“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

Sunday, March 15, 2009

C. S. Lewis on Death Defeating Death

Consider the beauty of paradox in God’s way of defeating death through death:

“On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more. On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall. Death…is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which he conquered.” – C. S. Lewis, Miracles, ch. 14*

“In a general way it is not difficult to understand how the same thing can be a masterstroke on the part of one combatant and also the very means whereby the superior combatant defeats him. Every good general, every good chessplayer, takes what is precisely the strong point of his opponent’s plan and makes it the pivot of his own plan. Take that castle of mine if you insist…For now I move thus…and thus…and it is mate in three moves. Something like this must be supposed to have happened about death.” – C. S. Lewis, Miracles, ch. 14

“He made evil serve the overcoming of evil. He made evil commit suicide in doing its worst evil…In the death of Christ, the powers of darkness did their best to destroy the glory of the Son of God. This is the apex of evil. But instead they found themselves quoting the script of ancient prophecy and acting the part assigned by God. Precisely in putting Christ to death, they put his glory on display – the very glory that they aimed to destroy. The apex of evil achieved the apex of the glory of Christ.” – John Piper, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose for the Glory of Christ, p. 12

“It was by the Evil One himself that he brought us out…Little did that dark mind know the errand on which he really came to Perelandra!” – C. S. Lewis, Perelandra, p. 209
*Lewis also writes, “Our enemy…becomes our servant: bodily Death, the monster, becomes blessed spiritual Death to self,” which is new life in Christ.

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