Presentation on theme: "Chapter one Lewis was warned not to include this section of the book, because the common man doesnt want theology But if theology is the study of God,"— Presentation transcript:
Chapter one Lewis was warned not to include this section of the book, because the common man doesnt want theology But if theology is the study of God, then he should, shouldnt he?
Anyone who wants to think about God at all should want to have the clearest ideas about him Anything else is like a child who doesnt want to get their homeworkthey just want to get it done
Theology is like a map to God Maps are based on the experience of many people Maps are the only way to know where you are and where youre going
Thinking about God is less real than experiencing God But to experience God consistently, we must learn how to get back to that spotthus, the map is necessary
A religion that only tries to feel God winds up leading nowhere To refuse to study theology does not mean that you wont have ideas about Godit only means youll have a lot of bad ideas
Most people treat Christianity as simple advice about how to live But we dont follow Platos ideas, or Aristotles, or Confuciusswhat makes us likely to follow Christs? Christianity is not advice on how to liveit is a way to be changed into a son of God.
A son of God is begotten, not created. To createto make To begetto become the father of I make a sculptureI beget a son.
Unsaved people are merely created by God; through Christ we become begotten by God
How can God be three personalities, but one God? Think of space In one dimension, you can only draw a straight line. In two dimensions, you can put straight lines together to draw a square In three dimensions, you can put squares together to draw a cube
As you advance in complexity, you put simpler things together in new, more advanced ways You could not imagine a cube if you lived in a one-D world. We people are one-dimensional in terms of personality
But couldnt God be three-dimensional? Doesnt it make sense that he would be more complex than us? And what about salvationwhen the Bible talks about having The mind of Christ, couldnt it be talking about a two-dimensional world of personalities? Or consider a Christian praying:
You are praying to God. But it is God that prompts you to pray to him through the Holy Spirit And it is only through Christ that we are able to approach God at all. So God is the goal we are after, the desire to get there, and the bridge we travel. In effect, the whole Trinity is involved in you saying your prayers at night.
We cannot know God unless he reveals himself. And he reveals himself more to some than others. Sunlight has no favorites, but it can only be reflected in a clean mirror. Based on this analogy, Lewis proposes that it is our job to clean our mirrors to most effectively reflect Gods light.
If Christianity were something we made up, of course we could make it easier. Anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.
One of the central difficulties we have in understanding God is grasping that he is outside time. Imagine him attending to everyones prayers at the same time. The problem is we cant grasp that he can do it all at the same moment because we know that we couldnt.
We experience time moment by moment. When one is over, another one shows up. We commit the fallacy of assuming that God experiences life this way as well. God has all of eternity to attend to each tiny detail of the universe.
Imagine a novelist writing the sentences The bell rang. Immediately, the class stood up and began moving toward the door. For the class in the story, the second sentence follows immediately on the tails of the first. But the novelist could have gone to the bathroom, cooked dinner, or taken a decade- long pilgrimage to the Himalayas between writing the first sentence and the second.
We begin to glimpse the way God might experience existence in this way…not bound by our time, because he created our time. Of course, in the analogy, the author is still bound by timeits just a different time. God is not bound by time at all.\ Picture a timeline. We imagine time this way because it seems to make sense. God is not in the timeline. God is the page on which the timeline is drawn. Because of this, he can see all of history simultaneously.
We cant do this. We must leave moment 1 to get to moment 2, and then leave it to get to moment 3… The benefit of these ideas is that they remove some objections to Christianity The free will question The predestination question
Imagine two books lying on a table, one on top of the other Book A, on bottom, is the cause of Bs position, on top We tend to think of cause / effect as a temporal thing…but it doesnt necessarily have to be that way. If both books had been there forever, then A would have been causing Bs position forever, but As position wouldnt have been there first.
This illustrates the relationship between the Father and Son…they have been in their positions eternally. The son is the self-expression of the Father, and the Father has been expressing himself eternally. We say that God is Love, which has no meaning unless God contains two persons. And since he doesnt change, he must always have contained at least two persons.
And the Spirit is this love that has existed eternally between the Father and Son, just like school spirit is the frame of mind that exists among a body of students who share a common goal All of this matters because we were created to take part in this three-Personal life.
Lewis calls this Good Infection that we are to catch by somehow sharing in the life of Christ, a life that has always existed and will always exist.
The two kinds of life (bios and zoe) are opposed. Bios is self centered and wants only its own best interest served Zoe is God-centered and wants only to lose itself in the will of God, which involves serving Him and others
If you learned how to turn them into real men, are you certain they would want that? All they know is how to be tin. And if the first process looked painful, theres no guarantee that the rest of them would ever agree to be made real
Jesus became a flesh man who was completely caught up into the life of God This meant the killing of everything about himself that was human, including his flesh But the spirit in him, united to God, rose againand brought the flesh with it. One tin soldier had come to life.
Lewis views this as good infection that began to spread throughout the human organism
Why didnt God choose to beget many sons of God at the beginning, rather than creating us and then changing us through this painful process? We dont know that the process had to be painful. Remember, we turned away from God in the beginning, and we choose to turn still today. It is our rebellion, not Gods plan, that makes it painful.
It is ridiculous to discuss what could have been regarding God. This ink could have been red if the printer had chosen to use red ink…but God is infinitely more holy and complex than a simple ink cartridge choice. Even God points this out in the name he gives to Moses, I am that I am. He is what he is, and thats all there is to it.
Christianity thinks about people interconnected, as if they were branches on a tree, or organs in a body. There are two ways we mess this up: Individualists see people as disconnected, free to act as they wish and be whom they wish without regard for how it affects the rest of the body. Totalitarians see people as identical; they want to suppress differences and make people all alike.
As Christians, we must avoid both of these errors. And we must realize that they are both equal errors. The devil often tempts us by providing pairs of errors, and letting us choose which of the two is better.
Lewis spends some time in discussion of how Christianity works in practice. The first words of the lords Prayer: Our Father. But he is not, not in the same sense that he was Christs father. When we say this, we are dressing up like Christ.
The first is when the pretence takes the place of the real thing, like someone who pretends to be your friend just so they can stab you in the back, or someone who pretends to love you, just so they can sleep with you. The good kind is when the pretence leads to the real thing, like children playing at having manners (tea party) or being courageous (cowboys and Indians)
The pretence of dressing up as Christ is pretending of the second order. And in doing it, we are led to realize where its still pretence. This shows us what to change. Praying, then, is a way of catching the good infection from God himself. We also catch it from books, from Nature, from experience, from other people.
People are carriers of Christ. The odd thing is, just as you can carry TB without having TB, sometimes Christ is carried to us by a non- Christian. Notice something again…none of this sounds like read what Christ said and try to do it. The NT talks about putting on Christ, being born again, Christ being formed in us, about us having the mind of Christ. It all refers to us changing, not acting.
At first, we can only be like Christ for moments at a time. But as he changes us, and we submit to it, we notice that we can do it longer. And we notice two other things. We begin to notice our sinfulness more than our acts of sin. We worry not about what we do, but about who we are.
What a man does when he is taken off guard is the best example of who he is. Trying situations dont make us evil; they reveal the evil that was already there. Because of this, we begin to realize that we can only change from within, through God.
We begin to realize that it is God who changes us, God who shapes us, God who does everything we cannot do for ourselves.
This idea of dressing up like Christ is different from the normal idea of being good. The normal idea of being good tries to retain some of our own desires and will; we are like a man who pays his taxes, hoping there will be enough left to live on.
Either we give up trying Or we become very unhappy This is because it is impossible to be both your own person and Gods person.
The Christian way is both harder and easier. It is harder because God requires everything. He leaves nothing for ourselves. He doesnt want to prune a branch, but to cut the tree down and grow a new one. It is easier because it takes us out of the equation. We know we cannot succeed, except by His grace, so we rely on his grace rather than ourselves.
It is impossible to have as your goal both personal happiness and comfort and security and success and the will of God for your life. Jesus said a thistle cannot produce figs. We must be plowed up and resown. Its no use trying to be a very good egg when Christ called you to be a bird.
The first job of a Christian each morning is to quiet the thousand voices and desires that assault our mind as soon as we wake up. We can only do this a little at first…but it gradually grows in our system Jesus said be perfect… which we cant do, but He can.
A lot of people are bothered by Christs command to be ye perfect. They think it means unless youre perfect, I wont help you. Instead, what it actually means is the only help Ill give you is help to become perfect, even though you want something less.
Think about a child with a toothache. Often they refuse to tell their parents, because their parents will give them medicine…but they will also take them to the dentist. A lot of people go to Christ to be cured of some particular sin of which they are ashamed He wont stop after its cured. He goes on to cure a lot of things you didnt know were sick to begin with.
This is why Christ warns his disciples to count the cost of following him. And yet, as he demands perfection, he is also pleased with the first feeble steps you take. Every father is pleased with his sons first attempt to walk. No father would be pleased with that walk when the kids 24.
God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy Many of us start resisting God just at the point when hes beginning to make us into something great…and also, a lot of babies get really upset about coming out of the womb. This explains the role of suffering in the life of the mature Christian. We usually think that tragedy made sense as a way to shake us out of our gross sin, but once were good people, we expect things to go smoothly.
The problems are the way God reminds us that were not yet perfect.
An obvious question: if Christianity is true, why arent all Christians nicer than all non- Christians? If conversion makes no difference in a persons behavior, then we must question if conversion happened at all.
Christ told us to judge by results…he called them fruit
Two explanations for this phenomenon of unnice Christians and nice unbelievers The world is not a black and white place. A lot of Christians are slowly moving in the opposite direction, and a lot of unbelievers are sort of slowly putting this whole God thing together We often dont know the starting material (remember?) of the Christians we judge.
Any person who is a Christian is better now than they were before accepting Christ Any person who is a Christian is better now than they would be if they werent a Christian
A further thought: niceness is Gods gift to some people…it in no way correlates with belief in God. As long as we believe our niceness is our own, we dont recognize it as Gods gift to us. This explains why so many reprobates come to faith in Christ, but a whole lot of really good people dont believe in Him…they dont know they need him and they give themselves credit for their niceness.
Think of Christ: how hard it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Couldnt this monetary point be applied to moral riches as well?