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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity—Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

"Everyone has warned me not to tell you what I am going to tell you in this last book," begins C.S. Lewis. What is supposedly the problem? "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?"

"If a man has ... looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then ... looks at a map of the Atlantic, he ... will be turning from something real to something less real: turning from real waves to a bit of colored paper. But ... the map ... is  based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic.... If you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary.... Theology is like the map ... based on the experience of hundreds of people who really were in touch with Godexperiences compared with which any thrills or pious feelings you and I are likely to get on our own are very elementary and confused.... 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.... Theology is practical.... If you do not listen to Theology ... it will mean that you have a lot of wrong...muddled, out-of-date ideas.... Many of the ideas about God ... trotted out as novelties today are...ones that real theologians tried centuries ago and rejected."

"By attaching ourselves to Christ, we can 'become Sons of God.' One asks, 'Aren't we Sons of God already?'... 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.... 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'.... When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies ... but when you make, you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest.... What God begets is God.... What God creates is not God.... That is why men are not Sons of God in the sense that Christ is.

"What man, in his natural condition, has not got is Spiritual lifethe higher and different sort of life that exists in God.... The Biological sort that comes to us through Nature ... is always tending to run down and decay so that it can only be kept up by incessant subsidies ... in the form of air, water, food ... is Bios. The Spiritual life, which is in God from all eternity and which made the whole natural universe, is Zoe.... A man who changed from having Bios to Zoe would have gone through as big a change as a statue that 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 rumor going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life."
 
Highlights from Chapter 1: Making and Begetting from Book 4: Beyond Personality, or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity in Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Click here for a clear view of how this chapter relates to the whole book. 

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