The Three Eras of Man

May 24, 2020

Blessings Y'all! I have been busy working on the book, and it is close to getting ready for review by theologian and dance friends! In the mean time please enjoy this excerpt from the book on the Three Eras of Man

In the Theology of the Body, St. John Paul II talks provides three eras of man, whom he calls Original man, Historical Man, and Eschatological Man. The last of these I usually call Final Man, as it means the same thing as eschatalogical, and saves me the trouble of explaining a theological term to non-theologians.  Original man is who we were before the fall, Historical Man is who we are now, and Final Man is who we will be after the resurrection.

 

Original Man

 

 “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?.

Matthew 19:4-5

 

In answer the Pharisees question on whether or not divorce is a permitted, Jesus explains that in the beginning, when God made them male and female in his image, that he made the to be together. Since God has brought them together, no man should take them apart. Divorce was only allowed to accommodate their hardness of heart, something that was absent in the beginning.  In reflecting on this passage, St. John Paul II tells us that if we are to discover God’s plan for us, we must return the beginning.

 

We seek to “return” to the beginning in order to understand what God’s plan is for us. In his talks on the TOB, St. John Paul II used mediation on scripture. But we can also look to good relationship and good art. To learn about the life of a saint is to return to the beginning, and for this reason we study their lives and teachings. As for art, I found the novel Perelandra by CS Lewis to be a wonderful description of what the beginning was like. Finally, since we combine good art and good relationship, when we can understand the beginning better when we learn to dance. 

 

All of these only allow for a "partial return to the beginning. As best as we can see in this fallen time, in the beginning Man had the following qualities:

  • Man spoke with God and had no trouble understanding his will for him. Man had no trouble understanding the lead of God.
  • Man did not age or get sick. Man's body never had trouble expressing the lead of God.)
  • Man had no evil thoughts, and he trusted both God and his fellow man. Man never back led out of fear or distrust.
  • Man’s body perfectly expressed his spirit. No one had a case of two left feet or a lack of rhthym.
  • Man lived in perfect harmony with all the animals and all of nature. All the animals would obey man, and the plants would give him delicious food as they were, without need for cultivation.

All of this was lost when Man rebelled against God's love. In Genesis 3 we are told it was from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, but we don’t know what the actual act or the details associated with it. What we do know is despite his perfect nature man willingly and knowingly rebelled against God, and as a result he fell from grace.

 

Historical Man

 

The current era of man is Historical man, who is fallen yet redeemed. Our fall was the result of original sin, and our redemption the result of Christ’s death on the cross. We know we are fallen because we do evil. We know we are redeemed because we can do good.   Historical man suffers from the lack of original innocence and original nakedness, and as a result we suffer from something Christopher West calls “flat tire syndrome," the idea that we assume bad relationship is normal.   

 

In this Historical Era man has the following qualities:

  • Man can speak with God, but it is unclear, to the point many doubt either his existence or his love for us. Man has trouble hearing the lead of God.

  • Man ages, gets sick and dies. Man has a fear of death, seeing it not as the gate to another life but as the end of all things. Man's body often has difficulty carrying out the lead of God.

  • Man has evil thoughts. He distrusts others easily. Man often back leads God out of fear and distrust.

  • There is a rupture between man’s body and his spirit. Man often has two left and a lack of rhythm.

  • Man must work the ground to eat and must force nature to help him.

As people living in history, we are pilgrims traveling from one place of perfect grace to another. It is as if we are in a swampy valley between two great mountains, the mountain we came from, which is the the Garden of Eden, and the Mountain we are heading to, the world to come after the resurrection.  Both mountains are difficult to see through the trees, and the top of mountain of the world to come sits above the clouds. So we are on unsure ground, treading as best we can, towards our goal. 

 

Final Man- Heaven and the World to Come

 

 

For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:9-12

 

Catholic Theology teaches the resurrection of the dead at the end of time. We believe that at the end of time God will create a new world that incorporates all the good things we have done in faithfulness to God’s will, and all these things, including our bodies and our souls, will transcend this world in ways we cannot understand. So we will not be a disembodied soul, but an integrated body soul combo tfar superior not only to what we are now, but even to what we were in the beginning.

 

Final Man is the last and most perfect era of Mankind. What the body of the saints after the resurrection is like we don’t know, except it will be a lot better than the one we have now, and even a lot better than the one we had in the beginning.

  • Man will speak with God face to face and had no trouble understanding his will. This conversation will be far greater than it was at the beginning. Man will "super follow God's lead.

  • Man will not age or get sick. Our Bodies will be capable of following God in ways we cannot imagine.

  • Man will no evil thoughts, and he will trust fully.

  • Man’s body will be perfectly expressed his spirit in a way that greatly exceeds the beginning

  • Man will live in perfect harmony with the new creation. The question of whether there will be animals in heaven is not answered

  • Man will be above the angels.

Then Moses said, “Please let me see your glory!” The LORD answered: I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim my name, “LORD,” before you; I who show favor to whom I will, I who grant mercy to whom I will.  But you cannot see my face,g for no one can see me and live.*

Exodus 33:18-20

 

Moses was the greatest prophet in the Old Testament. It was he who delivered the Jews from slavery in Egypt and who gave them their law.  Moses did all of these things not on his own, but in faithfulness to the lead of God. Moses understood God’s will better than most, and certainly better than the members of Israel followng him through the desert. And yet even he was not able to see God’s face. God’s full glory would be too much for his body to handle; too much for any of our earthly bodies to handle. I suspect that God's full glory was probably too much for man even in his original body to handle.

 

Thus we need a new body, a “spiritualized body” to take in the glory of God. This is in fact the reason for the new body, to be able to dance more fully with Christ in the music of the Holy Spirit. We need this body to see and hear and sense things that we could never even imagine seeing, hearing and sensing. We need it to wrap our minds around ideas that we could never wrap our minds around.  

 

The best I could describe it would be to say we will have a body with the powers like we find in superheroes. We see something of this at the transfiguration, as well as after his resurrection. In both cases Jesus had a body that was very different from the ones the Apostles were used to. Doors and walls mean nothing to him anymore, and whether or not a person can recognize him is up to him. Or perhaps recognition of Christ in the glorified body was dependent on their faith.

 

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