Today's Devotions

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Worth Considering: CS Lewis

  • On Easter Eggs: CS Lewis +

    There is a stage in a child's life at which it cannot separate the religious from the merely festal character Read More
  • What are we to make of Christ? by CS Lewis +

    Now, as a literary historian, I am perfectly convinced that whatever else the Gospels are they are not legends. I Read More
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594899577_ThvHp-TiNow, as a literary historian, I am perfectly convinced that whatever else the Gospels are they are not legends. I have read a great deal of legend and I am quite clear that they are not the same sort of thing.

They are not artistic enough to be legends. From an imaginative point of view they Ire clumsy, they don't work up to things properly. Most of the life of Jesus is totally unknown to us, as is the life of anyone else who lived at that time, and no people building up a legend would allow that to be so. Apart from bits of the Platonic dialogues, there are no conversations that I know of in ancient literature like the Fourth Gospel.

 

There is nothing, even in modern literature, until about a hundred years ago when the realistic novel came into existence. In the story of the woman taken in adultery we are told Christ bent down and scribbled in the dust with His finger. Nothing comes of this. No one has ever based any doctrine on it. And the art of inventing little irrelevant details to make an imaginary scene more convincing is a purely modern art. Surely the only explanation of this passage is that the thing really happened? The author put it in simply because he had seen it.

Then we come to the strangest story of all, the story of the Resurrection. It is very necessary to get the story clear. I heard a man say, "The importance of the Resurrection is that it gives evidence of survival, evidence that the human personality survives death." On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happened to all men, the difference being that in Christ's case we were privileged to see it happening. This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought.

Something perfectly new in the history of the Universe had happened. Christ had defeated death. The door which had always been locked had for the very first time been forced open. This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival. I don't mean that they disbelieved in ghost- survival. On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than one occasion, Christ had had to assure them that He was not a ghost. The point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection as something totally different and new.

The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the universe. Something new had appeared in the universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into "ghost" and "corpse". A new mode of being has arisen. That is the story. What are we going to make of it?

C.S. Lewis, "What are we to make of Jesus Christ?" (originally published 1950; this edition from The Essential C.S. Lewis (Touchstone, 1996)) 331-332.

http://www.merecslewis.blogspot.com/

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

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The Hit List

  • Living by Kingdom Narratives +

    The idea behind James Bryan Smith’s The Good and Beautiful God (InterVarsity Press, 2009) is twofold. First, spiritual growth generally Read More
  • Storytelling +

    Eugene Peterson discusses his influences as a writer, as well as how and why he created the Message translation. This Read More
  • Devotional Classics +

    This collection edited by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith and published by Harper Collins, is a collection of fifty-two Read More
  • Give My Soul Rest: the movie Avatar +

    Avatar, the 2009 movie by James Cameron, raised as much discussion and controversy through its piecemeal use of Native American, Read More
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Gems

  • Process +

      The finished diamond is one of the most beautiful and desirable gems. Read More
  • Not a Conscientious Objector +

    As we abide in him and he abides in us, we are receiving his life rather than creating our own Read More
  • Falling in Love With God +

    “falling in love with God,” as Boa’s subtitle for the facet explains. In this approach we attempt to enter into Read More
  • God's Dimension +

    We experience a great sense of the wonder, boldness, and overwhelming awe of God through our relationship with the Holy Read More
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