Wednesday, July 13, 2011

the great divorce pt.2

Back to work today.  Working straight through for eight days until we leave for Vancouver.  Can’t believe we’re actually going.  Feels very surreal.

Onward to more reading!!

Here’s another excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce.Roger ponders C.S. Lewis... I think they would be friends.

We pick up where the shade of the intellectual man is deep in conversation with his old friend and fellow thinker; the latter has been sent to offer the invitation of the journey toward heaven to the other.

Near the end of their conversation the intellectual gets frustrated by the prospect of losing the forum for free inquiry—that is the sort of plays we make in asking questions indefinitely: challenging one another, entertaining new thoughts and philosophies; and yet ultimately coming to no real conclusions (or perhaps believing that no true conclusions can be made at all).  He is repelled by the idea that in God there are the final answers.  Check it out:

“But you must feel yourself that there is something stifling about the idea of finality?  Stagnation, my dear boy, what is more soul-destroying than stagnation?”

“You think that, because hitherto you have experienced truth only with the abstract intellect.  I will bring you where you can taste it like honey and be embraced by it as by a bridegroom.  Your thirst shall be quenched. . . .
Listen! . . . Once you were a child.  You knew what inquiry was for.  There was a time when you asked questions because you wanted answers, and were glad when you had found them.  Become that child again: even now.”

“Ah, but when I became a man I put away childish things.”

“You have gone far wrong.  Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth.” (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, 40-41).

This reminded me so much of my freshman worldview class with Brian Tysdal.  Brian was (and still is, I’m sure) incredibly passionate about the nature of truth. 

We usually think of truth as those objective, empirical facts.  But what if there is more to knowing truth than intellectual understanding?  It’s hard to comprehend.  And maybe that’s the point here: that by severing our intellect, our reasoning faculties, from our imagination we’ve also lost the ability to understand truth as something more than a scientific laying-bare of facts or figures.  Perhaps capital “T”, Truth, as Lewis suggests here, is something that God intends to be tasted and embraced.  Perhaps when we come to see Him face to face, tasting and embracing will better describe our experience of knowing the Truth.  This sounds like relationship language doesn’t it?

Jesus describes himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)  If a person is Truth, then that means that as I enter into relationship I enter into Truth.  Relationships involve the engagement of the whole person—including, but not limited to, the mind.  I feel that in this moment, Lewis is on to something very special: not only does he hit the nail on the head in terms of our adult understanding of truth as only abstract intellect, but he points to a deeper reality, a poetic, reality which invites the heart as well.  I want to know the One who is Truth. 

One down three to go!

One down three to go!

Jesus said, "I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You've even seen him!"  The Message, John 14:6-7


C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (New York, Harper Collins, 1973).

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