Chapter Two


50 By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the 36 basis of his works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation.’ Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from all io66 eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our LordJesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

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God Reveals His ‘Plan of Loving Goodness’

~i ‘It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men 2823 should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine 1996 nature. ~2 52 God, who ‘dwells in unapproachable light’, wants to commu nicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son.3 By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity. 53 The divine plan of Revelation is realized simultaneously ‘by deeds and words which are intrinsically bound up with each other’4 and shed light on each another. It involves a specific divine pedagogy: God communicates himself to man gradually. He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word, 1953, 1950 Jesus Christ.

St Irenaeus of Lyons repeatedly speaks of this divine pedagogy using the image of God and man becoming accustomed to one another: The Word of God dwelt in man and became the Son of man in order to accustom