Beauty in Genesis
It’s taken me a while to realize and really take in the simple fact that girls are better than boys. I heard it all growing up on the playground: “Girls go to college to get more knowledge. Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider.” All kidding aside, I have not (and still am getting there) yet fully appreciated the true Beauty that exists in women. When I began teaching a high school Scripture class, I had the opportunity to delve deeper into the Creation narrative. In high school and college, I remember studying the difference between the Yahwist and priestly authors in the accounts of creation, yet never really got a chance to soak in the meaning and impact behind the events of Genesis 1 and 2.
You see, the Creation account is so often scrutinized by strict adherents to Scientism who chose to ignore its poetic nature, and defended by fundamentalists who refuse to see the beauty of the Creator that science reveals to us. Because of this debate, Genesis unfortunately is a controversial book. You’re either confronted with people asking (valid) questions about where the wives for Cain and Seth came from or you have to explain how the theory of evolution can be compatible with the creation account from Genesis. All this hubbub distracts us from the beautiful truth about how we as human beings were created, and with that, how we are to treat each other as man and woman.
In understanding the Creation account for what it is, we are able to see just how beautiful women are, and how we as men are called to care for them. The woman is the crown jewel of creation. God saves the best for last and as we see in the second account of creation, the last creature is the most beautiful. Don’t let a reading into the false patriarchy of the text allow you to ignore this beautiful truth about women. As men, we are called to see the beauty in women as a reflection of the image and likeness of God Himself. It’s the physical body of a woman that we as men most clearly see her beauty. That’s pretty obvious. I don’t want to sound perverted or anything like that, but it is in her body that we see the most beautiful reflection of the Trinity that we have, and why we as men must care for, protect, and cherish all women.
It is through the gift of the woman that we as human beings are able to most closely resemble our image and likeness. The chief attribute of God at this point in the Bible is His ability to create. So far, Adam (man) is unable to participate in this. It is only after Eve (woman) is created that Adam is able to participate in this Divine Gift.
From the very beginning, we see how crucial women are in the lives of men. Adam’s exclamation “This one at last is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (Gn 2:23), demonstrates for us that at last, Adam can recognize his identity as being made in the image and likeness of God. And it is only through his relationship with the woman that this is made apparent to him. And it is also through the Beauty of the woman that points Adam to the Beauty of his identity, this Beauty participating in the Trinity which is Beauty itself. Adam’s image and likeness is only fully realized when it is made complete through the Beauty of the woman.
Most of us know how the story goes. It doesn’t end all peachy. But I don’t want to linger on the Fall. What I want to turn to now is the fact that today, we as men through our own actions, through the pressures of society, and through the influence of the Enemy, we have been forced to neglect the Beauty of the woman and in turn have lost our identity - we have lost our image and likeness, we have lost our ability to see ourselves as Beloved Sons of the Father. This of course is in relation to the Fall, but since Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross has freed us from the bonds of this sin, and by the nature of our baptism, the stain of original sin is removed, I don’t want to focus on the Fall. This new neglect of the beauty of women is a manipulation by the Enemy that is as old as the Fall, but spending too much time on the Fall could lead us to think that this is a problem that is in our nature and is thus incurable.
What I'm talking about is the trick that has been played on men throughout the world to see the Beauty in women as an object they are entitled too. Let me explain.
As I was talking about earlier, the woman is the pinnacle of creation. Because of this, she is to be cared for, protected, and cherished. Her Beauty reminds us of the Most Holy Trinity. Where this physical beauty is most clearly seen is in the context of the marital act. The ability to create life, as two come together as one. Jim Gaffigan has a great joke, in which, reflecting on the miracle of life and the amazing things that a female body can do: “But truly, women are amazing. Think about it this way: a woman can grow a baby inside her body. Then a woman can deliver the baby through her body. Then, by some miracle, a woman can feed a baby with her body. When you compare that to the male’s contribution to life, it’s kind of embarrassing, really.” Gaffigan really hits the nail on the head. But it also is what makes a woman so beautiful. We recognize this miracle, this Beauty, as being a reflection of the Creator. In marriage, two become one, and, God willing, another life is brought into the world.
But when we see what has happened in society regarding the Beauty of women, it is becoming more and more plain that the ability to generate life is something seen as ugly. In movies, music videos, and especially in pornography, we see beautiful female bodies. We also see more of these bodies than any man should ever be allowed to see. It harms our ability to see how beautiful these women are. The Enemy has laid a perfect trap. We see one of God’s greatest gifts to man, the gift of a spouse, the gift of a woman, with whom he is able to most fully live out his nature - we see this gift prostituted everywhere. And every day it seems to get worse. More and more young women are being fed the lie that their beauty lies in how they portray their body to the world. The Enemy has used the natural beauty of women to ensnare not only men, but also women, into being blind.
We as men are being conditioned to see an objectively beautiful woman and to only see how she can serve us. Nowhere in this observation are we given the choice or even the thought to how we can serve her. The real danger in pornography is the conditioning of these senses. When Adam first laid eyes on his wife, he clung to her - he was her servant, giving up his rib for her. But when we watch pornography or even now watching television or movies, we are being presented with stunning women, and we are being taught to take this in as a gift of our own pleasure, a gift of our own use, with no reason to give back, to sacrifice, to truly appreciate the gift of a beautiful woman as an opportunity for Grace - as an opportunity to appreciate God, as an opportunity to see ourselves as being made in the image and likeness of God.
This trick is a deep one. Not only have men been duped, women have been deceived about their true beauty. It’s sad. The Enemy has chosen to make a mockery of God’s greatest creation: a woman. But the most amazing thing is that we have a Mother who is Most Beautiful. We have a Mother who desires nothing more than to see all of God’s Beloved Children understand and know that they are loved. Her heel will triumph.
It is up to us men to pray for our women. The gift of the Rosary is obviously of chief importance. If you are married, pray for your wife. Sacrifice for her. Look at the smallest of sacrifices, waking up 5 minutes earlier to bring her a coffee in bed, fold the laundry without being asked to. Pray to Our Mother to ask Her Son to give you opportunities to grow in servitude to your bride. If you aren’t married but are discerning marriage, pray for your future spouse if you aren’t doing so already. Offer up sacrifices for her. Prepare to be her caretaker, protector, and cherisher. Regardless of if you are married, discerning marriage, or some other religious vocation, every time you see a beautiful woman (really, this means every woman) pray for her. Thank God for the gift that is before you, a reminder of the Beauty of the Trinity. But also pray that she might be cherished as she ought.
What’s beautiful is good, what’s beautiful is true. Don't let the Enemy trick you. The Beauty will always shine through, and the beauty will always win. Let the Beauty that God puts before you be a blessing and an opportunity to love more fully.
You may contact Charles at: firstname.lastname@example.org