God the Author of Nature and the Supernatural
A Systematic Treatise
God, Man, and the Universe
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: CREATION AS A DIVINE ACT
THESIS I: God alone created the world, in time and with perfect freedom.
THESIS II: God keeps the world in existence positively, directly and immediately.
THESIS III: Gods ultimate purpose in creating is His own goodness: to manifest His perfections through the benefits He bestows on creatures, not to increase His happiness nor to acquire any perfection.
The ultimate purpose of the created world is this same Divine Goodness: primarily
to be manifested in giving glory to God, and secondarily to be participated
by creatures for their benefit.
PART TWO: CREATION AS A DIVINE FACT
SECTION ONE: ANGELOLOGY
THESIS IV: There exist angels who are pure spirits: of whom some persevered
in grace and entered Heaven, while others sinned and were damned. The good angels
are sent as Guardians, but demons tempt men to sin.
SECTION TWO: SUPERNATURAL ANTHROPOLOGY
THESIS V: In man there is one rational soul, which is immortal and immediately created by God alone.
THESIS VI: The body of Adam was made by an immediate operation of God.
THESIS VII: Adam was an individual man, from whom the whole human race derives its origin.
THESIS VIII: Before the fall, Adam possessed sanctifying grace and the preternatural gifts of integrity, immortality and infused knowledge.
THESIS IX: Adam lost original justice by sinning gravely. Original sin therefore exists in all men as a true sin, proper to each person and transmitted from Adam by propagation.
THESIS X: Original sin essentially consists in the privation of sanctifying grace. It is voluntary in all men through their juridical solidarity under Adam, the physical and juridical head of the human race.
GOD THE AUTHOR OF NATURE AND THE SUPERNATURAL
There are two ways of studying the relationship between God and the world.
One is to begin with the world and rise to God, the other is to begin with God
and descend to the world.
The first method is proper to philosophy, which investigates the visible universe
with its variety and grades of being, reflects on the created perfections in
man and outside of man, and thus comes to a knowledge of God the Creator, who
alone can explain the world and rationally account for its existence.
This method is not only valid, but has been solemnly defined by the Vatican
Council, that "God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with
certainty by the natural light of human reason from the things that He created,
'for since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen,
being understood through the things that are made' (Romans 1:20)."
The second method, which is theological rather than philosophical, admits the
foregoing but prescinds from it. Granting the need for proving the existence
of God to give faith a solid foundation, the treatise on God the Author of Nature
and the Supernatural does not ask what the world may teach us about God, but
what God, the Maker of the world, has revealed about all that He created.
Immediately we see how the present treatise differs from the study of the Trinity,
where we inquire what God says about Himself, His nature and personality. It
also differs from the treatise on grace, which examines the means we use to
attain our supernatural destiny. Finally it differs from both courses in prescinding
from the supernatural end as such, which is the beatific vision, and concentrates
on the world itself, as created by God, preserved by Him and directed by His
providence to the supernatural end for which it is destined.
We call it the treatise on God the Author of Nature and the Supernatural because
it comprehends both orders of reality, namely, not only the whole cosmos (including
man) which God made out of nothing, but also rational beings (man and angels)
whom God has raised to possess the Kingdom of Heaven and share in the very life
of the Trinity.
The subject matter naturally falls into two parts: looking at creation as a
divine act or divine fact; in other words, studying creation as an activity
on the part of God, or as an accomplished fact in the existing world.
Under the first aspect we treat of creation from three angles: in its origin,
providence and finality, answering to the questions, Where did the world come
from? How is the world governed and preserved? Why was the world created?
Under the second aspect, we again divide the matter into two parts; one treating
of man and the other of angels. Under anthropology we take up, in sequence,
the nature of man, the origin of our first parents, the growth of the human
race from Adam, his preternatural and supernatural gifts, fall, and transmission
of original sin. Finally we examine the nature of original sin. Put in schematic
form, the treatise may be outlined as follows:
( Origin of the World
( Continuous Providence
( As a Divine Act (
( ( Finality of Creation
( ( Angelology; The Good and Evil Spirits
( As a Divine Fact (
( Supernatural Anthropology;
- Nature of Man and the Origin of his Soul
- Creation of the First Man
- Growth of the Human Race from Adam
- Supernatural and Preternatural Gifts of Adam
- Fall of Our First Parents
- Transmission of Original Sin
- Nature of Original Sin
The first benefit of studying these doctrines arises from the fact that God
has revealed them and therefore wants us to know and understand them as far
as we can. If knowledge of any kind perfects the mind, certainly to know from
revelation the nature of creation and divine providence, of the angels and our
own origins, of the fall of man and our solidarity with the human race - is
both interesting and highly profitable; and not only to us but to all those
who may depend on our instruction and priestly ministry.
Moreover the better we understand our relation to God the Creator, the more
solid becomes our spiritual life, since the ultimate basis of moral value is
the faith which gives us motivation for exercising the will in following the
will of God, even to complete self sacrifice. This is precisely the function
of the treatise on creation and supernatural elevation - to lay the Principle
and Foundation envisioned by St. Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises.
Finally the number of those who deny or question man's creation and especially
his divine elevation is legions. They must be answered and their objections
resolved, if the faith is to be transmitted to those outside the Church and
preserved intact for those who already believe.
Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica