Lewis says that “It is no good asking for a simple religion, after all, real things are not simple.” In particular, Lewis talks about Christ’s death as an event we cannot possibly hope to fully understand. As Christians, we know that something infinitely important happened in the event of Christ’s death; however, to think that we could completely understand or explain why it happened or how, would be beyond arrogant. “The inconceivable, the uncreated, the thing from beyond nature,” Lewis says, has struck “down into nature like lightning.” How could we possibly think we could explain our unexplainable God? “Indeed,” says Lewis, “if we found that we could fully understand it, that very fact would show it is not what it professes to be.”
We may not understand Christ’s death, but that does not mean we cannot benefit from it. Lewis compares our acceptance of Christ’s death to eating a meal; we may not fully understand how the food nourishes our body, but we can still be nourished from it. In the same way, we can accept Christ without fully understanding how he saves us. Lewis goes on to say that we should also feel free to reject particular explanations of the Cross. Explanations of the Cross are meant to bring us closer to God; if they fail to do that, they should be rejected.
I think this idea applies to all of Christianity and is something we need to be reminded of regularly. Let us make sure that we do not miss Christ because we are so focused on explaining the Cross. Let us make sure that we do not miss God because we are focused on defending Christianity or the Bible. The importance of the Cross is that we are saved through Christ and the importance of the Bible is to point us to God. Friends, do not miss the forest for the trees.
I am currently still reading the book, but I wanted to write a few thoughts about what I have read so far. I will probably update this post when I finish the entire work.
Quotes from the book:
“For Christianity is a fighting religion. It thinks God made the world—that space and time, heat and cold, and all the colors and tastes, and all the animals and vegetables, are things that God ‘made up out of His head’ as a man makes up a story. But it also thinks that a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that God insists, and insists very loudly, on our putting them right again.”
“It is no good asking for a simple religion. After all, real things are not simple.”
“Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, it is not obvious, not what you expect.”
“Christianity…thinks [this] is a civil war, a rebellion. And we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel. Enemy-occupied territory.”
“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
“We do know that no person can be saved except through Christ. We do not know that only those who know Him can be saved by Him.”
“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell.”
“Far deeper objections may be felt—and have been expressed—against my use of the word Christian to mean one who accepts the common doctrines of Christianity. People ask: ‘Who are you, to lay down who is, and who is not a Christian?’ or ‘May not many a man who cannot believe these doctrines be far more truly a Christian, far closer to the spirit of Christ, than some who do?’ Now this objection is in one sense very right, very charitable, very spiritual, very sensitive. It has every available quality except that of being useful. We simply cannot, without disaster, use language as these objectors want us to use it.”
“Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offences. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin.”