The Creation of Men and Angels: Creation of man, and On the singularity of the creation of man. First singularity in these words: Let us make man

This is one in a series from Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries. The previous post is here. More information on the Bossuet Project is here.

Creation of man

“You have lowered him slightly below the angel; you crowned him with glory and honor, and you have appointed to him all the works of your hands.” (Psalm 90:11, Hebrews 2:14) This is what David sang in memory of the creation of man. And it is true that God “has put him a little below the angels:” below, because united to a body it is less than the pure spirits, but only a little below; because like them he has life and intelligence and love, and man is only happy by the participation of the joy of the angels and no other. God is the common happiness for one to another, and from this side, equal to the angels, “their brothers” and not their subjects, we are “a little below them.”

“You have crowned with glory and honor,” according to the soul and the body. You gave him justice, the original righteousness, immortality and dominion over all corporeal creatures. Angels do not need these creatures which are no use to them, having no body. But God introduces man to this sensible and corporeal world to contemplate and enjoy. To contemplate it, as David went on to say by these words: “When I see your heavens which are the work of your fingers; I see the moon and the stars that you have founded,” in the middle of the huge ocean which surrounds it, and you have set the course by a law of inviolable stability. Man should also enjoy the world, according to the uses that God has prescribed: the sun, moon and stars, “to distinguish the days, months, seasons and years.” All the rest of corporeal nature is subject to his dominion: he cultivates the land and makes it fruitful: he uses the seas in its purposes and its trade: they make the communication of both worlds that form the globe of the earth: all the animals recognize his dominion, or because he tames them, or because he employs its various uses. But sin has weakened this dominion and has left us only a few miserable remnants.

As everything had to be put in the power of man, God created him after everything else, and introduced him into the universe, as we entered the banquet hall that which he made for us, after which all is ready and that the meats are served. Man is the complement of the works of God: and when he was made as his masterpiece, he remains at rest.

God honors man: why does he dishonor himself, “by making himself like beasts” on whom dominion is given?

On the singularity of the creation of man. First singularity in these words: Let us make man

Human animal, who lowered himself to “make himself like the beasts,” and often put yourself lower than them so to envy their condition, today it is necessary to understand your dignity by the admirable singularities of your creation. The first is to have been made, unlike other creatures by a command word fiat, but by a council of speech: faciamus, let us make. God takes council in himself, like going to a work of highest perfection, and to say so, of a particular industry, which most excellently highlights the wisdom of its author. God did nothing either on earth or in material nature which could hear the beauties of the world he had built, nor the rules of its admirable architecture; or who could not itself hear by the example of its creator; nor is able by itself to elevate to God and imitate intelligence and love, and like him be happy. For thus to create such a beautiful work, God consults himself, and wanting to produce an animal capable of counsel and reason, he called in some way to his rescue, talking to another self, to whom he said, let us make; who is not a created being, but one thing that is like him and with him, and this thing can only be his Son and his eternal wisdom, eternally generated in his bosom, by which and with which he had made all things to the truth, but he says more specifically in making man.

Let us therefore keep from allowing ourselves to be trapped by the blind ambitions of our passions, neither by that which the world calls luck and fortune. We were made by an obvious counsel, all the wisdom of God, to say so, called. So do not believe that human affairs can move forward one time by chance. Everything is ruled in the world by providence; but especially what concerns men is subject to the provisions of hidden and particular wisdom, because of all the works of God, man is the one from which the worker wants to get the most glory. So let us always be blindly subject to his orders, and place in him all our wisdom. Whatever comes our way unexpected, odd and irregular in appearance, let us remember these words: let us make man, and the particular counsel that gave us being.

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