January 30, 2014
"One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important."

— C.S. Lewis

November 21, 2012
"Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn."

— C.S. Lewis

July 26, 2011
Just finished this book. Fantastic.

Just finished this book. Fantastic.

July 14, 2011
"Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be sons of God. We shall love the Father as He does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us. He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has — by what I call “good infection.” Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else."

C.S. Lewis, an excerpt from Mere Christianity

July 8, 2011
Making and Begetting

I just read the first chapter, “Making and Begetting”, in Book IV of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. It hit me really hard. This chapter, among with every chapter of this book, has an insane amount of truth in it. I need to share it with everyone so they can get a glimpse of what it means to be Sons of God and how we differentiate from the one and only Son of God.

 

    Making and Begetting

	Everyone  has warned me not to tell you what I am  going to tell you in
this last book.  They  all say "the ordinary reader does  not want Theology;
give  him plain practical religion." I  have rejected their advice. I do not
think the  ordinary reader  is  such  a fool. Theology means "the science of
God," and I think any man who wants to think about God at all  would like to
have the clearest and most accurate ideas about Him which are available. You
are not children: why should you be treated like children?
	In a way I quite  understand why some people are put off by Theology. I
remember  once  when  I  had  been giving  a  talk  to  the  RA.F., an  old,
hard-bitten officer got  up and said, "I've no use  for all that stuff. But,
mind you,  I'm a religious man too. I know there's a God. I've felt Him: out
alone in the desert at night: the tremendous  mystery. And that's just why I
don't believe all your neat little  dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone
who's met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal!"
	Now in a  sense I quite agreed  with that man.  I think he had probably
had a real experience of God in  the  desert.  And when he  turned from that
experience  to  the  Christian creeds, I think  he really was  turning  from
something real to something less real.  In the same  way,  if a man has once
looked at the Atlantic  from the beach,  and then goes and looks at a map of
the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real  to something less
real: turning from real waves to a bit of coloured paper. But here comes the
point. The map is admittedly only coloured paper, but  there are  two things
you  have  to remember about  it. In the  first place,  it is  based on what
hundreds  and  thousands  of  people  have found  out  by  sailing the  real
Atlantic. In that way it  has behind it masses of experience just as real as
the one you could have  from the  beach; only, while yours would be a single
isolated glimpse, the map fits all those  different experiences together. In
the  second  place,  if  you want  to  go  anywhere,  the  map is absolutely
necessary. As long  as  you are  content with walks on  the beach,  your own
glimpses are far more fun than  looking at a map. But the map is going to be
more use than walks on the beach if you want to get to America.
		
 	Now, Theology  is like the  map. Merely learning and thinking about the
Christian doctrines, if  you stop there, is less real and less exciting than
the sort  of thing my friend got  in the desert. Doctrines are not God: they
are only a  kind of map. But that map is based on the experience of hundreds
of people who really were  in touch with God-experiences compared with which
any thrills or  pious feelings you and I  are likely to  get on our own  are
very  elementary  and  very  confused. And  secondly, if you want to get any
further, you  must  use the map. You  see, what  happened to that man in the
desert may have been real, and was certainly exciting, but nothing comes  of
it. It leads nowhere. There is nothing to do about it In fact, that  is just
why  a vague  religion-all  about feeling God  in nature,  and so  on-is  so
attractive. It is all  thrills and no work; like watching the waves from the
beach. But you will not get to  Newfoundland  by studying  the Atlantic that
way, and you will not get eternal life by simply feeling the presence of God
in  flowers or music. Neither  will  you  get anywhere  by looking  at  maps
without going to sea. Nor will you be very safe if  you go to sea  without a
map.
	In  other words, Theology is practical: especially now. In Ac old days,
when there was less education and discussion, perhaps it was possible to get
on with  a very few simple ideas about God. But it  is not  so now. Everyone
reads, everyone hears things discussed.  Consequently,  if you do not listen
to Theology, that will not mean  that  you have no  ideas about God. It will
mean that you have a lot  of wrong ones-bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas. For
a great many of the ideas  about  God which  are  trotted out  as  novelties
today, are  simply  the ones which real  Theologians tried centuries ago and
rejected.  To   believe  in  the  popular  religion  of  modern  England  is
retrogression-like believing the earth is fiat.
	For when you get down  to it, is not the  popular  idea of Christianity
simply this: that Jesus Christ was a great moral teacher and that if only we
took his advice we might be able to  establish  a  better  social  order and
avoid another war? Now, mind you, that  is quite true. But it tells you much
less than  the  whole  truth  about  Christianity  and  it has no  practical
importance at all.
	It  is quite true  that if we  took Christ's advice we  should  soon be
living in a happier world. You need not even  go as far as Christ. If we did
all that Plato or Aristotle or Confucius told us, we should  get on  a great
deal better than we do. And so what? We never have followed  the  advice  of
the great  teachers. Why are we likely to begin now? Why  are we more likely
to  follow  Christ  than any of the  others? Because he  is the  best  moral
teacher? But that makes it even less likely that  we shall follow him. If we
cannot  take the elementary lessons, is  it likely we  are going to take the
most advanced one? If Christianity  only means one  more bit of good advice,
then Christianity is of no importance. There has been no lack of good advice
for the last four thousand years. A bit more makes no difference.
	But as soon as  you look at any real Christian writings,  you find that
they are talking about something quite different from this popular religion.
They say that Christ is the Son of God (whatever that  means). They say that
those who give Him  their confidence can also become Sons  of God  (whatever
that means). They say that His death saved  us from our sins (whatever  that
means).
	There  is no  good  complaining that  these  statements  are  difficult
Christianity  claims  to be  telling us about another world, about something
behind the  world we  can touch and  hear  and see. You may think  the claim
false;  but  if  it  were  true, what  it  tells us  would be  bound  to  be
difficult-at least as difficult as modern Physics, and for the same reason.
	Now the point in Christianity which gives us the greatest  shock is the
statement that by  attaching ourselves to  Christ, we  can  "become Sons  of
God." One asks "Aren't we Sons of God  already? Surely the fatherhood of God
is one of  the main Christian ideas?" Well, in a certain sense, no doubt  we
are sons of God already. I mean, God has brought us into existence and loves
us and looks after us, and in that way is  like a father. But when the Bible
talks  of our  "becoming" Sons of  God, obviously  it  must  mean  something
different. And that brings us up against the very centre of Theology.
	One  of  the creeds  says that Christ is the Son of God "begotten,  not
created"; and it  adds  "begotten by his Father before all worlds." Will you
please get it quite clear  that this has  nothing  to do  with the fact that
when Christ was born on earth as a man, that man was the son of a virgin? We
are not now thinking about the Virgin Birth. We are thinking about something
that happened before  Nature was created at all, before time  began. "Before
all worlds" Christ is begotten, not created. What does it mean?
	We don't use the words  begetting or  begotten much in modern English,
but  everyone still  knows  what they mean. To beget is to become the father
of:  to create is  to make. And the difference is this. When  you beget, you
beget something of  the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies,  a
beaver begets  little  beavers and a bird begets eggs which turn into little
birds. But when  you  make,  you make  something  of a  different  kind from
yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, a man makes a wireless
set-or he  may make  something more like himself than a wireless set: say, a
statue. If he is a clever enough carver  he may make  a statue which is very
like a man indeed. But, of  course, it is not a real man; it only looks like
one. It cannot breathe or think. It is not alive.
	Now that is the first thing to get clear. What God begets  is God; just
as  what man begets is man.  What God creates  is not God; just as  what man
makes is not man. That is  why men are not Sons of  God in  the  sense  that
Christ is. They may be like God in certain ways, but they are not things  of
the same kind. They are more like statues or pictures of God.
	A statue has the shape of a man but  it 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.  When we  come  on  to the  animals, we find  other  kinds of
resemblance  in  addition  to  biological life.  The  intense  activity  and
fertility of the insects, for  example, is a first  dim  resemblance to  the
unceasing activity and the creativeness of God. In the higher mammals we get
the beginnings of instinctive  affection. That is not  the same thing as the
love that exists in God: but it is like it-rather in the  way that a picture
drawn on a flat piece of  paper can nevertheless be "like" a landscape. When
we  come  to  man,  the  highest  of  the animals,  we  get  the  completest
resemblance to God which we know of. (There may be creatures in other worlds
who are more like God  than man is, but we  do not know about them.) Man not
only lives, but loves and reasons: biological life reaches its highest known
level in him.
	But what  man,  in  his natural condition,  has not  got, is  Spiritual
life-the  higher and different sort of life that exists in God.  We use  the
same word life for both: but  if you thought that both must therefore be the
same  sort  of  thing, that would be like thinking  that the  "greatness" of
space  and  the  "greatness" of  God  were  the  same  sort of greatness. In
reality, the  difference between  Biological  life and spiritual life  is so
important that  I  am  going to give them two distinct names. The Biological
sort which comes  to us through Nature, and  which (like  everything else in
Nature) is always  tending to run down and decay so that it can only be kept
up by incessant subsidies from Nature in the form of air, water, food, etc.,
is Bios. The Spiritual life  which is in  God from  all eternity, and  which
made the whole natural  universe, is Zoe. Bios has,  to  be sure, a  certain
shadowy or  symbolic resemblance  to  Zoe: but only  the sort of resemblance
there is between a photo  and  a  place, or  a statue  and a man. A  man who
changed from  having Bios  to having Zoe  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 us are some day going to come to life.

May 24, 2011
"In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that - and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison - you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you."

C.S. Lewis, an excerpt from Mere Christianity