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96. The Ruling Power of Man in the State of Innocence

1. The first man had absolute rule and command over theanimate creatures of the earth. For God said (Gen. 1:26): "Lethim [man] have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the birdsof the air, and the beasts of the earth." Now dominion meanslordship, mastership, even ownership. All sentient creatures obeyedinnocent man and none disobeyed him. When, however, man disobeyedGod, these sentient creatures were no longer subject to man'sabsolute control or mastership.

2. Man was created as master of all earthly creatures. Andhe was master of his own powers and tendencies, finding in them norebellion against his reason, that is, against his intellectuallyenlightened free will.

3. Human beings are all equal as images and children ofGod. But, as we plainly see, there are otherwise many inequalitiesamong human beings. They differ in sex, size, age, tastes, manners,abilities, health, strength, skills, and in countless other ways.Now, in the state of innocence there would have been some of theseinequalities, but none that involved defect or fault, whether ofsoul or of body.

4. In the state of innocence, man could not have beenmaster of other men in the sense of holding them in thrall orslavery. But there would still have been need of a social order;there would have been rulers and subjects. Parents, too, would haveruled and guided their children. But there would have been noharshness of rule, no injustice, no resentment in those ruledagainst their rulers.

"The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it."
R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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"God looks neither at long nor beautiful prayers, but at those that come from the heart."
The Cure D'Ars

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"Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life eases the mind and a clean conscience inspires great trust in God."
Thomas á Kempis

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