“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

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Mind of Man and the Plans of God

...In trying to identify a "pattern of reality," one might well object that there is a danger of over-speculation. How could we possibly know something so deep and mysterious? Certainly we cannot know the full truth, but it may be that God has revealed a small part, and this is what I attempt to understand. But we ought not imagine ourselves to be capable of pinning down the secret of the universe or unveiling the full the mystery of God's purposes. This is of course impossible.

Most of what I have written is based on Lewis' phrases and descriptions in Perelandra. To me these passages convey a unique beauty - there is some mysterious truth hidden in them. I have tried to understand what truth there may be in Lewis' words by looking beneath his analogies and examples for a more general principle. The danger in this is that one might acquire a sort of triumphalist attitude - "I have identified what is going on in these beautiful words and fit them into a broader context, so now I understand them completely." This would be a grave mistake, and I hope I have avoided it. I do not think that I or anyone else, including Lewis himself, has penetrated the full mystery of the truths he describes.

What we know of God's overarching plan is no more than what a first grader knows of mathematics. He can add, maybe even multiply, but he knows virtually nothing of limitless world of mathematical patterns and structures and theorems. He has a vague idea of a very small part of it. It is the same with humanity and God: what we know is a tiny fraction, and what we may be able to guess is a few tiny fractions. But what we do not know is vast and endless, and this is cause for wonder and joy.

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