“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, September 13, 2010

C. S. Lewis on the "Plain Bounty" of the Creator

In the previous post I suggested that although God takes delight in creation, he has no need for it and is perfect and complete in himself. As a fountain is inclined to overflow, so is God inclined to create. C. S. Lewis uses similar imagery to describe God's relationship with creation. Consider these two passages from Perelandra:

"He has immeasurable use for each thing that is made, that His love and splendour may flow forth like a strong river which has need of a great watercourse and fills alike the deep pools and the little crannies, that are filled equally and remain unequal; and when it has filled them brim full it flows over and makes new channels. We also have need beyond measure of all that He has made. Love me, my brothers, for I am infinitely necessary to you and for your delight I was made. Blessed be He!"
"He has no need at all of anything that is made. An eldil is not more needful to Him than a grain of the Dust: a peopled world no more needful than a world that is empty: but all needless alike, and what all add to Him is nothing. We also have no need of anything that is made. Love me, my brothers, for I am infinitely superfluous, and your love shall be like His, born neither of your need nor of my deserving, but a plain bounty. Blessed be He!"
God has great use for creation - everything he makes is good and brought into being to accomplish good things. All things made by the Maker have value, and that God is complete in himself without them does not take away from this value. Creation is interrelated - no thing, no creature can be separated from the whole (see "The Pattern of Reality"), and in this sense we are infinitely necessary to one another. Yet only God is the source and root of our being. The "plain bounty" of God, as of an overflowing fountain, is the best light in which to understand creation.

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