Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The International Community, Biblical Aspects-1

“GOD REIGNS OVER THE NATIONS," regnavit Deus super gentes. (Ps. 47:8 [46:9]) It is with this understanding of God's universal reign that the Church assesses the relationship between nations.

Beginning with creation, it is apparent that God's creative action "embraces the whole world and the entire human family." (Compendium, No. 428) It is for God for which all creation, that creation which "awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God," which is "subject to futility . . because of the one who subjected in hope," the creation which "would be set free from slavery to corruption," which hopes to "share in the glorious freedom of the children of God," which is "groaning in labor pains even until now," is destined. (Rom. 8:19-22) "Creation is the foundation of 'all God's saving plans,' the 'beginning of the history of salvation' that culminates in Christ." CCC § 279 (quoting GCD, 51).

In particular, God's "decision to make man in his image and likeness gives the human being a unique dignity that extends to all generations and throughout the entire earth." Man is the only creature "that God has willed for its own sake." (Gaudium et spes, § 3). There is no human being in any time and any place that did not bear God's image and likeness and who did not have the common destiny in God.

Even when God seeks man and reveals himself to particular men in particular places in particular nations--in Noah, in Abraham, in Moses, in the Hebrew prophets--his message was not particular to Israel, but was already universal in semine, in germ. The covenant with Noah, betokened by the rainbow, is not for Noah alone, but for every living creature and every generation. Gen. 9:1-7. Indeed, as if to highlight the universality of the Noahide covenant, we find immediately after the Noahide covenant the so-called Völkertafel or "Table of Nations," where the Scripture "presents with admiration the diversity of peoples, the result of God's creative activity." (Gen. 10:1-32) Here the Scriptures relates the generations of the sons of Japheth, Ham, and Shem. These, in the view of the Scriptures, were the postdiluvian progenitors of all humankind. All humans come from Adam through Japheth, Ham, and Shem, all heirs to the Noahide covenant.* And all peoples had "one language and the same words," and indeed the same fundamental law.

Orbis Terrarum (OT) or Beatine Map from St. Isidore's Etymology
Dividing the World Between Japeth, Shem, and Ham

Humanity, however, became divided and lost its original unity. This reality is told us in the story of the Tower of Babel, the "tower of unbelief."** And where unbelief reigned, faith had to be renewed. So it was in the covenant that God established with Abraham, "the father of all those who believe," both those circumcised and uncircumcised, which is to say, the whole world. (Rom. 4:9-12) Along with being a "father of faith," Abraham was the "father of a multitude of nations." (Gen. 17:4). So the unbelief that led to the division in men was to be repaired by faith in God which would open "the way for the human family to make a return to its Creator." (Compendium, No. 430) All nations are to find unity not through unbelief, but though faith in God who is the Father of all humankind.

God's revelation to man continued: in the patriarchs, in Moses, and the Prophets. The message was particular, but universal in its particularity. "Little by little, however, the conviction grows that God is at work also among other nations." (Compendium, No. 430) "Blessed by my people Egypt, and the words of my hands Assyria, and my inheritance, Israel." (Isaiah 19:25) Israel's prophets intimate that the particularity of Israel's election will spill over to become universal in scope:
In days to come, The mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say: "Come, let us climb the LORD'S mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, That he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths." For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.
Isaiah 2:2-3
I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory.
I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations: to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.
They shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries, to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their offering to the house of the LORD in clean vessels.
Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.
As the new heavens and the new earth which I will make Shall endure before me, says the LORD, so shall your race and your name endure.
From one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, All mankind shall come to worship before me, says the LORD.
Isaiah 66:18-23.

It is this particularity of the election of Israel which intimates a universal message which become even more particularized--in one God-man Jesus--and yet so universal as to extends to the ends of the earth, even beyond history. The same Jesus who told the Samaritan woman that salvation is from the Jews (John 4:22), also says that "I am the way and the truth and the life" and "no one comes to the Father but through me." (John 14:6) This same Jesus also said, "I am the light of the world." (John 8:12) Here we find incarnate in the God-Man Jesus, both the scandal of particularity and the scandal of universality.***
*For the Noahide covenant, the sheva mitsvot benei Noah as an expression of the natural moral law binding all men, see The Way of the Edomite, the Ammonite, the Moabite, and the Ishmaelite.
**So called by Thomas Merton in his play, "The Tower of Babel," Thomas P. McDonnel, A Thomas Merton Reader (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962), 393.
***For the "scandal of particularity," see Religious Freedom for the Church of Christ (footnote).


  1. Have you personally read Genesis Chapter 11?

    Then how could you write this:
    "Humanity, however, became divided and lost its original unity. This reality is told us in the story of the Tower of Babel, the "tower of unbelief"."

    You just got saying that in Chapter 10, men were living in groups, NOT as a whole. It is an accident (accident in the philosophical meaning as opposed to substance or essence) that man had one lip but the essence of the situation is that man lived in family groups called "race" before the Tower of Babel!

    So how in the blazes can you write this:
    "So the unbelief that led to the division in men was to be repaired by faith in God which would open "the way for the human family to make a return to its Creator."

    It was unbelief that led to the division of men?

    Have you read Genesis 11 where God described the UNITY OF MEN as evil? I graduated from High School, did anybody at the Vatican and yourself pass reading compt?

    The plan of God is that man IS divided! Into races! The unity of man was described as evil! And he destroyed it.

    How can you explain that God purposely changed the language of man which causes division?

    This "bringing back the Universality of Man" is a Talmudic teaching!

    That is what the Vatican brings us--Talmudic teaching!

  2. I am not writing of unity of race, language, or culture. To expect uniformity of race, language, or culture is clearly an impossible pipe dream, and not even a dream, but a nightmare. This sort of universality would be tantamount to a tyranny.

    I am writing of a unity of belief in the one God, as creatures of that one God, and of our essential equality as believers (or potential believers) in that one God. I am writing of a uniform natural moral law that binds all men.

    Surely you are not saying that it is the plan of God that man be divided in religious belief, so that each tribe may have its, or even each man his, own god? That God wills that we believe in idols? Doesn't God will all humans to worship Him, the one true God? Aren't we all bound--regardless of tribe, culture, etc.--by one common objective moral law? Isn't Christ's redemptive death offered to "all men," "all nations"?

    As to the accusation that this is a Talmudic teaching. The Talmud teaches the Golden Rule, as does Christ, as does the Church. Does that mean the Church is bringing us Talmudic teaching by proposing it to us as a foundational principle of morality? It seems that similar teachings can arise from entirely different inspirations. I really don't think the Church pulled out the Talmud from the Vatican library before it wrote out the Compendium. I think she is relying on the historical salvation history as found in the Old and New Testaments, understood within the light of Tradition.

  3. Yes, what you said in your comment is nowhere posted in the original post. You've got to clarify the religious sphere from the Natural Order! The Tower of Babel has nothing to do with religion. The Tower of Babel has nothing to do with morality per se either!

    Maybe, your original post was not clear and then it is confusing, because I see one thing, and you certainly are making another case. Your case in the comments is nowhere clear in the original post. Yes, there is One God and One religion and One morality for all men but one is pulling a biblical story to different ends than its purpose.

    Karl Marx who was taught by Rabbi Moses Hess is about enacting this Talmudic teaching of universalism; all of this Tikkun Olam of fixing the world, is about restoring the unity of man. This is what the Tower of Babel teaches against. Are you not aware of Marxist/Talmudic teaching? Then, you've got to make distinctions. Dragging the Tower of Babel into this is not good. Political correctness, multiculturalism, Marxism, social democracy, and anti-racism embeded in these ideologies is about creating a one world by reversing the Tower of Babel.

    Are you purposely confusing things? The Tower of Babel has a simple teaching and story. The Golden Rule has nothing to do with the Tower of Babel.

  4. Lindsay: I'm sorry for my lack of clarity. I am the last person in the world who would be advocating a Masonic or Liberal or Humanist or Marxist or what you call a "Talmudic" universalism, which I all take to be a universalism that rejects that "scandal of particularity" and the "scandal of universality" which is the Word of God made Flesh, Jesus Christ, the Truth, the Way, and the Life. My point was that any universalism based on something other than Christ is building new Tower of Babel, a "tower of unbelief." "Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it." Psalm 127:1.