GENERAL AUDIENCE OF 9 JANUARY 
During the general audience on 9 January the Holy Father delivered
the following address.
1. Rereading and analyzing the second narrative of creation, the Yahwist
text, we must ask ourselves if the first "man" ('adam), in his
original solitude, really "lived" the world as a gift, with an attitude
in conformity with the actual condition of one who has received a gift,
as is seen from the narrative in the first chapter. The second narrative
shows us man in the garden of Eden (cf. Gn 2:8). Though man was in this
situation of original happiness, the Creator himself (God-Yahweh) and
then also "man," pointed out that man was aloneinstead
of stressing the aspect of the world as a subjectively beatifying gift
created for man (cf. the first narrative and in particular Gn 26:29).
We have already analyzed the meaning of original solitude. Now we must
note that a certain lack of good clearly appears for the first time: "It
is not good that man should be alone"God-Yahweh
will make him a helper..." (Gn 2:18). The first man said the same thing.
After having become thoroughly aware of his own solitude among all
living beings on earth, waited for "a helper fit for him" (cf. Gn 2:20).
None of these beings (animalia) offered man the basic conditions
which make it possible to exist in a relationship of mutual giving.
With and for someone
2. In this way, therefore, these two expressions, namely, the
adjective "alone" and the noun "helper," seem to be really the key to
understand the very essence of the gift at the level of man, as
existential content contained in the truth of the "image of God." In
fact, the gift reveals, so to speak, a particular characteristic of
personal existence, or rather, of the essence of the person. When
God-Yahweh said, "It is not good that man should be alone," (Gn 2:18) he
affirmed that "alone," man does not completely realize this essence. He
realizes it only by existing "with someone"and
even more deeply and completelyby
existing "for someone."
This norm of existence as a person is shown in Genesis as characteristic
of creation, precisely by means of the meaning of these two words:
"alone" and "helper." These words indicate as fundamental and
constitutive for man both the relationship and the communion of persons.
The communion of persons means existing in a mutual "for," in a
relationship of mutual gift. This relationship is precisely the
fulfillment of "man's" original solitude.
Effected by love
3. This fulfillment is, in its origin, beatifying. It is certainly
implicit in man's original happiness, and constitutes that happiness
which belongs to the mystery of creation effected by love, which belongs
to the essence of creative giving. When man, the male, awakening from
the sleep of Genesis, saw the female, drawn from him, he said: "This at
last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (Gen 2:23). These words
express, in a way, the subjectively beatifying beginning of human
existence in the world. Since it took place at the "beginning," this
confirms the process of individuation of man in the world. It springs
from the depths of his human solitude, which he lives as a person in the
presence of all other creatures and all living beings (animalia).
This "beginning" belongs to an adequate anthropology and can always be
verified on the basis of the latter. This purely anthropological
verification brings us, at the same time, to the subject of the "person"
and to the subject of the "body-sex." This simultaneousness is
essential. If we dealt with sex without the person, the whole adequacy
of the anthropology which we find in Genesis would be destroyed. For our
theological study the essential light of the revelation of the body,
which appears so fully in these first affirmations, would then be
Body expresses person
4. There is a deep connection between the mystery of creation, as a
gift springing from love, and that beatifying "beginning" of the
existence of man as male and female, in the whole truth of their body
and their sex, which is the pure and simple truth of communion between
persons. When the first man exclaimed, at the sight of the woman: "This
is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh" (Gn 2:23), he merely
affirmed the human identity of both. Exclaiming in this way, he seems to
say: here is a body that expresses the person!
Following a preceding passage of the Yahwist text, it can also be said
that this "body" reveals the "living soul," such as man became when
God-Yahweh breathed life into him (cf. Gn 2:7). This resulted in his
solitude before all other living beings. By traversing the depth of that
original solitude, man now emerged in the dimension of the mutual gift.
The expression of that giftand
for that reason the expression of his existence as a personis
the human body in all the original truth of its masculinity and
The body which expresses femininity manifests the reciprocity and
communion of persons. It expresses it by means of the gift as the
fundamental characteristic of personal existence. This is the body, a
witness to creation as a fundamental gift, and so a witness to Love as
the source from which this same giving springs. Masculinity and
the original sign of a creative donation and an awareness on the part of
man, male-female, of a gift lived in an original way. Such is the
meaning with which sex enters the theology of the body.
5. That beatifying "beginning" of man's being and existing, as male
and female, is connected with the revelation and discovery of the
meaning of the body, which can be called "nuptial." If we speak of
revelation and at the same time of discovery, we do so in relation to
the specificity of the Yahwist text. In it, the theological thread is
also anthropological, appearing as a certain reality consciously lived
We have already observed that the words which express the first joy of
man's coming to existence as "male and female" (Gn 2:23) are followed by
the verse which establishes their conjugal unity (cf. Gn 2:24). Then
follows the verse which testifies to the nakedness of both, without
mutual shame (Gn 2:25). This significant confrontation enables us to
speak of the revelation and at the same time the discovery of the
"nuptial" meaning of the body in the mystery of creation.
This meaning (inasmuch as it is revealed and also conscious, "lived" by
man) confirms completely that the creative giving, which springs from
Love, has reached the original consciousness of man. It becomes an
experience of mutual giving, as can already be seen in the ancient text.
That nakedness of both progenitors, free from shame, seems also to bear
witness to thatperhaps
Blessing of fertility
6. Genesis 2:24 speaks of the finality of man's masculinity and
femininity, in the life of the spouses-parents. Uniting with each other
so closely as to become "one flesh," they will subject their humanity to
the blessing of fertility, namely, "procreation," which the first
narrative speaks of (cf. Gn 1:28). Man comes "into being" with
consciousness of this finality of his own masculinity-femininity, that
is, of his own sexuality. At the same time, the words of Genesis 2:25:
"They were both naked, and were not ashamed," seem to add to this
fundamental truth of the meaning of the human body, of its masculinity
and femininity, another no less essential and fundamental truth. Aware
of the procreative capacity of his body and of his sexuality, man is at
the same time "free from the constraint" of his own body and sex.
That original nakedness, mutual and at the same time not weighed down by
shame, expresses this interior freedom of man. Is this what freedom from
the "sexual instinct" is? The concept of "instinct" already implies an
interior constraint, similar to the instinct that stimulates fertility
and procreation in the whole world of living beings (animalia).
It seems, however, that both texts of Genesis, the first and the second
narrative of the creation of man, connected sufficiently the perspective
of procreation with the fundamental characteristic of human existence in
the personal sense. Consequently the analogy of the human body and of
sex in relation to the world of animalswhich
we can call an analogy of natureis
also raised, in a way, in both narratives (though in a different way in
each), to the level of "image of God," and to the level of the person
and communion between persons.
It will be necessary to dedicate other further analyses to this
essential problem. For the conscience of manalso
for modern manit
is important to know that the revelation of the "nuptial meaning of the
body" is found in those biblical texts which speak of the "beginning" of
man. But it is even more important to establish what this meaning