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Salt, Dust, Light, and Water in the Bible

Study of Salt, Dust, Water, & Light in Bible

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The Study of Salt, Dust, Water, and Light in the Bible

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Studying Salt, Dust, Water, and Light in the Bible
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Studying Salt, Dust, Water, & Light in Scripture

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Studying Salt, Dust, Water & Light in Scripture

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Salt, Dust, Water & Light in Scripture

Salt, Dust, Water & Light in Scripture

What is salt, dust, and stone in the Bible
In Scripture, DNA is both dust and salt
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Likeness of God in Man
Glossary

The Likeness of God in Man

As it turns out, God Himself tells us His Name, thereby informing man of his Essence. In response to a request by Moses for the voice from the burning bush to tell him what his name is, God replies: I AM THAT I AM[1] (Exodus 3:14). Never have a mere five words ever said so much. Never have a mere five words ever contained such an infinite depth of Truth. Let us explore deeper.
When one delves into the Hebrew words behind those five words, it becomes clear that I Am that (so that) I Am can be summarized thusly: I Am (the Father) so that I Am (the Son — indicating Divine and infinite Fruitfulness). Additionally, the single “I” for the two “I Am”’s indicates a Unity that can only come through the Holy Spirit (cf. Eph 4:3-6). Furthermore, the Essence of God is eternal, unceasing, and fruitful act

How Does the Body Fit Into the Likeness of God?

The belief that the whole man — body and spiritual soul — is necessary for man to be in the image and likeness of God extends back to the time of the early Church Fathers. Defending against the errors of the Gnostics, St. Irenaeus (circa 125-202) answered the question: Does the body contribute to man being in the image and likeness of God? The Gnostics believed God’s entire image and likeness reside in man's nous (the intellect). Thus, they thought the body was merely a transitory vessel of little or no importance.[2] On the contrary, Irenaeus’ interpretation of Genesis Chapter One is this: the entire body and spiritual soul are intended as a necessary and integral part of a person created in the image and likeness of God.[3] No Body — No Likeness to God.
Before answering the above question, let us distinguish between image and likeness. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us:
Likeness may be considered in the light of a preamble to image, inasmuch as it is something more general than image ... and, again, it may be considered as subsequent to image, inasmuch as it signifies a certain perfection of image. ... likeness regards things which are more common than the intellectual properties, wherein the image is properly to be seen. In this sense it is stated (QQ. 83, q. 51) that “the spirit” (namely, the mind) without doubt was made to the image of God. “But the other parts of man,” belonging to the soul’s inferior faculties, or even to the body, “are in the opinion of some made to God’s likeness.” In the same sense “likeness” is said to belong to “the love of virtue:” for there is no virtue without love of virtue.[4]
God tells St. Hildegard all virtue must be incarnated and perfected within the sensual body. According to St. Hildegard, virtues work through the body and soul together;[5] “a virtue is a divine quality that … fully incarnates itself [SML].”[6] What does this mean? It means: that as the heart is purified, so is the body. The higher powers of the soul (the spirit, where the Holy Spirit dwells) are not fenced off from the lower powers (the soul, which controls the body). For an overview, see spiritual soul. Why is this necessary? In its role as the mouth of the overflow of the spiritual heart, the body must accurately express (both sense-ably and meta-sense-ably) virtuous acts which will bear good fruit. West tells us that the body gives expression to the experiences of the heart;[7] the spirit expresses itself through the lower powers of the soul, in the language of the body.[8]
According to Aquinas, the intellect is the image of God — He is unchanging Truth. After testing the angels, the obedient angels became pure and perfect intellect, i.e., the image of God. As Aquinas writes, image signifies a certain perfection of image. However, nowhere does it say that the angels were also in the likeness of God. In fact, the very name of St. Michael the Archangel tells us that none of the angels were in the likeness of God. Quis ut Deus? (or Quis sicut Deus?), a Latin sentence meaning “Who [is] like God?”, is a literal translation of the name Michael (Hebrew: מִיכָאֵל, transliterated Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl). His name was the war-cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against the enemy and his followers.[9]
Therefore, the likeness of God is beyond intellect only. The human body is necessary to be fruitful. No angel has ever begotten or co-created another angel. Angels do not communicate grace. Aquinas writes: “Angels cleanse, enlighten, and perfect angels or men, by instruction, and not by justifying them through grace. Hence Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. vii) that ‘this cleansing and enlightenment and perfecting is nothing else than the assumption of Divine knowledge.’”[10] We have already shown in Exodus 3:14 that fruitfulness is part of the very Essence of God. Therefore, likeness must include something the angels do not possess — i.e., a body guided by a spiritual soul.
When in purgatory, the human soul cannot merit grace for itself. Why? There is no body with which we can earn and express grace through acts. Repeating what Aquinas said above, “‘the other parts of man,’ belonging to the soul’s inferior faculties, or even to the body, ‘are in the opinion of some made to God’s likeness.’”[11] John Paul II tells us that it is only through the body, and in the body's language, that the invisible, i.e., the spiritual and the divine [which is eternally fruitful], is made visible within creation.[12]
Only the body is capable of co-creating — together with God — another person newly created in the image and likeness of God. He also tells us, “The body speaks not merely with the whole external expression of masculinity and femininity, but also with the internal structures of the organism, of the somatic [the entire body and its aggregate parts such as the heart of flesh] and psychosomatic [relating to the mind/mental] reaction.”[13] As was said before, the body is the biblical mouth of the spirit/inner heart of man, through which the overflow is sent out.
The likeness of God centers on the appropriations of the Holy Spirit. In other words, we are in the likeness of God when we express, do, send out, or breath out the Truth of the Father and the Son in the love and fruitfulness of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, all Truth expressed in the Spirit is fruitful!
In addition to intellect, another upper power of the spiritual soul is free will. According to Fr. Edward Leen, “The intellect, as it were, flowers in the Word; the [free] will blossoms forth as a Love. In this lies the wondrous attractiveness of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is all love .... By a metaphorical use of language, the Holy Spirit may be described as being ‘all heart.’”[14] Remember, God is an eternal and unceasingly glorious expression in Love of the Truth that God knows of Himself. What God knows is Himself. He is eternally sending out His glory.
St. Irenaeus’ writings on this topic are still relevant today. However, based on the writings of Thomas Aquinas, most modern theologies still locate the image and likeness of God solely in the faculties of intellect and will (the upper powers of the spiritual soul). As we will see later, this understanding is not accurate.[15] St. Paschasius Radbertus believed the whole human man is necessary for man to be in the image and likeness of God. Radbertus’ writings are primarily responsible for the body of thought that later led to the formulation of the Dogma of Transubstantiation.

ENDNOTES:

[2] Sarah A. Wagner-Wassen, blog entry, “What Does It Mean to Be in the Image of God? Irenaeus of Lyon Against the Gnostics,” Sarah A. Wagner-Wassen, https://anglicaapparitor.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/what-does-it-mean-to-be-in-the-image-of-god-irenaeus-of-lyon-against-the-gnostics/: Sarah A. Wagner-Wassen, accessed 11/12/2013.
[3] Sarah A. Wagner-Wassen, “What Does It Mean to Be in the Image of God? Irenaeus of Lyon Against the Gnostics,” https://anglicaapparitor.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/what-does-it-mean-to-be-in-the-image-of-god-irenaeus-of-lyon-against-the-gnostics/.
[4] Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas, Second and Revised Edition, 1920, Part I, q. 93, a. 9, (Answer). Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province, Online Edition Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Knight.
[5] 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), 345.
[6] Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias,, p. 37.
[7] West, Theology of the Body Explained, 94.
[8] West, Theology of the Body Explained, 382.
[9] Holweck, Frederick. “St. Michael the Archangel.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 18 Mar. 2022 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10275b.htm.
[10] The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas, II-I, q. 112, a. 1, Second and Revised Edition, 1920, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province Online Edition Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Knight, https://www.newadvent.org/summa/2112.htm#article1.
[11] Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas, Second and Revised Edition, 1920, Part I, q. 93, a. 9, (Answer). Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province, Online Edition Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Knight.
[12] John Paul II, “The Language of the Body in the Structure of Marriage,” Theology of the Body, n. 7.
[13] John Paul II, in his general audience of Sept. 5, 1984, “Responsible Parenthood Linked to Moral Maturity,” Theology of the Body, ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Third Millennium Media L.L.C., The Faith Database L.L.C., 2008), n. 1.
[14] Rev. Fr. Edward Leen, The Holy Spirit, (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1939; Sceptor Publishers, 1998, 2008), p.29-34.
[15] Leen, The Holy Spirit, p.29-34.
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