The language of the common good, like the language of property which exemplifies it, is Janus-faced. Looking back it points to a concrete givenness of community, a present and existing form within which we have been given to communicate with others, and which we cannot ignore without great blame. Looking forward, it can invite us to think of a City of God, a sphere of universal community, and encourage us to seek intimations of it from the future. But only so far can it take us. It cannot ease us through the portals of the City of God up the steps of a ladder of dialectical reconciliations.
Whereas in modern times Genesis has been read in the light of Exodus, and creation has been understood in the light of redemption and the giving of the law at Mount Sinai, it now seems clear that one must reverse the order Exodus is to be understood in the light of Genesis and redemption and law in the light of creation.