Quote: C.S. Lewis on God’s creativity

25 07 2009

Last night, I found myself re-reading part of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Lately I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be created in the image of God, but Lewis describes it much more eloquently  than I ever could:

“A statue has the shape of a man but is not alive.  In the same way, man has (in a sense I am going to explain) the ‘shape’ or likeness of God, but he has not got the kind of life God has.  Let us take the first point (man’s resemblance to God) first.  Everything God has made has some likeness to Himself.  Space is like Him in its hugeness: not that the greatness of space is the same kind of greatness as God’s, but it is a sort of symbol of it, or a translation of it into non-spiritual terms. Matter is like God in having energy: though, again, of course, physical energy is a different kind of thing from the power of God.  The vegetable world is like Him because it is alive, and He is the ‘living God’.  But life, in this biological sense, is not the same as the life there is in God: it is only a kind of symbol or shadow of it.”

Lewis goes on to explain that even though humanity is the closest resemblance to God that we know of (in that we can create, love, reason, etc.), we still are part of the natural world and cannot possess spiritual life on our own:

“A man who changed from having [natural life] to having [spiritual life] would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man.

And that is precisely what Christianity is about.  This world is a great sculptor’s shop.  We are the statues and there is a rumour going round the shop that some of use are some day going to come to life.”

(from Mere Christianity, book 4, chapter 1)

Lunatic Gospel, part 1

17 07 2009

About a year ago, I started a blog to track my journey of reading through the entire Bible, all the way from Genesis to Revelation.  The project was called “The Lunatic Gospel” (explanation below).  My intentions started out great: I read, I questioned, I blogged … for about two or three days in a row.  Then there were gaps: first a few days, then a few weeks; then, months went by without a new post.  It wasn’t that I never picked up my Bible, but blogging about it took more energy than I usually had to spare by the end of the day.

I’m discontinuing the old blog, but not the intent of the project; instead, I’ll continue my quest through the Bible in this forum every week or so: kind of like a disjointed mini-series.   The Lunatic Gospel posts will simply be mixed in among the other writing, music, and art that this site has to offer.

But wait! What exactly is the Lunatic Gospel?

Oh yeah, good question!  Here is my introduction to the concept, originally posted at http://thelunaticgospel.blogspot.com:

C. S. Lewis wrote: “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.”

Or, as my friend Arden put it: “Have you ever read the gospel of Mark? Like, really read it? It makes Jesus sounds like a crazy person!”

Is it blasphemy to call Jesus crazy? Is it libel? Slander? Useless psychobabble?

Or is it something else entirely: something new, something fresh, and above all, something honest?

There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus is the Son of God. He is the Christ: the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. But I think it’s equally possible that, at least by human standards, he was probably a little bit off his rocker. And that’s okay with me. If it made perfect sense all the time, it wouldn’t be worth it.

I want to reclaim the lunacy of this gospel: this strange and wondrous book that has turned human society on its head over the course of many, many centuries. I want to embrace its contradictions and its paradoxes, its extremism and its haunting beauty. I want to read it with fresh eyes and just see where it goes, without falling back on preconceived Sunday-School answers as the neat conclusions to each chapter.

And maybe…just maybe…I can even reclaim that little bit of a lunatic that exists in me.