic Biblical Quarterly. Batto tells us that ancient Hebrew myth in Moses’ time was used to convey paradigmatic shifts in understanding, usually during the time of origins.[26]
The linguistic tool used to describe a paradigmatic shift in understanding during Genesis is called paradigmatic substitution. The differing linguistics between the different periods of history is why it is not accurate to describe the writings of Genesis as metaphors or allegories. The narratives in Genesis are neither. The key to correctly interpreting myth in Ancient Hebrew Old Testament times is this: Genesis is written in mythical language — but not as a metaphorical/allegorical story. If one interprets it as a symbolic story, one will fail to interpret Genesis correctly.

John Paul II on Myth

J. Brian Bransfield explains Pope John Paul II’s understanding of myth this way:
Early in his analysis of the creation accounts, John Paul gives prolonged attention to their style. The accounts are not simply the artifact of an early attempt of religion to monopolize what we think. He acknowledges that the accounts are myth, but not in the rationalist sense of a fable. It is crucial to understand the significance of Genesis as a myth in the traditional sense of myth: a myth is not the same as a fable or fairy tale that tells a story to convey a true notion [emphasis SML]. Henri de Lubac, the French Jesuit scholar, writes, “On the other hand, fabula (tale, fable) (μνθος [myth]), in the singular, does not always indicate that it is a question of a false story, of events that did not happen.”[27] Rather, myth in the classical sense tells a truth about the human person through an event that is so true it cannot fit under a microscope. The rationalist emphasis of the nineteenth century attempted to relegate myth to fantasy. The stories of the past were branded as not true, made up, false — fantastic tales with no truth in them. As a category of human expression, however, myth is deeper.
The Genesis accounts are the classic myth: the accounts are in a sense “more than true” [a paradigmatic shift in understanding]; they convey a truth too dense to fit in a fact.[28] Myth is not about fiction or the unreal, but the more than real. In fact, in light of the truth about man contained in the myth, the modern approach [SML] to the human person and Marriage is unveiled as the fabrication. Rather than read as fantastic, out-of-date stories, the first chapters of Genesis must be understood as prophetic history[29] extending into the “dateless past” of an anteroom of history, “a region beyond memory,” whose reality is nonetheless accessible[30]. The author of the first book of the Bible is expressing a truth about man that has a different consistency from a mere series of factual notes.
John Paul points out that “the rationalism of the nineteenth century” regarded myth as a “product of the imagination or what is irrational.”[31] He then goes on to describe the classical sense of myth as discovering “the structure of reality that is inaccessible to rational and empirical investigation].”[32]
The misinterpretation of myth is one of the reasons man took so long to discover and understand that the creation account of Adam and Eve and the death of Lot’s wife is tied to cutting-edge scientific mysteries involving human biology. The importance of interpreting myth in Old Testament times is the mythical language, not the story. For example, in his collective Wednesday Audiences that form his Theology of the Body, St. JP II dissects the mythic language employed by Moses to arrive at the historicity/truth behind the Genesis account.
In his talk titled “Original Unity of Man and Woman,” he writes:
This profundity has a[n] especially subjective nature and is therefore, in a certain sense, psychological. The second chapter of Genesis constitutes, in a certain manner, the most ancient description and record of man’s self-knowledge. Together with the third chapter it is the first testimony of human conscience. A reflection in depth on this text — through the whole archaic form of the narrative, which manifests its primitive mythical character — provides us in nucleo with nearly all the elements of the analysis of man, to which modern, and especially contemporary philosophical anthropology is sensitive.[33]
He continues:
Following the contemporary philosophy of religion and that of language, it can be said that the language in question is a mythical one. In this case, the term “myth” does not designate a fabulous content, but merely an archaic way of expressing a deeper content [i.e., a paradigmatic shift]. Without any difficulty we discover that content, under the layer of the ancient narrative. It is really marvellous [sic] as regards the qualities and the condensation of the truths contained in it.[34]
In the following example, Eve’s creation from Adam illustrates the hermeneutics of myth. In section 3 of the talk mentioned above, JP II writes:
Corporality and sexuality are not completely identified. In its normal constitution, the human body bears within it the signs of sex and is male or female by its nature. However, the fact that man is a “body” belongs to the structure of the personal subject more deeply than the fact that in his somatic constitution [the entire body and its aggregate parts] he is also male or female. Therefore, the meaning of “original solitude,” which can be referred simply to “man,” is substantially prior to the meaning of original unity. The latter is based on masculinity and femininity, as if on two different “incarnations,” that is, on two ways of “being a body” of the same human being created “in the image of God (Gn 1:27).
Following the Yahwist text, in which the creation of woman was described separately (Gn 2:21-22), we must have before our eyes, at the same time, that “image of God” of the first narrative of creation. In language and in style, the second narrative keeps all the characteristics of the Yahwist text. The way of narrating agrees with the way of thinking and expressing oneself of the period to which the text belongs.
So, God-Yahweh says: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gn 2:18). At the same time the man confirms his own solitude (cf. Gn 2:20). Next we read: “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman” (Gn 2:21-22). Considering the specific language, first it must be recognized that in the Genesis account, that sleep in which the man is immersed — thanks to God-Yahweh — in preparation for the new creative act, gives us food for thought.
Against the background of contemporary mentality, accustomed — through analysis of the subconscious — to connecting sexual contents with the world of dreams, that sleep may bring forth a particular association. However, the Bible narrative seems to go beyond the dimension of man’s subconscious. If we admit, moreover, a significant difference of vocabulary [between the different semantics of the pre- and post-Hellenistic mythical language], we can conclude that the man (‘adam) falls into that ‘sleep’ in order to wake up ‘male’ and ‘female’ [SML]. In Genesis 2:23, we come across the distinction’ is-'issah [male and female – JP II] for the first time.”[35]
Restated, the very purpose for which man (Adam) sleeps is so that when he wakes up, he’s two — Adam and Eve. In other words, the mythical language used to explain the creation of our first parents shows us the historicity and truth of Genesis.
I find the words that JP II used to be very interesting. For example, when Moses asked God what he should tell people is his name, he responded with I AM THAT I AM (Ex. 3:14). The Hebrew word for the adverb/conjunctive is ‘Ash-er.’ So, God is telling Moses what is the Trinity’s name. Is it any wonder he chooses a word that is a primitive relative pronoun? So, what God is telling Moses is this: His name is I AM (the Father) so that or in order that (both are conjunctive) I AM (the Son), in the undivided Unity of the One Holy Spirit (the third I Am in that passage).
I don’t know that it was intentional for him to choose those particular words to describe the event. I wonder because Eve’s creation from Adam’s rib while still in Eden is the only event in human history about which those words would fit, both as a spiritual and biological process. Adam was made so that Eve could be made from his flesh (a nuptial one-flesh within a Covenant of Salt — though not yet consummated) in the Unity of the Holy Spirit.
Of course, that would depend upon whether or not the Genesis account of their creation is virtually and simultaneously both literalistically and literally correct. In many of my articles, I have shown that it is, in fact, accurate to say so. For example, in Part Two of “Mitochondrial Eve, Should Christians be Worried,” science supports the interpretation that Eve was indeed made from Adam’s rib, as described in Genesis.

Paradigmatic Shift

A modern-day example of mythical (paradigmatic shift) language as it would have occurred in Moses’ time is this: When trying to identify the very beginning of the creation of the universe (entailing a paradigmatic shift in our understanding), it was given the description — The Big Bang. This wording is a beautiful example of using mythical language to describe the paradigmatic shift in our understanding of a scientific truth (or so we believe). This wording employs paradigmatic substitution to convey the larger scientific truth that most people could not understand in any significant detail.
To sum up, let’s read what Mark Shea, President of Ignatius Press, had to say. He wrote, “How can Genesis use figurative language [all emphasis SML], but still affirm a primeval event? It can do it because mythic language is precisely the best way to affirm such an event, [to describe] an upheaval [i.e., a paradigmatic shift] … mythic language is truer language than newspaper language, because it brings us to the heart of what happened.”[36]

How God Made the World

St. John wrote:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it (Jn. 1-5).
Let’s unpack these verses. John is talking about creation. How do we know? The Word/Son of God does not have a beginning, but creation does. However, as we shall see, creation results from the Word being sent (i.e., expressed by the Father). God the Son (the Word) is sent into creation. All of creation is meant to teach us about God.
Let’s use the metaphor of a book to help us understand this concept of creation. A great man writes an autobiographical book. He decides to use a ghostwriter. The ghostwriter creates the words to put on the book’s pages, but they perfectly reflect the subject Author’s thoughts. God the Father, the one for whom the ghostwriter writes, is the pseudo-author of the book. In our example, the Son is the ghostwriter, i.e., the Word. He knows all the words needed to convey the knowledge of the subject Author precisely. Each word written in the book, i.e., creation, contributes to a fuller knowledge of the Author. After all, it is an autobiography. The Holy Spirit is the book critic. The Spirit penetrates, fully understands, and fully comprehends every word of the book. The Spirit so loves what he reads that he writes a rave review that enflames its readers’ hearts. As a result, the Spirit convinces everybody that the book is a must-read.
As St. Augustine tells us, we cannot love what we do not know.[37][38] God wants us to know him. By knowing Him, we become one with Him — just as the Son is One with the Father in the Holy Spirit. For man, that oneness can only occur through a perfect Covenant of Salt. What is the Garden of Eden? It is the perfect Covenant of Salt between man and God — the Word.
God informed St. Hildegard thus:
All the works made by God radiate the brightest light. Listen, O man. Before the world came to be, God spoke in divine inwardness the Word: “O my Son!” And the world came to be because it picked up the sound that went forth from God. The various kinds of creatures still lay hidden in darkness. As it is written, when God said: “Let it be!” the various types of creatures came forth [SML]. So it was through the Word of the Father and for the sake of the Word that all creatures were fashioned through God’s will. God sees and knows everything beforehand. But evil, on the other hand, through itself can neither by its rising or falling do anything or create anything or cause anything — for it is nothing. Evil should be valued only as the deceptive product of wishes and rebellious fantasies.[39]
In Hebrews 1:1-4 we are told:
In times past, God spoke in fragmentary and varied ways to our fathers through the prophets; in this, the final age, he has spoken to us through his Son, whom he has made heir of all things and through whom he first created the universe. This Son is the reflection of the Father’s glory, the exact representation of the Father’s being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.[40]
The Father is unchangeable Truth; the Son is the perfect representation of that Truth, which includes his Incarnation — because the Father said, “Let it be.” All creation is a macrocosm of Jesus’ Incarnation, and his Incarnation is the microcosm of said universe.[41] When man glorifies God, all creation glorifies God. When man fell, all of creation fell.[42] The works of man are manifested through the body and in the language of the body, which is both sense-able and meta-sense-able.
This blog series aims to show that the Garden of Eden is where the Son of God dwells within creation. It began at the first instant the Father spoke. He dwelt in his Divinity and His Humanity, including his spiritualized body. He received this body the moment the Father spoke, saying, “Let it be.” However, Jesus’ mortal body would only come into existence within a temporal bubble, commencing with his conception by the Holy Spirit using Mary’s DNA approximately three months after St. John’s conception in the womb of Elizabeth.
There are two avenues through which this goal can be achieved and understood. First, by acquiring a deeper understanding of the meaning of Jesus’ being the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15). The second is through a deeper understanding of the Last Supper and Jesus’ Ascension. I believe either one (or both) is correct.
According to editors Barry and Van Noord:
Looking up “firstborn” in the Table of English words in TDNTA directs us to the article on page 965. In Logos Bible Software …[it] states that prototokos is rare in Greek literature; in its place authors often used the synonym protogonos meaning “first in rank.” … In Colossians 1:15 Paul states that Jesus is the “firstborn of all creation.” Paul may be referring to Jesus being the “first” eternal, divine being made flesh and born into the created order. Paul may also be referring to Jesus’ rank as head of creation. Jesus is the preeminent one who entered into the created world (Heb 1:6). …
In Logos Bible Software, I simply double-click on prototokos in the reverse-interlinear and am directed to the appropriate entry in my preferred Greek lexicon, which is A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (BDAG). Both resources tell us that prototokos refers to birth order [emphasis SML] — in the first century, this signifies rank, or status.[43]
Paul is not using firstborn as an either/or interpretation in Colossians. It is a both/and. A person just born has already existed (typically for nine months in the womb) but is sent out into the world at birth. Both of the Son of God’s two natures (his Humanity and Divinity) are united in one Person and entered into (was sent into) creation at the Father’s fiat (Gen. 1:3, 6; Ps. 33:9) in the eternal now. We know that all of creation was made through the Son of God. Jesus is the prototokos of all creation. He was the firstborn in both rank and chronology.
Blessed Maria of Agreda tells us that “Adam in regard to the body was so like unto Christ that scarcely any difference existed. According to the [human spiritual] soul, Adam was similar to Christ.”[44] How could either of these be true if Christ did not have a body and spiritual soul — glorious but not yet mortal? Not yet subject to time and mortality.
St. Hildegard spoke of creation thus:
Everything God has done was done by the Deity before the beginning of time in the divine present [including the humanity of the Son of God]. In the pure and holy Godhead all visible and invisible things shine before all eternity without a temporal moment and without the elapse of time. … When God said, “Let it be done!” things were enclosed at once within their forms[45] [including the glorified body of the Son of God, as is further elaborated elsewhere], just as the divine providence had seen them in an incorporeal way before time was. Just as everything in front of a mirror shines within that mirror, all the works of the holy Godhead shine within it in a timeless way. For how should God exist without having prior knowledge of the divine works? And each divine work, once it has been enclosed within its body [of which the spiritual soul is the substantial form], is complete in the function that is appropriate for it. For the holy Godhead knew in advance how it would assist that work, serving it with knowledge and comprehension.[46] [This is why there is no Plan “B” necessary to God. If Plan B was needed, then God would not be God]
Norman Geisler says, “The word ‘form’ (morphē; trans. ‘nature’ in Phil. 2:6-7), eikōn means the very substance or essential embodiment of something or someone.”[47] Rational Man’s substance is a composite of both body and spiritual soul. If either composite was missing when God said, “Let it be,” then the very substance of Jesus as True God and True man would have been incomplete, lacking, from the very foundations of the world.

The Eternal NOW

 

Eternity, Aeviternity, & Time

Without understanding eternity to a certain degree, we cannot understand the fuller implications of the face of God. So, let us explore that understanding. Aquinas provides us with a good definition of eternity. He writes:
As we attain to the knowledge of simple things [e.g., forms] by way of compound things [e.g., prime substances], so we must reach to the knowledge of eternity by means of time, which is nothing but the numbering of movement by before and after. For since succession occurs in every movement, and one part comes after another, the fact that we reckon before and after in movement, makes us apprehend time, which is nothing else but the measure of before and after in movement. Now in a thing bereft of movement, which is always the same, there is no before and after. As therefore the idea of time consists in the numbering of before and after in movement; so likewise in the apprehension of the uniformity of what is outside of movement, consists the idea of eternity.
Further, those things are said to be measured by time which have a beginning and an end in time, because in everything which is moved there is a beginning, and there is an end. But as whatever is wholly immutable can have no succession, so it has no beginning, and no end.
Thus eternity is known from two sources: first, because what is eternal is interminable—that is, has no beginning nor end (that is, no term either way); secondly, because eternity has no succession, being simultaneously whole.[48]
Through Aquinas’ explanation, we can better understand the phrase, the eternal now of God. Aquinas goes on to say:
The now that stands still, is said to make eternity according to our [very limited —SML] apprehension. As the apprehension of time is caused in us by the fact that we apprehend the flow of the now; so the apprehension of eternity is caused in us by our apprehending the now standing still. … His eternity includes all times; not as if He Himself were altered through present, past, and future.[49]
In an endnote in the sourcebook which cites the above quote, Peter Kreeft adds further explanation. He writes, “We think of eternity as negative, as excluding time (for “eternal” means, after all, “not-temporal”); but in objective fact, God’s eternity is positive and includes all times, for it can lack nothing actual, positive, and perfect that time contains. A remote parallel: the mind of an author contains, at once, all his characters and the events of his plot.”[49-A]
All of the above quotes are very important for understanding the goal of this blog post.

Whether Eternity Differs from Time?

According to Kreeft:
Eternity is simultaneously whole. But time has a before and an after. Therefore, time and eternity are not the same thing. … It is manifest that time and eternity are not the same. Some have founded this difference on the fact that eternity has neither beginning nor an end; whereas time has a beginning and an end. This, however, makes a merely accidental, and not an absolute difference; because, granted that time always was and always will be, according to the idea of those who think the movement of the heavens goes on forever, there would yet remain a difference between eternity and time, as Boëthius says (De Consol. v), arising from the fact that eternity is simultaneously whole.[50]
St. Hildegard spoke of creation thus:
When God said, “Let it be done!” things were enclosed at once within their forms [including the glorified body of the Son of God] [Note: at the instant of creation, i.e., the Big Bang, time commenced]. … Just as everything in front of a mirror shines within that mirror, all the works of the holy Godhead shine within it in a timeless way. For how should God exist without having prior knowledge of the divine works [creation]? And each divine work, once it has been enclosed within its body, is complete in the function that is appropriate for it. For the holy Godhead knew in advance how it would assist that work, serving it with knowledge and comprehension.[51]

The Difference between Aeviternity and Time

Aquinas writes:
Aeviternity differs from time, and from eternity, as the mean between them both. This difference is explained by some to consist in the fact that eternity has neither beginning nor end, aeviternity, a beginning but no end, and time both beginning and end. This difference, however, is but an accidental one.… This [aeviternity] appears in the heavenly bodies, the substantial being of which is unchangeable; and yet with unchangeable being they have changeableness of place. The same applies to the angels, who have an unchangeable being as regards their nature with changeableness as regards choice; moreover they have changeableness of intelligence, of affections, and of places, in their own degree. Therefore these are measured by aeviternity, which is a mean between eternity and time. But the being that is measured by eternity is not changeable, nor is it annexed to change. In this way time has before and after; aeviternity in itself has no before and after, which can, however, be annexed to it; while eternity has neither before nor after, nor is it compatible with such at all.…
Reply Obj. 2. Aeviternity is simultaneously whole; yet it is not eternity, because before and after are compatible with it.[52]

Is the Church in Eternity

Since God consistently equates the Church (i.e., the Mystical Body of Christ) with the “garden” in His conversations with St. Hildegard, it would seem that the Church is eternal. Let’s explore that further.

The Mystical Body of Christ United to His Divine Eternal Nature

How do we reconcile our understanding of the difference between the Church and the Temple? What is the relationship between the two? St. Paul provides us with some of the answers in Ephesians 5:22-33. He writes, “For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church;” (Eph. 5:29-32).
Becoming a member of the Mystical Body of Christ (MBC) results from the Sacrament of Baptism. The Sacrament is not Marriage but a preparation for it. According to Dr. Rickard (Ari) Levitt-Sawyer, “The act of water baptism, I believe, is very closely related to the ancient Jewish practice of betrothal.”[53] The actual Marriage of the Bridegroom (Jesus, who is the rebuilt New Covenant of Stone — i.e., DNA — Temple) and the Bride (the Church) occurs at Mass when we become one-flesh with Jesus in the Eucharist — on the Wood of the Cross.
Paul describes the temple as growing. He writes, “Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it [SML] for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:20-22). Peter tells us, “Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pt. 2:4-5).
In an Encyclical detailing the MBC, Pope Pius XII identifies the building of a new church in Rome as a temple. He writes, “It tells of those living stones which rest upon the living cornerstone, which is Christ, and are built together into a holy temple, far surpassing any temple built by hands, into a habitation of God in the Spirit.”[54] He makes the same comparison when he writes, “For the Divine Redeemer began the building of the mystical temple of the Church when by His preaching He made known His Precepts; He completed it when he hung glorified on the Cross; and He manifested and proclaimed it when He sent the Holy [Spirit] as Paraclete in visible form on His disciples.”[55]
Is the Church Eternal Such That It Is the Garden within Eden?
We are finite beings trying to understand a Triune God who is infinite, the Eternal Now. No created rational being can even come close to fully understanding the Trinity. With all their knowledge, even the angels cannot fully understand the Trinity — and never will.[56]
However, the writings of those before us can help us glimpse this Truth’s reality. Glimpse what God is capable of doing. Glimpse His power. Let’s examine what others have to say. Blessed Archbishop Fulton Sheen makes many excellent points pertinent to this topic in his book, The Mystical Body of Christ.
Here are five of them:
— Sheen affirms that Jesus can never be separated from his Mystical Body any more than his divinity can be separated from his humanity. The Mystical Body of Christ is Christ’s Incarnation prolonged through space and time. Sheen explains that the Church “continues Christ, expresses Christ, develops all the virtualities, potentialities of Christ makes it possible for Him to extend Himself [His humanity and Divinity] beyond the space of Palestine and the space of thirty-three years to prolong his influence unto all times and to all men — in a word, it de-temporalizes and de-localizes Christ so that He belongs to all ages and all souls [including with Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden].”[57] There will never be a time when the Son of God says to his humanity: “Jesus, you must wait here in the year of your death, because I must go back in time to visit Adam, or Abraham, or Noah.”
— “Christ’s coming into flesh is not merely the reparation of the sinful human condition, but also the elevation and transformation of humanity into God: Deus fit homo ut homo fieret Deus (God became human that humans might become God).”[58][59]
— “Now in Christ there is the perfect nature of God, and the perfect nature of man. But though there are two natures, there are not two persons [emphasis SML] in Him, but only One, which is the Person of [the Son of] God, the Eternal Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Christ’s is a human individual nature without a human personality; in Him the Divine Personality of the Word performs the functions of the human personality, and it does infinitely more, as behoves a Divine Personality. His human nature is as entire and intact as any human nature; He is as perfectly human as any of us, being man in the truest sense of the term. And although the human nature in Christ is something new (for He assumed it in hypostatic union only at the Incarnation), nevertheless the personality of that human nature is not new, but eternal. Such was the meaning of our Lord when answering the Jews concerning the death of Abraham and His comparative age: ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made I am’ (Jn 8:58).”[60]
— “Why should His human nature acquire such power even though it be a perfect human nature? The reason is because of its union with the Person of God. There is an old Latin axiom, which sounds abstract, but which is very easily verifiable in the language of every-day: Actiones sunt suppositorum. Actions belong to the person—not to the nature. Each of the actions of His human nature is to be attributed to His Person. But His Person is the Person of God — therefore, each and every action of His human nature had an infinite value because it was done by the Person of God.”[61]
— “The Headship of Christ over the Church means not only the Church on earth, but also the Church in its entirety, including angels and men, even those who lived at the beginning of the world. To say that Christ is the Head of all men regardless of time and space does not, however, mean they are all related to Him in the same way. St. Thomas explains the matter thus: This is the difference between the natural body of man and the Church’s mystical body, that the members of the natural body are all together, and the members of the mystical are not all together; — neither as regards their natural being, since the body of the Church is made up of the men who have been from the beginning of the world until its end.”[62]
Characterizing the writings of theologian Henri de Lubac, Dr. Larry Chapp writes:
De Lubac’s discussion of the Church as paradox and mystery is rooted in the fact the Church is the Body and Bride of Christ, and the eschatological in-breaking of the Kingdom. Thus, her “mystery” is nothing other than the mystery of the Incarnation as such, the grand and shocking truth that God has become a man and dwelt among us. The Infinite has become the finite while remaining Infinite [Due to the Hypostatic Union, his Divine nature can never be separated from his human nature SML]. The world is more itself precisely as world the more eccentric to itself it becomes and the more concentric to Christ it is. This points to the grand paradox of nature and grace, where the natural end of creation is completion in Christ, even as that natural end cannot be achieved by nature as such, requiring, as Aquinas says, assistance from a “friend” to reach its goal, and in this case that friend is God.[63]
Even ancient rabbis predicted the eternal nature of the Eucharist — the eternal Covenant of Salt. Dr. Scott Hahn writes:
Perhaps the most striking liturgical “ancestor” of the Mass is the todah of ancient Israel. The Hebrew word todah, like the Greek [word] Eucharist, means thank offering or thanksgiving. The word denotes a sacrificial meal shared with friends in order to celebrate one’s gratitude to God. A todah begins by recalling some mortal threat and then celebrates man’s divine deliverance from that threat. … The similarities between todah and Eucharist go beyond their common meaning of thanksgiving. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has written: “Structurally speaking, the whole of Christology, indeed the whole of Eucharistic Christology, is present in the todah spirituality of the Old Testament.” Both the todah and the Eucharist present their worship through word and meal. Moreover, the todah, like the Mass, includes an unbloody offering of unleavened bread and wine. The ancient rabbis made a significant prediction regarding the todah. “In the coming [Messianic] age, all sacrifices will cease except the todah sacrifice. This will never cease in all eternity [emphasis SML]” (Pesiqta, I, p. 159).[64]
The Garden of Eden existed within eternity. Thus, the todah sacrifice would have been offered to God prior to the fall — in Eden.
In the Garden of Eden, was Adam a priest? The answer is, yes![65] What is the job of a priest? To offer gifts and sacrifices to God (cf. Heb. 8:3). This is clear from the fact that the first sons of fallen Adam and Eve were required to make sacrificial offerings to God. Abel’s offering was pleasing and acceptable to God, but Cain’s was not. So, if priestly offerings were expected from the male offspring of our First Parents, how much more would it have been expected from man (Adam) in possession of, arguably, the greatest gift possible, i.e., supernatural grace?
As it turns out, there is evidence that Adam did participate in liturgical worship. Not only did he participate individually, but he also participated with the angels in that worship. The Testament of Adam, now consisting of merely a few fragments, is of great interest. The liturgical fragments which have to do with the division of the hours of the day and night. Fragment One discussed the worship occurring during the night hours. Passages may be found in the Apostolical Constitutions of the Copts, which seem to bear some relation to the ideas contained in the liturgical fragments.[66]
Following are three quotes from that fragment:
1). “Fifth hour: Adoration of the waters that are above the heavens. At this hour, O my son Seth, we heard, I and the angels [emphasis SML], the noise of the great waves, lifting their voice to give glory to God, because of the hidden sign of God which moves them.”[67]
2). “Seventh hour: Rest of the powers, and of all natures, while the waters sleep; and at this hour, if one shall take water, let the priest of God mix holy oil therewith, and sign with this oil those who suffer, and do not sleep; they shall be healed.”[68]
3). “Tenth hour: Adoration of men. The gate of heaven opens that the prayer of all that lives may enter in; they prostrate themselves, and then withdraw. At this hour all that man asks of God is granted him, when the Seraphim beat their wings or the cock crows.”[69]
Considering the topic of this series, it is vital to note the alleged wording Adam used, i.e., “the gate of heaven opens.” To understand the deeper meaning of that phrase, we can look at what Scripture tells us about Jacob’s journey to find a wife. We are told that when he awoke, he set up the stone upon which he slept as a pillar and anointed it with oil, and called the place Bethel (Gen. 28:28-29). Bethel is the Hebrew word for “house of God,”[70] i.e., the Temple (Eden). The stone pillar Jacob calls the house of God foreshadows the incarnate (cornerstone) Jesus,[71] the Anointed One [recall that Jacob poured oil on the stone pillar], whose resurrected body will be the eternal Temple that will replace Herod’s Temple.[72] This rebuilt Temple will become the dwelling place of God on earth (cf. Col. 1:18-20); the Temple that we, who are living stones, must be built into (Eph. 2:20-22; 1 Pt. 2:4-5).
When Jacob awoke from his dream, he said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Gen. 28:17). What is meant by the phrase gate of heaven? According to Hildegard, it is the heavenly Jerusalem — Eden and the Garden before the fall — the New Covenant stone Temple of the Living God.[73] The stone pillar is an appropriate symbol of the meta-sense-able reality of a certain place because Jesus is unchangeable Truth. Catherine of Siena specifically links the gate of truth with Truth incarnate (the embodied, incarnate Son of God). She tells us the Father is one with this gate.[74] When we go through this gate, we find ourselves in the Father. Not just close to the Father — but IN the Father.
Where are all priestly offerings to God made? Answer: The Temple. Where does God dwell? Answer: The Temple. Through God’s revelations to the Israelites, they understood creation to be a macro-temple. Based on what we have discussed, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Garden of Eden is that Temple. What is the only thing in that temple that gives life? The fruit from the Tree of Life in the center of the Garden.
According to Brian Pizzalato:
The tree of life was located in both the [G]arden [of Eden] and the Jerusalem temple. The tree of life was extremely significant in the garden, as we know.[75] As well, the menorah, a seven branched candelabrum, was considered a stylized tree of life, which is made clear in the description of it given in Exodus 25:31-40.
Every temple, however, needs a sanctuary, and every sanctuary needs a high priest to minister in it, and every high priest is “appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices.” That sanctuary is none other than the garden of Eden. The garden of Eden was not viewed as simply a piece of farmland but as an archetypal sanctuary. Many of the aspects of the garden can be found in later sanctuaries, such as the Tabernacle and the Jerusalem temple.
We can see a parallel with what is said in Genesis 3:8, about God walking in the garden. The word hithallek that is used for this action of God is also used in 2 Samuel 7:6-7 describing God’s presence, which abided in the Tabernacle in the days of the exodus. A second parallel can be drawn with the mention of the cherubim being stationed east of the garden to guard it (cf. Genesis 3:24). The east was the entrance to the garden, comparatively, so the Tabernacle and the Jerusalem temple were entered from the east. As well, cherubim were on the top of the Tabernacle, forming the throne of God in the inner sanctuary (cf. Exodus 25:18-22). Further, two cherubim guarded the inner sanctuary of the temple (cf. 1 Kings 6:23-28).
This brings us to Adam and his duty to till (‘abad) and keep (shamar) the garden. These words are better translated, “to serve” and “to guard.” These two Hebrew words are only used together elsewhere in Scripture to describe the duties of the Levites. In Numbers 3:7-8 and Numbers 8:26 the Lord gives the Levites the authority to minister in the Tabernacle.[76]
As we progress through our intellectual journey, it should become increasingly clear that Eden is the Temple, the Garden is the Church, the Tree of Life is the Tabernacle, and the fruit of the Tree of Life is the Eucharist. Pre-fallen Man in the Garden did not need Redemption. So, Jesus didn’t need to become mortal and die on the Tree of the Cross to receive the fruit of that Tree, the Eucharist. Remember, Jesus can use any organic material he wishes as a sacramental veil for his Real Presence — including an apple.
Now that the stage has been set (i.e., an explanation of the deeper meaning of tree, eternity, and the Garden of Eden), we will dive into a description of the importance of the firstborn of all creation.

The Word is the First Born of all Creation

Re-quoting what was written earlier, Hildegard writes:
Everything God has done was done by the Deity before the beginning of time in the divine present. In the pure and holy Godhead all visible and invisible things shine before all eternity without a temporal moment and without the elapse of time, just as trees and other bodily things are reflected in adjacent waters without being within them in a bodily fashion, even though their outlines may appear in this mirror. When God said, “Let it be done!” things were enclosed at once within their forms [SML], just as the divine providence had seen them in an incorporeal way before time was.[77]
These words tell us a great deal about Jesus Christ as the First-Born of all creation (Col. 1:15). So, when God spoke the words, “let it be done,” the Word of God took on a spiritualized glorified (not mortal) human body and spiritual soul, through which all creation was instantly enclosed within its various forms. That is what the phrase substantial form means. We know this is true by the second half of the sentence, which states, “had seen them in an incorporeal way before time was.” This wording implies that at the Divine fiat, after the Big Bang, Jesus did have a corporeal body.
If Christ’s substantial form did not include his corporeal body (glorious, but not mortal), then, at the Divine fiat, the substantial form of his human nature would have been incomplete and, thus, substantially imperfect.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Man is one in essence. In the Scholastic synthesis, it is a manifest illogism to hypostasize the abstract conceptions that are necessary for the intelligent apprehension of complete phenomena. A similar confusion of expression may be noticed in the statement that man is a “compound of body and soul.” This is misleading. Man is not a body plus a soul — which would make of him two individuals; but a body that is what it is (namely, a human body) by reason of its union with the [spiritual] soul. As a special application of the general doctrine of matter and form which is as well a theory of science as of intrinsic causality, the “soul” is envisaged as the substantial form of the matter which, so informed, is a human body.[78]
Let’s look at a couple of Scripture passages that indicate the glorified human body of Jesus existed at the very instant of the Divine fiat. In contrast, that same body entered into mortality in such a way as to become sin (2 Cor. 5:21) when the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary.
[A.] Revelations 13:8 (KJV) reveals the future crucifixion within the timelessness of eternity. The Greek word for “is” is eimi, which is in the present tense. St. John writes, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the Beast], [those] whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world [emphasis SML].”
[B.] Revelations 5:6 (KJV) reveals the past crucifixion within the timelessness of eternity. John writes, “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.”[79]
From the Liturgy of the Hours for Good Friday, Morning Prayer, Intercessions, we read: “Christ our Savior, on the cross you embraced all time with your outstretched arms.”
John F. Walvoord tells us:
In addressing the church [in Laodicea], Christ introduced Himself as the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Ruler of God’s creation. The word “Amen,” meaning “so be it,” refers to the sovereignty of God, which is behind human events (cf. 2 Cor. 1:20; Rev. 1:6). In speaking of Himself as “the faithful and true Witness,” Christ was repeating what He had said earlier (1:5; 3:7). As “the Ruler of God’s creation” Christ existed before God’s Creation and is sovereign over it (cf. Col 1:15, 18; Rev. 21:6). This description was in preparation for the stern word of rebuke which Christ would give the church in Laodicea.[80]
Below, we will quote Hildegard of Bingen’s book, Homilies on the Gospels, which Beverly Mayne Kienzle translated. In literature, a gloss is an interpretive aid. A gloss can be a single word, a phrase, or a single Volume within a multi-volume series. A gloss can be seen as a subsidiary to the main text, a crucial adjunct, or a sign of the abundance of interpretive possibility.
In the following quoted words of St. Hildegard, the interpreter Beverly Mayne Kienzle (and SML) have employed the following formatting protocols for Hildegard’s use of glosses and my comments. When Hildegard quotes Scripture, Kienzle italicizes the words in the passages. When Hildegard inserts glosses within those words, the words are not italicized. Anything within brackets, whether italicized or not, are my words. Here is an example:
In the beginning was the Word, these are Hildegard’s words, and the Word was with God [these are my words], and the Word was God.
[From Homily 9 on John 1:1-14, St. Hildegard of Bingen continues:]
In the beginning was the Word. Clearly, at the origin of the world, there was Rationality, which is the Son.[81] Although the Word is the beginning of all creatures, nonetheless, the Word is not called the beginning,[82] yet the same Word sounded the beginning, which is Fiat [Gen. 1:3, 6; Ps. 33:9]. And the Word, that is, Rationality, which is the Son, was with God, because God is Rationality.[83] God was neither made nor created, but has always existed. Rationality, however, created all things; and the Word was God, because God is truly rational. But in the human and the angel, rationality has a starting point, while in God it lacks a starting point. In the beginning the Word was with God. Evidently Rationality was at the origin of the world, which is Fiat [Gen. 1:3, 6; Ps. 33:9], in such a way that Rationality and God are one and not divided.[84][85]
What was made in him, that is, in the Word, namely, in Rationality, clearly, in the Son of God, who was incarnate as a human, was life [emphasis SML], because the Son of God was human [so, for there to be rational life during the creation of the first man, Christ had to be human — but not necessarily mortal — so that he could breathe life into his nostrils (cf. Jn. 20:22) — SML], of such a kind that nothing either touched him or entered him [which is a necessary quality of a glorified body], as it did in the angel and the human. Nonetheless, what was made may be understood in a different way, that all things that were made have life in God.***[86]
And the life, which is the Incarnation of God’s son, was the light of humans, because he shone for them, and the darkness never entered him. And the light shines in the darkness, when the human fell. This light does not shine in nothingness, namely in that which is nothing, because the devil is not redeemed but shines in the fallen human. And the darkness has not comprehended it; in other words, the human fell and did not comprehend the Incarnation. The Lord’s Incarnation was pure, since Christ was born without the original sin through which humans draw Adam’s guilt.[87]
*** Beverly Mayne Kienzle comments in a footnote: For John 1:4: “what was made in him,” Hildegard explains first that “what was made” in ipso was made by Rationality, by the Son of God incarnated. That “was life” (uita erat), because the Son of God was human. Hildegard also asserts that nihil neither touched nor entered Christ, as it did the angel and humankind, a comment that relates back to nihil as the contradiction or disobedience of sin. She then introduces another meaning of the phrase with wording similar to her comment on the preceding verse. In her commentary on the Athanasian Creed, Hildegard includes both interpretations of John 1:4: that nihil could not pertain to God, and that all things have life in God, but she does not overtly differentiate the two as in the Expositiones. Expl. Symb. 118, ll. 250–60; Expl. Atha. 43. Augustine distinguished two readings of v. 4, the first punctuated after est: Quod factum est, …, and the second after illo: Quod factum est in illo. He rejected the second way of reading, stating that stones, for example, are made but are not life, as the Manicheans assert. Hildegard defines life in terms reminiscent of Augustine’s definition of life as wisdom and reason (sapientia and ratio). See In Iohannis euangelium I, 16, pp. 9–10, ll. 9–25; p. 19, ll. 241–45.
Let’s recap Hildegard’s words and explain their significance. Hildegard writes, “the Word is not called the beginning, yet the same Word sounded the beginning, which is Fiat [i.e., Let it Be: Gen. 1:3, 6; Ps. 33:9].” She tells us that the first instant of “Word” refers to the Son of God in the Trinitarian Dialogue. The second instance of the “Word” is when Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, is sent to dwell in creation. A creation formed in perfect order; created when the Father speaks the words, “Let It Be.”
Hildegard equates Rationality with the Son of God, but it distinguishes between the Son before creation and the Son after the Father’s Fiat through which the Son receives a spiritual soul, in the Spirit. In other words, she equates Rationality with the Incarnation of the Word, through whom the light of the Holy Spirit is given to created man through Christ’s Breath, breathed out to man. The Incarnation spoken of is not of the mortal body of Christ, but of the glorious body which has not yet entered into the earthly time of his mortality.
It is Catholic Doctrine that all grace comes to man through the dwelling of the Holy Spirit (the Breath) within the human spiritual soul of the Incarnate Christ. After all, creation is an expression of the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the glory of God.[88] Since this is so, is that glory evident in our parents still in the state of Original Justice? Let’s see what the mystics say about that in Part Two of this blog series.
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ENDNOTES:

[1]. Right Reverend James Bellord D.D., Meditations on Christian Dogma, Volume I, 3rd Edition, (Callan: Convent of Mercy, 1906), pp. 18-19.
[2]. Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Heaven,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 940.
[3]. In the Canon of Scripture, there has always been only one place at any given time where God dwelt in a particular way within creation. Arguably, the first place was the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. The second place would be Mt. Horeb (the mountain of God) (Ex. 3:1). The third place was the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 25:10). The fourth place was the Temple built by Solomon to house the Ark (but was rebuilt two times; once by Zorobabel and again by Herod). The ‘stone’ Temple of Jesus’ glorified body would be the fifth and final one, destined to exist for all eternity. https://www.stossbooks.com/temple,-old-covenant.html#Temple-OC.
[4]. Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Heaven,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 940.
[5]. Ibid.
[6]. Geisler, N. L. (2003). Systematic Theology, Volume Two: God, creation (p. 170). Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers.
[7]. cf. Daniel Isaac Block, The Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 25–48, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997–), 698.
[8]. cf. B. Grigsby, “Gematria and John 21—Another Look at Ezekiel 47,” ExpTim 95 (1984) 177–78.
[9]. Daniel Isaac Block, The Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 25–48, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997–), 696.
[10]. Ibid., 698.
Cited by Block: T. Suk. 3:3ff.; Pirqe de Rabbi Eliezer 51; Yalqut Šimʿoni on Ezekiel no. 383 (47). See Levey, Ezekiel, p. 127 n. 2.
[10-A] Daniel Isaac Block, The Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 25–48, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997–), 696.
[10-B] Daniel Isaac Block, The Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 25–48, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997–), 696.
[11]. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations, as recorded in the Journals of Clemens Brentano, arranged and edited by Carl E Schmoger CSSR, Vol 1 of 4, pp. 6-8.
[12]. Gordon J. Wenham, “Genesis,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 62.
[13]. D. A. Neal & John Anthony Dunne, “Eden, Garden of,” in The Lexham Bible Dictionary, ed. John D. Barry et al. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
[14]. Michael S. Heiser, “Divine Council,” in The Lexham Bible Dictionary, ed. John D. Barry et al. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
[15]. Gordon J. Wenham, “Genesis,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 62.
[16]. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue of the Seraphic Virgin Catherine of Siena, trans. Algar Thorold (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1896), 69, 283, 297, 310.
[17]. World Net Daily Staff, “Revealed: The astonishing reason the Bible keeps mentioning ‘trees’ Scripture shows they ‘can think, speak, and take action, be it good or evil,’” World Net Daily, March 6, 2022 (accessed 06/20/2022).
[18]. Hildegard of Bingen, Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias, ed. Bernard McGinn, trans. Columba Hart and Jane Bishop, The Classics of Western Spirituality (New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1990), 123.
[19]. Hildegard of Bingen, Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias, 124.
[20]. Hildegard of Bingen, Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias, 253-254.
[21]. Scott Hahn, ed., Catholic Bible Dictionary (New York; London; Toronto; Sydney; Auckland: Doubleday, 2009), 923.
[22]. St. Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, 380.
[23]. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 67.
[24]. Wikipedia contributors, “Mythopoeia,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mythopoeia&oldid=1119387421 (accessed November 16, 2022).
[26]. Bernard F. Batto, “Myth in the Hebrew Bible”. In obo in Biblical Studies, https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195393361/obo-9780195393361-0125.xml, February 24, 2021 (accessed 10 Aug. 2021).
[27] Henri de Lubac, History and Spirit: The Understanding of Scripture According to Origen (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007), 134.
[28]. John Paul II, Man and Woman He Created Them, 138, no. 4, cf. p. 157.
[29]. Simon Tugwell, The Beatitudes: Soundings in the Christian Tradition (Springfield, IL: Templegate, 1980), 49.
[30]. Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space: The Classic Look at How We Experience Intimate Places (Boston: Beacon, 1994), 57, 143.
[31]. John Paul II, Man and Woman He Created Them, 138, no. 4.
[32]. J. Brian Bransfield, The Human Person: According to John Paul II (Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media, 2010), 54–55.
[33]. Pope Saint John Paul II, “Original Unity of Man and Woman,” The Redemption of the Body and Sacramentality of Marriage (Theology of the Body), This electronic format prepared as a courtesy by The Catholic Primer Electronic Edition © Copyright 2006 – The Catholic Primer, p. 11.
[34]. Ibid., p. 22.
[35]. Ibid.
[36]. Mark Shea, “Does Evolutionary Science Disprove the Faith?” https://www.ncregister.com/blog/does-evolutionary-science-disprove-the-faith, September 14, 2011.
[37]. St. Aurelius Augustin of Hippo, On the Trinity, Book 8, Chapter 5, Section 8.
[38]. Francis Selman, Aquinas 101: A Basic Introduction to the Thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas, (Notre Dame: Christian Classics, Ave Maria Press, 2007), p. 63.
[39]. Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard of Bingen's Book of Divine Works: With Letters and Songs (Kindle Locations 4268-4275). Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. Kindle Edition.
[40]. Quoted from Divine Office, Morning Prayer for Dec. 25, 2021.
[41]. Hildegard of Bingen, Hildegard of Bingen's Book of Divine Works: With Letters and Songs, (Kindle Locations 242-243), Inner Traditions/Bear & Company, Kindle Edition.
[42]. St. Hildegard of Bingen, quoted in an unpublished translation of Helmut Posch, Das wahre Weltbild nach Hildegard von Bingen (The Creation of the World According to Hildegard of Bingen) Deutsche Bibliothek (CIP – Einheitsaufnahme, Aufl. – A-4880 St. Georgen, 1998), translated by Gina O’Brien for the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation (Mt. Jackson, VA: 2009), p. 40/55.
[43]. John D. Barry and Rebecca Van Noord, eds., “Figuring out the ‘Firstborn’ in Colossians,” in Study Like a Pro: Explore Difficult Passages from Every Book of the Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).
[44]. Venerable Maria of Agreda, City of God, Volume I, “The Conception,” (Washington, NJ: Blue Army), p. 127.
[45]. Norman L. Geisler, “Colossians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 672-674.
[46]. Hildegard of Bingen, Hildegard of Bingen's Book of Divine Works: With Letters and Songs, (Kindle Locations 575-590). Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. Kindle Edition.
[47]. Norman L. Geisler, “Colossians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 672-674.
[48]. Thomas Aquinas. (1990). A Summa of the Summa: The Essential Philosophical Passages of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. (P. Kreeft, Ed.) (pp. 107–108). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
[49]. Ibid.
[49-A]. Ibid.
[50]. Thomas Aquinas, A Summa of the Summa: The Essential Philosophical Passages of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, pp. 107–108.
[51]. Hildegard of Bingen, Hildegard of Bingen's Book of Divine Works: With Letters and Songs, Kindle Locations 575-590.
[52]. Thomas Aquinas. (1990). A Summa of the Summa: The Essential Philosophical Passages of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, pp. 108–110.
[53]. According to Dr. Rickard (Ari) Levitt-Sawyer, “The Rabbinical process of converting to Judaism (a tradition not supported by Scripture) which has been practiced since well before Yeshua’s time consists of taking a Hebrew name, circumcision (for men), offering a sacrifice in the Temple (one obviously can’t do that part without a Temple), and immersion (tevilah) in a mikvah (container of “living water”). The proselyte enters the mikvah as a goy (Gentile), and emerges as a Jew. Since the inception of this practice, the Jews have called this process being “born again” (as a Jew). Is is no wonder that Nakdimon (Nicodemus) was confused (John 3:4) when Yeshua told him that he must be “born again.” He was already a Jew, a member of the Jewish supreme court! How was it possible for him to be “converted” to Judaism? Yeshua must obviously have been referring to something else, but how can a man re-enter the womb? So what was Yeshua talking about?” Dr. Rickard (Ari) Levitt-Sawyer, Center for Messianic Learning, https://messianic-learning.com/faq/baptism_and_betrothal.html, June 22, 2021.
[54]. Pope Pius XII. “Mystici Corporis Christi,” n.7, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, June 29, 1943. http://www.catholicsociety.com/documents/pius_xii_encyclicals/Mystici_corporis_christi.pdf.
[55]. Pope Pius XII. “Mystici Corporis Christi,” n. 26.
[56]. Hildegard, Scivias, 317.
[57]. Blessed Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, The Mystical Body of Christ, Ave Maria Press, Kindle Edition, Locations 177-184; p. 42, 47.
[58]. CCC 460, quoting St. Athanasius, De Incarnatione (“On the Incarnation”), 54:3.
[59]. Sheen, The Mystical Body of Christ, Loc. 108.
[60]. Sheen, The Mystical Body of Christ, pp. 23-24.
[61]. Sheen, The Mystical Body of Christ, p. 24-25.
[62]. Sheen, The Mystical Body of Christ, p. 54-56.
[63]. Larry Chapp PhD, “Paradox and mystery reclaimed: A review of Henri de Lubac’s The Church,” Catholic World Report, https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2022/07/31/paradox-and-mystery-reclaimed-and-proclaimed-a-review-of-de-lubacs-the-church/#:~:text=The%20guiding%20light,friend%20is%20God, July 31, 2022, (accessed 08/05/2022).
[64]. Scott Hahn, The Lamb's Supper (p. 30-31), The Crown Publishing Group, Kindle Edition.
[65]. Brian Pizzalato, “Adam: High priest of humanity,” Catholic News Agency, https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resource/55702/adam-high-priest-of-humanity, (Accessed 7/03/2022).
[66]. Henri Leclercq, “Adam in Early Christian Liturgy and Literature.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907), 1 Jul. 2022, https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01132a.htm.
[67]. Henri Leclercq, “Adam in Early Christian Liturgy and Literature.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01132a.htm.
[68]. Henri Leclercq, “Adam in Early Christian Liturgy and Literature.” https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01132a.htm.
[69]. Henri Leclercq, “Adam in Early Christian Liturgy and Literature.” https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01132a.htm.
[70]. John Corbett, “Bethel,” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907), from https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02532d.htm, (accessed August 10, 2011).
[71]. Hildegard, Scivias, 381.
[72]. Cyprian, “Treatise 12,” Book 1, n. 15.
[73]. Hildegard, Scivias, 380.
[74]. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 67.
[75]. Revelations also makes prominent and multiple mentions of the tree of life. Briefly, Rev. 2:7 (tree is in paradise), 22:1-3 (River of living water, tree of life, and Heavenly city, i.e., Jerusalem); 22:14 (baptized and sinless can eat of the fruit of the tree of life and enter the heavenly city by the gate. Catherine of Siena specifically links the gate of truth with Truth incarnate (the embodied Son of God). She tells us the Father is one with this gate. When we go through this gate, we find ourselves in the Father. Not just close to the Father — but IN the Father. [Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 67.])
[76]. Brian Pizzalato, “Adam: High priest of humanity,” Catholic News Agency, https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resource/55702/adam-high-priest-of-humanity, (Accessed 7/03/2022).
[77]. Hildegard of Bingen, Hildegard of Bingen's Book of Divine Works: With Letters and Songs, (Kindle Locations 575-590). Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. Kindle Edition.
[78]. Francis Aveling, “Man,” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910) https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09580c.htm, accessed June 21, 2022.
[79]. John D. Barry and Rebecca Van Noord, eds., “Figuring out the ‘Firstborn’ in Colossians,” in Study Like a Pro: Explore Difficult Passages from Every Book of the Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).
Quoted by authors: Andrew B. Perrin in an article originally published in the March-April 2009 issue of Bible Study Magazine.
[80]. John F. Walvoord, “Revelation,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 940.
[81]. Hildegard uses Rationality here as the Son of God, the logos, but also as the rational faculty in the human being. See the Topical Index in this volume for other examples.
[82]. The concern for the Word’s name has precedent in Augustine and others, who explain why the Son is called “Verbum.” However, Augustine and Heiric of Auxerre state that the Father and Son are called “beginning.” See Augustine of Hippo, In Iohannis euangelium I, 11, p. 6, ll. 1–17; Heiric of Auxerre, Homiliae I, 10, p. 82, ll. 39–48; Homiliae I, 11, p. 93, ll. 93–108. Hildegard also deals with this verse in Diu. operum, p. 251, ll. 84–96, and p. 252, ll. 116–17.
[83]. For this highly debated pericope I include a few key explanations and references to earlier sources, notably Augustine and Heiric of Auxerre. For a full discussion, see Kienzle, Speaking New Mysteries, 272–77, and the sources cited there, as well as the edition of the Expo. Euang., 209–15.
[84]. This notion of indivisibility echoes previous exegetes, notably Heiric of Auxerre, who is influenced by Eriugena when he asserts: “There is one principle/beginning and not two, one God and not two.” See John Scotus, Homélie sur le prologue de Jean, 240; Heiric of Auxerre, Homiliae I, 10, p. 82, ll. 52–53; Homiliae I, 11, p. 93, ll. 103–108. On the notion of having no origin and being indivisible, see also Diu. operum I, u. 4, c. 105, p. 250, ll. 75–76, and I, u. 4, c. 105, p. 251, ll. 79, 82, 90.
[85]. Hildegard of Bingen, Homilies on the Gospels, trans. Beverly Mayne Kienzle, Cistercian Studies Series, No. 241 (Collegeville, MN; Trappist, KY: Cistercian Publications; Liturgical Press, 2011), 55–60.
[86]. Hildegard of Bingen, Homilies on the Gospels, trans. Beverly Mayne Kienzle, Cistercian Studies Series, No. 241 (Collegeville, MN; Trappist, KY: Cistercian Publications; Liturgical Press, 2011), 55–60.
[87]. Ibid.
[88]. Francois-Xavier Durrwell, Holy Spirit of God, trans Sr. Benedict Davies, (Cincinnati, OH: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2006), 179-180.


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