CHAPTER I: THE SUPREME AUTHORITY OF GOD OVER ALL SOCIETY
T. You know, of course, the first articles of the Apostles' Creed. "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord." The Church expresses the same truth in the Creed at Mass. " I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages."
S. Yes, but what do you mean by the words "Creator (Maker) of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible"?
T. By those words I mean that everything that exists other than God has been made by God, and that all things visible and invisible have been created by Him.
S. What distinction do you make between visible and invisible things?
T. On the one hand, there are things which fall under the sense of sight, of hearing, or of the other senses, which are in some way tangible: these are the visible things. There are, on the other hand, things which really exist, of which one can have knowledge, but which cannot be perceived by the senses.
S. Would you kindly give some examples of invisible things.
T. The angels, the human soul, human thought and will, human power and authority---these are all examples of invisible things.
S. But is not human society also an invisible thing?
T. It is not visible in the sense that one can handle and touch it, but it is fully perceptible in the sense that one can see that it exists. Thus, for instance, it is easy to perceive that one nation is distinct from another, and that an association, public or private, is distinct from any other association.
S. Then society, whether considered as visible or invisible, is a creature?
T. Yes, and when in the Creed we say " I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible," we solemnly declare that every society, as well as man himself has been created by God, and consequently depends upon Him absolutely. This doctrine holds for every society, whether natural, that is to say, founded in a profound inclination of human nature, or voluntary, that is to say due to the action of the human will.
S. May I have some proofs of the created nature of society?
T. Besides the testimony of the Holy Ghost in Scripture, and the testimony of Holy Church, proofs from reason can be brought forward. Every society is made up of men. Every man is a creature. It follows that the relations of men with one another are created. Moreover, every society, like every nation, forms a real entity. This entity is a moral whole, having a real existence other than God's existence.
Since it is not God, it has been created by God, and accordingly it must be dependent on Him in an absolute fashion, as every creature is dependent on its Creator.
Another fundamental truth is this: man does not depend on God solely because he is a creature, but also because God is his supreme and final end. It is evident that the last end of every created thing is God. But more especially is God the last end, supreme and infinite, of every intelligent creature. Man is made to attain to God. He must understand that he has been created for this end and must desire to reach it. Now God has endowed man with a nature such that he cannot live otherwise than in society. As a social being, then, man must have God as his final and supreme end. Unless we hold this we must hold that man finds the end of society in society itself, which would be to make of society and idol. Societies are not eternal. It is clear then that their ultimate end lies in this---that, in and through them, the intellect and the will of their members should attain to God.