Mere Christianity: Part VI

This is a special post: it is my hundredth blog post. I’ve actually found something to say 100 times…

Continuing with the matter at hand:

Book IV: Beyond personality: Or first steps in the doctrine of the trinity.

Lewis starts off by telling his reader that he’d been warned not to write a section on theology, since ordinary readers want “plain practical religion”.  His rebuttal is that we’re not children, and therefore shouldn’t be treated as children. And thus he launches into 11 chapters of doctrine. I’ll simply provide some highlights, since I don’t feel that I could adequately summarise the content.

Making and begetting

One of the creeds states that Christ was “begotten, not created”. To beget is to become the father of; to create is to make.

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 statue. …

… 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.

How do we become “sons of God”? All creation has some likeness of God in it, but none more so than man. However, man in his natural condition lacks spiritual life. This life is found in God, and once we receive it, we become sons of God, in a similar way in which Christ is the Son of God. This is the analogy he gives:

This world is a great sculptor’s shop.We are the statues and there is rumour going round the shop that some of us are someday going to come to life.

Our sinfulness

When we begin to live a new life in Christ, we become particularly aware of our sinfulness. We may be appalled at some outburst we made in the heat of the moment.

Surely what pops out before  the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar, you are most likely to see them if you go in suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am.


Is Christianity hard or easy?

Is putting on Christ hard or easy? Both, says Lewis.

Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self but to kill it…’

Continue to Part 7.