Creation in the Ignatian Theological Context

The Ignatian vision is one of the perspectives from which it is possible to study the creation of humanity, people’s relationship with God, and the ethical principles of life. Creation is the central theme of Ignatius’s “The First Principle and Foundation,” which, by definition, provides the basic understanding of how the world is organized. This essay focuses on the concept of creation and the moral of humans’ life, and how these theological claims are related to other sacred texts.

In the Ignatian theological context, creation is the source of life and allows humanity to emerge. Life in this text is presented as a gift from God to His people. Other things created by Him exist “to help them in working toward the end for which they are created.” Therefore, the creation of human beings was not God’s sole goal, and life is not the reason for humans’ existence. According to Ignatius’s vision of life, “the end” is the ultimate goal of every human life, and God’s creation is what enables people to attain the objective. Therefore, creation is seen as the beginning of the long way towards God, and the things created by Him should help humans in this lifetime journey.

An important message related to the theme of creation is that people should respect other things and make the right choices in their lives. Therefore, Ignatius encourages humans to use all the things created by God that help one towards “the end” and avoid everything that can make a person further from Him. Moreover, he states that an individual should not focus on things themselves but rather on their meaning in their life to become a loving and honest person. Human beings will be evil if they abuse God’s gifts and make them the center of their life. Therefore, the creation of humanity and material things gives people an opportunity to choose their path, which would help them in their journey towards God.

The similar motives of creation are presented in Genesis, Chapter 1-3. God created the world in six days, on the sixth day He created Adam and Eve. The idea of making choices is also reflected in how Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because of this disobedience, God cursed Adam and Eve, proving that the wrong life decisions make people further from Him. As God is depicted as the creator in Genesis, all the things can be helpful or harmful to people.

In the Book of Exodus, it is possible to see how the ethical principles of life described by Ignatius are reflected in the ten commandments of God. He instructs people to be committed to him, which corresponds to Ignatius’s vision of seeing God in every detail and going towards Him. Moreover, other commandments, such as not to murder, steal, commit adultery, or be envious, imply that being an honest, loving, and kind individual is the only right way leading to God. Therefore, the Bible reveals the main principles of a good human life.

In conclusion, it is possible to say that Ignatius’s “The First Principle and Foundation” provides a fundamental understanding of the beginning of the world and the moral life principles. Creation is presented as God’s gift, making people closer to “the end.” In life, people need to choose how that would make them better as humans and help them move towards God. These ideas can also be found in Genesis and Exodus, where the statements of creation and following God’s commandments reflect how the world was created and what principles of ethics should be the basis of life.

Understanding Personal Proper Telos

According to Aristotle, human beings have a purpose in their journey in life. In “The First Principle and Foundation”, Aristotle refers to the purpose in human life as a “person’s proper telos” (Haight, 2012). To achieve a person’s proper telos, one has to live a righteous life with God’s creation. Also, in all their interactions with other creations, human beings must work towards achieving their “end”. Human beings must remember that their sole purpose is to serve God while using other creations for this purpose (Haight, 2012). Aristotle forbids human beings from being drawn away from their “end” by other things in life such as health, wealth, honor, and long life.

Christians should strive to please God by obeying His commandment and serving Him fully. Christians do so by living a virtuous life with one another and with other creations. The Ten Commandments written in Exodus 19 adheres Christians not to accuse one falsely, commit murder, steal, commit adultery, and so on. By obeying these commandments, Christians uphold their relationship with others in the society and with God, hence, maintain proper personal telos.

However, when Christians fail to follow their purpose “personal proper telos” God will punish them. He will distance Himself from His people (Haight, 2012). God’s justice system is well portrayed when He distances Himself from Adam and Eve for eating the forbidden fruit, where they did not uphold proper telos. Aristotle believes that telos is essential in determining right and wrong, thus forming the basis of the justice system in Christian life.

In conclusion, Christians understand proper personal telos as strictly following God’s will, that is, the Ten Commandments. Living a virtuous life with one another and with God will lead Christians to their “end” which is the primary purpose of life. Human beings should use other creations to fulfill their “end”. At the same time, they should avoid the creations that lead them to disobedience. However, disobedience will lead to God applying his justice system, distancing Himself from people.

Explain creation in light of the context of the First Principle

In the “First Principle and Foundation”, St. Ignatius depicts God as the creator of all things, include human beings. White (1967) argues that human beings were created to serve God, which he refers to as the “end”. Also, St. Ignatius’ theory acknowledges that human beings have authority over other creations. In broader terms, human beings have the power to use other creations in their journey in life towards the “end”. On the other hand, human beings also have the authority to get rid of the creation that might hinder them from serving and becoming closer to God (White, 1967). St. Ignatius’s theory is in line with the Genesis creation story where God is perceived as the sole creator. Also, God gives man the authority to rule over all creation except the tree with the forbidden fruit. God orders human beings not to eat the forbidden fruit as that would be using His creation to disobey Him.

According to St. Ignatius, human beings should dedicate their life to achieve “the end for which God created us.” He perceives the “end” as people becoming closer to God. Heyer et al. (2008) persuade Christians that to achieve the “end” God provided them with the Ten Commandments, which is a guide for serving Him and living a virtuous life with others in society. For instance, the Ten Commandments forbids people from stealing. Stealing would weaken the bonds of people living in a community and their relationship with God. Therefore, if people obey the Ten Commandments, they will become closer to God, and promote a stronger and just society.

White (1967) reminds Christians of their duty on earth, which is to serve God, through the theory of creation. Thus, my ultimate concern is to use the resources provided by God; health, wealth, honor, and other creations to achieve my end. I shall do so by promoting the Gospel of the death and resurrection of Christ and encourage Christians to aim for eternal life as persuaded by Cone (2011).

In the Book of Exodus, God reminded His people that they must live harmoniously with one another to become closer to Him. In this light, Heyer et al. (2008) remind me to aim at becoming a virtuous person, obeying the commandments of God. In addition, I wish to be filled with the Holy Spirit, which shall enable me to discern good from bad and holy from evil when choosing the course of my actions (O’Brien, 2004).

References

Cone, J. H. (2011). The cross and the lynching tree. Orbis books.

Haight, R. (2012). Christian spirituality for seekers: Reflections on the spiritual exercises of Ignatius Loyola. Orbis Books.

Heyer, K. E., Rozell, M. J., & Genovese, M. A. (Eds.). (2008). Catholics and politics: The dynamic tension between faith and power. Georgetown University Press.

O’Brien, D. (2004). Education in a church in crisis. Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education, 26(1), 4.

White, L. (1967). The historical roots of our ecologic crisis. Science, 155(3767), 1203-1207.