December 19, 2016

G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis Agree: What Every Christian Must Acknowledge

G. K. Chesterton & C. S. Lewis

Consider the following: Our original state of grace was forfeited when our first parents rejected God's love in favor of the Devil's lies. God loves us so much that even if you were the only person to have ever lived, Christ would have suffered and died just for you. We cannot deny God's love, but we can deny, ignore and perpetuate our own sinfulness. The former is inscrutable. The later, undeniable.

G. K. Chesterton (1874-1836) and C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) were not collegial contemporaries save for a brief period when their respective philosophies illuminated (to varying degrees) the firmament of modern Christian apologetics. Reputedly, when The Times (of London) sent out an inquiry to famous authors inquiring, "What is wrong with the world today?", Chesterton honestly replied:
Dear Sirs,
I am.
Yours, G.K. Chesterton
Regarding our fallen nature and propensity to sin, C. S. Lewis was equally candid. His essay. "The problem with X..." discusses how, when encountering difficulties, we tend to blame others first, becoming envious, self-centered, and spiteful. "X", of course, is ourselves. In noticing the splinter in other people’s eyes, we fail to perceive the wooden beam in our own. Lewis incisively writes: [emphasis added]

"[T]o face up to the fact that even if all external things went right, real happiness would still depend on the character of the people you have to live with--and that you can't alter their characters. And now comes the point. When you have seen this you have, for the first time, had a glimpse of what it must be like for God. For of course, this is (in one way) just what God Himself is up against. He has provided a rich, beautiful world for people to live in. He has given them intelligence to show them how it ought to be used. He has contrived that the things they need for their biological life (food, drink, rest, sleep, exercise) should be positively delightful to them. And, having done all this, He then sees all His plans spoiled--just as our little plans are spoiled--by the crookedness of the people themselves. All the things He has given them to be happy with they turn into occasions for quarreling [jealousy, excess, hoarding, and tomfoolery...]

But... there are two respects in which God's view must be very different from ours. In the first place, He sees (like you) how all the people in your home or your job are in various degrees awkward or difficult; but when He looks into that home or factory or office He sees one more person of the same kind--the one you never do see. I mean, of course, yourself. That is the next great step in wisdom--to realize that you also are just that sort of person. You also have a fatal flaw... All the hopes and plans of others have again and again shipwrecked on your character just as your hopes and plans have shipwrecked on theirs."

No comments :