The Human Person as Microcosm

Authored by Dr. Petroc Willey in Issue #34.3 of The Sower

It is not common to catechize about our understanding of the human person as a microcosm of creation, but this is nevertheless what the Church teaches. The diagram opposite brings out, I hope, the main features of the Church’s teaching.

There are three clear ‘orders‘ in the created world: material beings, human beings and spiritual beings. Material beings are wholly material and spiritual beings are wholly spiritual. The material world is not the same as the spiritual world. Material beings have very different characteristics from spiritual beings. Material beings are measurable, whereas spiritual beings have no matter that can be measured. Spiritual beings are not bound by time and space as material beings are, though they do operate in time and space. People often forget that not only the material world, but the spiritual world of angels, also, is created; it is not divine. Angels and devils are created beings just as stars and cats are created. These, of course, are the ‘visible and invisible’ created by God that we speak of in the Creed.

These two ‘orders of reality’, the material and the spiritual, are easier to describe than human beings. Human beings are not half material and half spiritual; they are not matter and spirit mixed up, or stirred well together. ‘The human person, created in the image of God, is at once corporeal and material’ (CCC 362).

Study chart included with this article.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Adult Faith Formation and Culture Change
By Dr. James Pauley
Free This year marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the most important publications the U.S. Bishops have ever written: Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us . The ideals and principles expressed in this document are deeply convicting and can be summed up with these stirring words: “adult faith formation is essential to who we are and what we do as... Read more
From the Shepherds: Catechesis in the Light of the Papal Magisterium of Pope Francis Evangelii gaudium - An Access to the Church’s Mission
By Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst
Free Looking back on the past and on the development of the church since the Second Vatican Council, there are two well-known and profound documents, which have brought the biblical call for evangelization into our pastoral consciousness: Evangelii nuntiandi in 1974 and Evangelii gaudium in 2013. Both apostolic letters have reflected on the manner in... Read more
Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Reflection on Discipleship
By Peter J. Murphy
Do you feel the Holy Spirit working? Do you sense that deeper calling, that desire for renewal, that burning within your heart? Yes, it is the same burning that the disciples on the road to Emmaus felt as their Lord and Savior journeyed with them. Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us was written twenty years ago as a prophetic and challenging... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now