“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, September 2, 2009

“That Queer Twist About It That Real Things Have"

…I’ve described paradoxes in God himself, in his creation, and especially in the way of life he has demonstrated, in Jesus Christ, for his people. I’ve suggested that paradoxes in the Christian life are derived from the cross of Christ, which was planned by God as the ultimate revelation of his character, and that the very fabric of created reality is marked by paradox. Indeed, if what I have called paradox (see the first post in this series, “Paradoxes in Christianity”) can be found in the Triune God himself, as I have suggested, and God designs creation such that it is marked by the his attributes and qualities, then we would expect no less. God is seen in creation, and in what he does within that creation, and if is paradoxical, then we ought to expect to see the beauty of paradox in what he does.

These paradoxes are not merely doctrines of the intellect or vague descriptions of reality, but tensions that affect our day-to-day lives. I hope that anyone who sees these paradoxes in Scripture will not only acknowledge their presence there, but find the secret of what it means to live as the last and lowliest servant, as one who has lost his life and emptied himself, and is therefore rewarded by God with the treasure of overflowing joy in knowing Jesus Christ. I for one have much to learn about how one follows Jesus’ paradoxical way in our world today.

All these posts have assumed the truth of Christianity, and I hope to share with fellow believers the great beauty I see in Christianity. To the skeptic, I say this: consider G. K. Chesterton’s description of the paradoxes of Christianity in Orthodoxy. Even if you don’t believe the Bible, consider whether these paradoxes do or do not seem to describe life, or perhaps whether or not there is a measure of beauty in them, as I think there is, and as Chesterton seemed to think as well. If beauty is the mark of truth, then perhaps Jesus’ words are, to a limited extent, their own defense.

“Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed…It has just that queer twist about it that real things have.” – C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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