“We are what we love. If we love God, in whose image we were created, we discover ourselves in him and we cannot help being happy: we have already achieved something of the fullness of being for which we were destined in our creation. If we love everything else but God, we contradict the image born in our very essence, and we cannot help being unhappy, because we are living a caricature of what we are meant to be.” – Thomas Merton, A Book of Hours
Sometimes I wonder what makes people do terrible things that seem obviously evil. Why do it? For it would seem even without religious laws against such deeds, the natural conscience of man would feel repulsed in doing them.
Maybe there is really an influence of original sin in us all, and this is like a beast just waiting to be released with all its tendencies to evil. Many times, all it needs is just a license from something or someone to say that it’s alright, that it can even be good to follow these instincts. And the beast is unleashed, seeking the ruin of others and eventually, the ruin of self.
On the other hand, I also believe that there lies buried beneath all these, the original image of our humanity, a humanity made in God’s own image. This is our truly natural state, the core of that Divine spark within us. And this humanity is what helps us recognize the beauty of goodness, compassion and every other virtue that lifts us beyond the instincts of the beast. This is our true self, and this is what enables us to realize that it is not the beast that we want to win, it is not the beast we want to become.
And so there will be two forces throughout man’s history that will always struggle with one another. The one that thinks it is the beast that must be set free. And the other that remembers its true self and its divine origin, that realizes we can never find our truest desires as long as we succumb to the instincts of the beast.
God said, “Let’s make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1, WEBBE