“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

C. S. Lewis on Miracles, part 2

…Lewis compares God to a poet, a painter, and an author. The poet works with a meter or rhyming scheme, and the painter has certain techniques, but neither is constrained to write or paint totally within the boundaries of these structures. The poet may break from his meter for a line in order to emphasize a point to which the meter itself also contributes, or to form some beauty in the contrast between the meter and the break in the pattern. All this is done in order to make the poem more complete and beautiful as a whole. Lewis writes, “There are rules behind the rules, and unity which is deeper than uniformity.”

Lastly, Lewis refers to the writings of Dorothy Sayers, in which God is viewed as an author, and reality as a story. Some object that miracles would be inconsistent events and poor story elements because they come out of nowhere and do not fit with the rest of the story, just as it would be a poor story element to have the main character escape from trouble by inheriting a large sum of money from some completely unknown source.

“Now there is no doubt that a great deal of the modern objection to miracles is based on the suspicion that they are marvels of the wrong sort; that a story of a certain kind (Nature) is arbitrarily interfered with, to get the characters out of a difficulty, by events that do not really belong to that kind of story.”
But this could not be further from the truth:
“If they have occurred, they have occurred because they are the very thing this universal story is about…They are precisely those chapters in this great story on which the plot turns. Death and resurrection are what the story is about.”
Indeed, Lewis goes on to write how the “Grand Miracle,” the death and resurrection of Christ, is the very center of the story, on which everything else depends, and without which the story would make no sense. It is not an inconsistency, but the most consistent and essential element. The theological and narrative inconsistency that exists without miracles (and the resurrection in particular) is much more severe than any apparent physical inconsistency resulting from miraculous events.

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