“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, November 18, 2012

How Should We Think of God?

When we stand in a country field at night and look at the stars filling the sky above, we see with our eyes many points of light in a dark hemisphere. But we also perceive a certain majesty and greatness, an other-worldliness and a particular beauty in the stars - there is a distance that awakens awe. This beauty is perceived with the help of our eyes, but it is not itself seen visually, and it is this beauty that is the beauty of God himself. Now one might say "the beauty belongs to the stars, and not to God." It is true that the beauty belongs to the stars, but fundamentally, it does not come from the stars. Like reflected sunlight, the beauty comes from God and shines to us through the stars.

Maybe it is something other than the stars that affects you most strongly. It could be something else in nature - the sea, or mountains. Or music - God, of course, is the composer of all music. He set the world in motion in precisely the right way so as to produce the mind of Mozart, not only foreknowing but in effect composing Mozart's music. Or there is the beauty of a story - that one movie or book that stands out from the rest. After all, a story is what Christianity is.

Whatever it is, consider letting it shape your understanding of who God is. When "God" is mentioned, let that experience or perception come to mind, and whatever it was that you saw to be good or right or true, consider the idea that God is the source of that, and that the light you saw is His light. His music, his story, his face. Him.

But we see the most veiled reflection - through a glass darkly and not face to face. In fact, we cannot see “till we have faces,” until we are remade, redeemed. What must He really be like? If God is an unexplored continent, we are only in the farthest borderlands. No, we can hardly even see the shore on the horizon yet. What must that great country be like? How far into it can we ever hope to go? Never far compared to how much further there is still to go. But let us all the more take up the Narnian cry, “further up and further in!”

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