Sensing Beauty in the World Will Never Save Us (The Necessity of Theology)

Oh, I do believe this final section will be my favorite.

Though warned against it, Lewis closes with theology.

Why?

Though it is true, Lewis says,

that we may sense God in beauty, and the world

prefers that to theology for it is less work, still, he admonishes:

You will never get eternal life by simply feeling the presence of God in flowers or music.

Don’t misunderstand — I loved it when Julie Andrews sang “The hills are alive with the sound of music…” Indeed — they are. Creation cries out with the glory of God, But if we do not have the Word as well, we will be misguided. Even in this beautiful movie there was some very bad theology. See if you can spot it in this song:

 

These are going to be valuable weeks, and we are right on target for finishing Mere Christianity in the next five weeks, ending with Labor Day weekend. But even if you have just joined us, it will make sense, for these were originally radio addresses during World War II, and can stand alone.

We will learn so much in these chapters on theology.

For example:

Book 4, chapter 1 is on Making and Begetting.

Making and begetting are very different.

We can make something like us, such as a picture of ourselves or even a sculpture of ourselves — but that is quite different from  begetting.

Begetting brings life. 

Lewis dismantles some common errors,

such as people saying

we are all children of God because He made us.

No.

Though it is true every person is a creation of God,

we are like dead men until His Spirit comes and breathes life into us at salvation.  

This reminded me so of Narnia — where the white witch has turned Narnians into statues, but then Aslan comes and breathes life into them.

Watch: 

If you have “gotten behind” please don’t give up. Lewis himself says in this section that it is a very silly idea to feel you cannot skip chapters. Do what you can, for you will get something of value!

Sunday:

1. Did you spot the theological error in the song “Something Good?”

2. What else stands out to you from the above and why?

Monday: Making and Begetting

3. Read or listen to Book 4, Chapter 1, and share your notes and comments. This doodle closes with a four minute clip from a Narnia cartoon for children.

 

Tuesday: Reflections on Making and Begetting

4. Seeing the Pacific ocean is much more exciting than seeing a map of it. But how is a map, like theology, both practical and helpful? Be specific. (This is work – but leads to transformation.)

 

5. How does Lewis refute the belief that if we just followed the advice of Jesus we’d have a better world?

 

6. One of the creeds says Jesus is begotten, not created. Why is this important?

 

7. What is a key difference between biological life and spiritual life?

Wednesday: The Three-Personal God

8. Read or listen to the following short chapter and share your notes or comments.

 

9. Lewis shows how the Christian enters into the Trinity when he prays. Explain.

 

 

Thursday: Time and Beyond Time

10. Read or listen to the following chapter and share your notes and comments.

Friday: Reflections on Time and Beyond Time

When I was a little girl, my dad would take me out on our deck and point to the stars and ask me if I could imagine the universe ending. I could not. Then he would ask me if I could imagine it going on forever. And I could not. This chapter reminds me of those kind of mind-boggling questions, yet it is also helpful to me. I still am not sure exactly what my late husband’s existence is like right now — I know he is with Jesus, but I don’t think he has his resurrected body yet — but then, I am thinking within time as I know it. It is so hard to comprehend. Likewise, when I read in Revelation that the lamb was slain before the foundation of the world, I think, What? And yet, again, I am working within my framework of time.

11. Lewis says some people dispute that God can handle all our prayers because it would take him far too long — what is the error, according to Lewis, in that thinking?

 

12. I mentioned a few of the ways this concept of God being beyond time helps me with theological challenges. Does it help you in any way — if so, how?

Saturday:

13. What is your take-a-way and why?

 

COMMENTS (77) Post a New Comment ↓
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1. Did you spot the theological error in the song “Something Good?

“I must have done something good.”  God pours His blessings on the good and the evil. We don’t get more or better blessings because we are extra “good” . All of our good works are as filthy rags (literally menstrual cloths) some translations say filthy garments, but people wear filthy clothes everyday, no one would ever wear menstrual cloths: they are so vile that they are thrown out or burned after they have served their purpose.

2. What else stands out to you from the above and why?

The part about how it is OK if we missed some chapters. I didn’t get a chance to do last week’s and the first thing that I did was to go back and try to read it all before I started this week’s. I finally told myself to just start this week’s and read last week’s when I get a chance. I just thought that it was funny that one of the first things that was said confirmed this. (I have listened to the book twice recently so I know what Lewis had to say, I really wanted to read everyone’s comments.)

 

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    Excellent Dawn — and I am glad if Lewis freed you up to miss some chapters!

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“I must’ve done something good”! I always knew that didn’t make sense cause it makes no difference whether we have been good or bad…we still can never deserve God’s love or earn it. It’s all His work & His grace.

I’ve always loved that scene where Aslan breathes life into the dead statues! What hope & joy & faith it stirs, to know that Jesus breathes life into our dead spirits when we come to Him. He fills us with His very Holy Spirit. Thank You Lord!

I definitely missed a few chapters but will try & dive back in  :)

    Reply

    I’m glad missing a few chapters isn’t keeping you from diving back in!

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Sunday  
  1.  Did you spot the theological error in the song “Something Good”?  
Yes, the line, “I” must of done something good.”  When sharing the gospel with people, so often the response is “I’m a good person…I’m honest, hard working and loving etc.”.   It’s not what they’re doing that establishes being good…it’s what they’re not doing and that is bringing glory to God.  Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Sin here means “miss the mark” and the mark that’s been missed is falling short of the glory of God.  What brings glory to God?  Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.  In John 16:8 & 9, the Holy Spirit comes to convict the world of sin and that sin is the refusal to believe in Jesus!  And of course Isaiah 64:6a  says “We are all infected and impure with sin.  When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags…”    
 2.  What else stands out to you from the above and why?  We are like dead men until His Spirit comes and breathes life into us at salvation.”  Please don’t judge but I thought of the tv program “The Walking Dead”.  Just walking or crawling about the earth looking for living things to devour…all they do, is all about them!

 

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1.  In the song, they say it was the good they did earlier that earned them this love now. We don’t earn anything good. Everything good is a gift to us from God. I have a friend who will frequently say that I ‘deserve’ some good thing. I usually correct her, that the only thing I deserve is condemnation, but God has been more than gracious and given me much good that I could never earn.

 

2.  What else stood out? Two things.

The world prefers beauty, because it is less work. Theology is hard work, that is for sure!

I’m a little confused about your saying we are not all children of God. Jesus in John 9:34 quotes Psalms 82:6, which says, “I said you are gods, you are all sons of the Most High”. Maybe Lewis will explain it more later.

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    Yes — Lewis explains it. That’s interesting about John 9:34 — what do you think about John 1:12?  This good be a good discussion!

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      It is more confusing! Here, we ‘become’ the children of God, which makes total sense with new birth. 1 John 3:1-2 says we are children of God, and I’ve always read it in the same sense as John 1:12. Then there is Isaiah 63:16, which echoes the one in Psalms. So, are we God’s children to start with, like Gepetto is Pinochio’s father? But later, when we by faith trust in Christ, then we become His living children?

        I was confused about that statement also (we are all not children of God). In John 1 it says we have the “right” to become children of God. We have to believe first. I think we are made in His image and because we have free will we are able to choose whether we want to be His children or not. So I guess I see that we may not all be children from that perspective.

         

        I don’t see that John 9:34 says anything other than we were all born as sinners? Confused about “…the most High God…” to which you refer.

        Laura, it may be a difference in versions. I am in the NIV. For sure, the Psalm Jesus quotes from is more clear than the John 9:34 verse. The whole thing is becoming clearer to me as we keep going. Hope it is for you, too!

        That is a perfect analogy, Mary. I love it. We are creations of God and then become living sons! Real!

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I just want to say thank you today, Dee, for this study.  I am so happy that I’ve stuck with it, b/c I am truly learning so much.  CS Lewis is not easy to read or understand, & I know I would have given this book up (a 2nd time) long ago if not for all the good questions & answers as a guide to help me ‘plow’ through it.  Lewis’ circular thinking makes me feel a little crazy at times, but with all the help sorting everything out, I am able to get past my frustrations.  I have learned a lot in this book, even to the point of some embarrassment (last week), re heaven.  I have always been taught, and so thought, and then passed along to my grandkids, the literal interpretation– the crowns, the streets of gold, etc.  Humbling & an eye opener.  But now I have even more questions about heaven!  Goodness!

I’ve also discovered something else as well.  The further along we’ve gone in this book, the more I find myself thinking about it, and actually wanting to read the next chapter without waiting to advance along with everyone else.  That’s pretty odd, considering in the beginning I was so lost & frustrated, I wasn’t sure what I was doing in the study or if I could keep my head above water.  Now I’m all in and then some, and when we are finished I am going to make a list of highlights for my kids, & send to them.  They are both deep thinkers & even though I question some of their spiritual reasoning, I think they will be very interested in what Lewis has to say in this book.  Thank you again Dee.  I’m excited to jump into book 4 & finish well!

    Reply

    That is so encouraging, Wendy!

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Sunday:
1. Did you spot the theological error in the song “Something Good?”
“Perhaps I have a wicked childhood…” It is not a perhaps. We are wicked and sinful.

“I must have done something good.” There in no one good except God.

I do love “The Sound of Music” . It is still one of my favorite go to movies as it is just plain wholesome. And the music!

But just like Lewis said, “You will never get eternal life by simply feeling the presence of God in flowers or music.” Theology is VERY important!!!
2. What else stands out to you from the above and why?
a. The touching scene of Aslan breathing life to the statue. A beautiful picture of what transformation God can do in the life of anybody who trust in His Son. ” Though it is true every person is a creation of God, we are like dead men until His Spirit comes and breathes life into us at salvation.”

b. Dee, your encouragement of not giving up since I was so behind the last 2 weeks. Look forward to this week’s study even though I may not be able to comment much as I am back to school tomorrow for early contract.

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    We love to see you whenever you are here Bing, and surely understand what it is like to be back to school!

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I’ve had a complaint that the pictures are not appearing on the blog — is anyone else having this trouble?

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    yes, I have a lot of empty boxes. I am on Safari.

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      Thanks, Mary. Aghhhh! I think it is just Safari — and there weren’t actually pictures where they show empty boxes. Do you mind trying another browser and letting me know?

        same for me on safari on my phone. I can check my computer though.

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    Dee, I show one empty box on both Safari and Chrome and it’s the second one on both browsers.

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      Thanks, Sharon.

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    I got all the pictures Dee  :)

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    No problems in Firefox on the PC.

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3.  Book 4, chapter 1. To beget is of the same kind; to make could be similar or not, but is never alive. So God made men, and in many ways men mirror God, but only Christ was begotten of God. Men don’t have spiritual life until they are born again. Lewis says those people ‘have gone through as big a change as a statue becoming a real man.’

 

4.  A map is practical because it helps you locate yourself accurately and specifically, and it gives you the means to move to somewhere else on the map. Without a map, you have only a vague idea of where you are in relation to where you want to be. And you have no idea of how to get there, especially if you’ve never been there before.

 

5.  The world has had many philosophers and leaders who had good advice on getting along with each other, but people have never been able to follow the advice. Not only do we have the same problem with Christ, He even told us we CAN’T follow what He says on our own. We need His Holy Spirit for that. From personal experience, even then it is hard.

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2. What else stands out to you from the above and why?

 

I’m still pondering the idea that we are not all children of God.

 

Also, this book is intense and I kind of am dreading the next few weeks but don’t want to not participate! I only have until the last week of August and then comes the insanity of the school year. I have no time at that point for anything extra and I find myself reading the chapters twice, and sometimes listening to them as well, just to understand one little bit! I’m not sure I will remember anything in a year (to answer the question of last week). Could we have a quick “review” Dee? Like maybe a short outline?

 

I guess my “stand out”from above, would be how to get the Holy Spirit within myself? That piece of the Trinity eludes me.

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    Laura, I have not read the chapter yet, so don’t know what Lewis has to say, but here’s how I would answer your question re “how to get the Holy Spirit within” yourself.  My understanding is that you do not have to do anything apart from accepting Christ!  That his spirit, the Holy Spirit, enters you when you receive him as your personal Savior.  The Holy Spirit eludes me somewhat also, as sort of the most mysterious of the Trinity.  But it doesn’t make him any less important…without the Spirit, we would understand nothing!

    Also, I understand completely your frustration about the intensity of this book, and how hard Lewis is to understand.  Not sure where I turned a corner with my interest in this study, but within the past few weeks…maybe the pride chapter!  I think you’re too hard on yourself, b/c I think your answers to so many questions in this study were excellent & spot on.

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    Laura — Amen to everything Wendy wrote!

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    Laura, to be sure, the Holy Spirit is hard for me to really understand! For example, that the Spirit is not an “It”, but a “He”…..

    Christians talk about “Jesus living in my heart”, yet also that we are indwelt by His Spirit, the Holy Spirit….it is confusing.

    My thoughts on the idea that we are not all children of God….all people were and are created by God, and I believe that He loves His creation and shows His compassion to all. It is my understanding that when we trust in Jesus as Savior, we then become His children in the sense that we are then “adopted” into God’s family. I’m sure that those who have adopted children will tell you that while not their biological children, they see them as their children; truly their family. Ephesians 1:5 talks about God having predestined us to adoption as sons…. I think Paul is using the term adoption to say that we are not naturally part of God’s family, but rather He brings us into His family.

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    Wendy’s right, Laura. It is the Holy Spirit that leads you to study His word, participate in this blog or any good that you do or want to do.

    Maybe you are expecting a euphoric feeling or some sense of “arriving”, but that isn’t necessarily the true result of the Holy Spirit within you. The desire to even want to do good is the Holy Spirit working in you. I don’t think the Spirit is eluding you at all, you can’t see the forest for the trees.

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Tuesday  
  4.  Seeing the Pacific Ocean is much more exciting than seeing a map of it.  But how is a map, like theology, both practical and helpful?  Be specific.  (This is work –  but leads to transformation.). 
The ocean is a single glimpse whereas the map fits different experiences together.  It you want to go anywhere beyond just a walk on the beach a map is absolutely necessary.  You can’t get eternal life by simply feeling the presence of God in flowers or music.  Neither will you get anywhere by looking at maps without going to sea.  Nor will you be very safe if you go to sea without a map.  Dee, am I correct in saying the Bible is our map?    
 
 5.  How does Lewis refute the belief that if we just followed the advice of Jesus we’d have a better world?  As this is true, “it tells you much less then the whole truth about Christianity and it has no practical importance at all.”  “There has been no lack of good advice for the last 400 years.  A bit more makes no difference.”  

6.  One of the creeds says Jesus is begotten, not created.  Why is this important?  It’s important to the fact that Jesus is God because He was begotten (“you beget something of the same kind as yourself “…Jesus was the same kind as God).  We are not God because we were created (“something of a different kind from yourself”).  Man is more like statues or pictures of God.  

  7.  What is the key difference between biological life and spiritual life?  Biological life (bios) comes to us through nature, which is always tending to run down, decaying, so it can’t be kept up by air, water, food, etc.  The spiritual life (Zoe) is in God from all eternity, and which made the whole natural universe.  Bios has a certain shadowy or symbolic resemblance to Zoe like between a photo & place or a status & a man.

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Mon, book 4; Ch 1:  Making & Begetting

I found this really interesting cause I never really thought about this before! Jesus is the “only Begotten Son”, cause He came from the Father. “What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man”. (p.122)  “That is why men are not Sons of God in the same way that Christ is. They may be like God in certain ways, but they are not things of the same kind.”   Man lives & loves & reasons, but man does not have the higher spiritual life that exists in God. In order to receive that life, man must go through a big change….(like when Aslan breathed on the dead statues & they came to life!)

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    You got it, Jenny — and explained it so clearly.

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    Loved that scene! Also, thanks for the explanation on begotten. I had to look up begetting and forgot about begotten!

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Tues:  4. A map like theology is practical & helpful, cause it gives us a bigger picture, a broader context & shows us where to go & how to get there. Theology gives us clearer & more accurate ideas about God.

5. People won’t follow Christ just because he’s a good moral teacher…”If Christianity only means one more bit of good advice , then Christianity is of no importance”. Theology says that Christ is the Son of God; that those who trust in Him also become sons of God; & that His death saves them from their sins.

6. Jesus is begotten, not created. This is impt cause He is of God, not a mere man.

&. A key difference between biological life & spiritual life is :  Biological life ( bios) comes thro nature & tends to decay& needs to be sustained.  Spiritual life (Zoe) is eternal & in God & created the whole universe.

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1. Did you spot the theological error in the song “Something Good”?

 

They sang, “Nothing comes from nothing….” that’s the first things I noted. We can’t make anything from “nothing”, but God created the world from nothing, speaking it into existence. Secondly, as they have found true love with one another, they sing that they must have done something good in childhood or youth (to have found each other now). Of course, we may do good deeds, and some children are exceptionally “good”, yet we know that we are all carriers of the disease of sin, born with it. James attributes every good gift as coming from God, so we should be thanking Him for good things, if they happen to us, and not credit our own goodness. But, this is a love song, not a theology lesson!

 

2. What else stands out to you from the above and why?

 

That we have to be careful about what some people say, such as we can sense God in nature, but that will never save us. We need the Word as well. Recently I listened to a podcast where the guest made the comment, “We’ve been taught for so long that we’re separated from God….” and then she went on to refute that. This was a Christian podcast, but the guest, when I looked her up on the Internet, seems more involved with a New Age spirituality. Now if she meant that nothing can separate a believer from God, she is right, as Paul writes about that. But if she meant otherwise, that is wrong, because the Bible teaches that we are separated from God if we are not His.

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3. Read or listen to Book 4, chapter 1, and share your notes and comments.

 

To think that the adult reader can’t understand theology is to treat him like a child. Lewis relates the comment of a man at one of his talks, where the man said he preferred “the tremendous mystery” of his private experiences with God while alone in the desert, and said, “To anyone who’s met the real thing they (Christian dogmas and formulas) seem so petty and pedantic and unreal.” And, at first, this does seem more appealing: your own private experiences with God are very real, and reading about theology seems unreal. But Lewis uses the example of seeing the Atlantic ocean as you walk on the beach compared to seeing it on a map. The map is based on the experiences of hundreds and thousands of people who have actually sailed out there, and doctrines are also a kind of map based on the experiences of hundreds of people who “really were in touch with God”. So, Lewis explains, if you want to go any further you must use the map. Private experiences with God lead nowhere.

 

In Lewis’ day, as well as ours, the popular idea of Christianity is that Jesus was a great moral teacher and if only we would follow His advice, society would be better. However, Lewis points out that we’ve never followed the advice of great teachers, including Plato and Aristotle, so why are we more likely to follow Jesus’ advice? “There has been no lack of good advice for the last four thousand years.” I think he makes a really good point here because there have been so many great philosophers and men who give good advice in history and even in the present; Ghandi is one that comes to mind. But if we ever truly listened to their advice about how to live, we’d be better, right? But I suppose we are as much incapable of following good advice as obeying God’s laws!

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    Great insight, Susan.

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For those of you who were pictures, we got it worked out. We lost some when they were trying to fix our other problem, but they are back!

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4. Seeing the Pacific ocean is much more exciting than seeing a map of it. But how is a map, like theology, both practical and helpful? Be specific.  (This is work – but leads to transformation)

 

The first thing is the “real-ness” of the experience: Standing on the beach and looking out at the ocean is “real”; afterwards, looking at a map which  shows the ocean as a bit of colored paper is less real. Yes, the map is only a bit of colored paper, but it is the culmination of what real people have discovered by sailing the real ocean, so in a way, compressed into that map are the real experiences of real people who have explored every corner of the Atlantic ocean. You are only seeing a glimpse of the whole thing from the beach where you stand. Secondly, if you want to go anywhere; say, rent a boat and sail to Bermuda, you’d better use a map. Walking on the beach and looking is much more fun than looking at the map, but it won’t get you anywhere. The map is not only practical when you sail to Bermuda, it is absolutely necessary if you want to get there.

 

Theology is like the map. Granted, theology seems less exciting and less real then having personal experiences with God. But when you are reading and learning about theology, just like when you read a map, you are benefitting from the real experiences of hundreds of people who really knew or know God. You can choose to “walk on the beach” and get your own small glimpse of God, but if you want to grow and go further in knowing Him, you must use “the map”.

Personally, I remember the first time that Jesus became real to me; “stepped out of the portrait”, so to speak. I know I had a real encounter with Jesus that one day, but I still didn’t know or understand much doctrine or theology, so I spent the next few years going to church but growing frustrated, feeling like I was missing something. It wasn’t until I went to a church that taught the Word and got into a Bible study that started with the basics of salvation, and read the verses for myself, that I began to grow and understand. My own personal experience with Jesus was not enough.

 

5. How does Lewis refute the belief that if we just followed the advice of Jesus we’d have a better world?

 

It is true that if we followed the advice of Jesus, we’d have a better world, but Lewis points out that if we followed the advice of Plato, Aristotle, or Confucious, we’d do better than we do. But, we have never followed the advice of great teachers, so why should we listen to Jesus? Some would say because Jesus is the best moral teacher, but Lewis says that if we “can’t take the elementary lessons, is it likely we are going to take the most advanced one?

 

6. One of the creeds says Jesus is begotten, not created. Why is this important?

 

Lewis explains that “to beget” means to become the father of, and that when you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. To create is “to make”, and you make something of a different kind from yourself. What God begets is God; what man begets is man. What God creates is not God, which is why men are not “sons of God” in the same sense that Jesus is the Son of God. This means that Jesus IS God. Men are like God in some ways, but not of the same kind, or nature, as God.

If God had therefore created Jesus, Jesus wouldn’t be God; one in nature and being with God the Father.

 

7. What is a key difference between biological life and spiritual life?

 

Biological life, or Bios, is the life that comes to us through nature, and like nature, is going to decay and must be kept alive by things like air, water, and food. Spiritual life, or Zoe, is the life which is in God and which made the natural universe; it is eternal. Lewis says that Bios is only a shadowy resemblance of Zoe, like the resemblance between a photo and the real place. I think I see here where he got his idea for having Aslan breathe on the statues in his children’s book, as he writes, “A man who changed from having Bios to having Zoe would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man.”

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Dee, I now have all the pictures. Thank you!

 

6.  I grew up saying the Nicene creed, but never understood the “Only Begotten Son of God” part. This chapter helped a lot. But isn’t Christ also eternal? Without beginning or ending? That part still boggle my mind. I’ve figured that Jesus is part of God, and only was begotten when the incarnation happened. Where does all this fit on the map of theology?

 

7.  A key difference between bios and Zoe… Bios, as the natural life, is always wearing out and decaying. It needs incessant subsidies. Zoe, as the spiritual life, springs from God and does not need to be replenished. Like Jesus told the woman at the well, God’s life in us becomes a fountain of eternal life.

 

8.  Chapter 2, the personal God. Christians agree that the mysterious something behind all other things must be more than a person. But the Christian explaination of that something leaves us with the only viable idea on the market; that God as a person is that something more. I loved Lewis’ using dimensions to explain that Christians can be taken into the life of God and yet still exist as themselves, or even more than they were. That is so encouraging to someone like me, who has often felt that I need to lose more of me to be fit for heaven. ‘You do not leave behind the things you found on the simpler levels; they are combined in new ways you could not imagine…’

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Mary B, I hear u! I don’t think we can ever wrap our minds completely around the eternal nature of God! Christ was with the Father always, as part of the Trinity, but He was “begotten”  in the incarnation…when He became flesh. Such a profound mystery & yet simple enough for a child to believe! He was the Word of God & He was God’s instrument of Salvation for us. So amazing & we won’t get it fully till we are with Him!  :)

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Monday: Making and Begetting
3. Read or listen to Book 4, Chapter 1, and share your notes and comments. This doodle closes with a four minute clip from a Narnia cartoon for children.
 Wow! I never have heard the difference between “make” and begetting before. It sure does make sense. Only the Spirit of God brings clarity and He uses people like C.S. Lewis. I love the Narnia cartoon. Aslan is so in command.

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4. Seeing the Pacific ocean is much more exciting than seeing a map of it. But how is a map, like theology, both practical and helpful? Be specific. 

Looking at a map of the pacific ocean is impersonal. It doesn’t ignite affections like when out on the Pacific Ocean experiencing it but it is crucial in knowing more about the Ocean. Things like what it’s near, what is surrounding it and where I need to go to get to a particular destination. Without a map I might go headlong into destruction relying on my own senses! Theology is similar although we can experience God as we study the Scriptures-actually deeper and more profound than just walking around outside trying to sense Him. Actually, through Theology-the more we learn about Him the more profound human relations and creation become. For example, whenever I see a vineyard or go out into a garden, I think of The Song..I think of how the vineyard and garden relate to Him being the vinedresser and how He is “vinedressing me”-transforming me.

Actually if we do the opposite-Theology as priority then we can experience Him in more profound and transformative ways as we go about our day. :)

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    Rebecca — love that if we put theology first we can experience Him in more transformative ways during the day. Would love to hear an illustration from you!

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    Dee,  Great question, but I have too many daily examples and especially lately!  I have been memorizing Psalm 18  slowly the past few months, and Colossians 3: 1-4 recently. Here is an example of how He has come through that but I have to give a back story.

    My co-worker left in the middle of my training in a department of 150 employees and 4 managers. I have been by myself doing the work of 2. At the same time, I have had Sciatica since January, and we are transitioning my son with autism into adult hood this past week…and everyone is too busy to help me around the house. Then my dad passed away. There is more but I will stop there. I began struggling to memorize Psalm 18. With everything going on, I couldn’t think coherently and my short term memory wasn’t good! :(  We needed to get dad’s apartment cleared before the end of July which put off grieving like I needed to.

    satan has really been playing havoc with me as fleeting thoughts of where are you God crossed my mind often. I felt this coldness of his presence..and honestly it wasn’t because my life felt like it was falling apart and he wasn’t fixing everything, it was because I couldn’t sense Him at all. I felt abandoned yet I knew He was right here-something he brought to mind out of Dee’s book The God of All Comfort.

    Psalm 18 kept coming to mind and I began to pray it, and He began “coming out of the clouds” to defeat the evil one who was telling me He doesn’t care. Yet, my heart is a dark whirlpool..at any moment I can cling to a lie even without realizing it!

    SO FINALLY to my ONE example-pretty simple though: Yesterday, I forgot to follow up on ordering something my department needed to have in stock. It is an important item and one that takes a while to get. When I realized my mistake my first bend was to beat myself up for it and then worry that my bosses would lose trust in me. Then I would think about it all weekend and become anxious.  Instead of internalizing it which is my Type A bend,  I saw this wrong thinking so before it could infect me I remembered He is my life..I am hidden with Christ in God. THIS IS NOT MY LIFE. ACTUALLY, NOTHING HERE ON EARTH IS MY LIFE. I am hidden in the One who out of the brightness of his presence the clouds advanced with hailstones and bolts of lighting, Darkness as a canopy around Him. He is the one who loves me – He turns my darkness into light! SO He didn’t just pull me from that moment, but filled me more with this confidence turning my darkness into light-another baby step of transformation. So much so I let my bosses know without anxiousness, and am not worrying about it. So crucial as daily my mind easily bends toward lies!!

    Sorry for so much rambling..I have been trying to hone in on this before posting, but to no avail. It has been a process and hope and pray GOD is glorified somehow with my clumsy words!

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      Thanks, Rebecca for sharing an example from your life. Yes, I agree that theology is priority and the transformation is more keen, deep and always turns our mind to the God of glory.

      I am like you in the sense that I worry (my tendency) when I do not get something done as I think it should be. I am learning to let it go and to trust the God of infinitum to work things out. It sure takes the stress out and helps me function better in a holistic way.

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      Rebecca — I love how God came to you with a “good infection” — you have had sooo much, I’m not surprised you forgot something! Yes, you are hidden with Christ in God.

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Wednesday    
8.  Read or listen to the following short chapter and share your notes and comments.  
I have read this chapter 3 times and listened to it once.  I really like his use of the three diminsions…have never heard it before.  “In God’s dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three Persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube.”  I must say when it comes to the Trinity I feel I’ve led a sheltered life.  It has probably been just in the last ten years that I realized not all Christians believe it.  It was something instilled within me since I was a child and I never questioned it.  I remember listening to a question and answer session with John MacArthur and a young girl asked him to explain the Trinity.  His response was “I can’t!”  He then went on to say, “there are so many things about God that are beyond our comprehension, but that doesn’t mean they’re not true.”  I so appreciated his honesty.

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I don’t know most of your birthdays, but saw from Facebook that it is our longtime friend Diane Trail’s. Happy Birthday Diane!

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9.  The Trinity and prayer. A person reaches out to God, but the prompting to pray is the Holy Spirit within. All knowledge of God comes from Jesus, who is not only helping him pray, but is also interceding for him.bso God the Father is who we pray to, God the Spirit is pushing and motivating the believer, and God the Son helps give words to the believer while praying for him.

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3. This stood out to me:

 

“You may think the claim false, but if it were true, what it tells us would be bound to be difficult—at least as difficult as modern Physics, and for the same reason.”

 

Lewis is describing how Christianity and physics are the same with respect to their difficulty in understanding. “The claim” he refers to is that of “another world.” It is difficult to see and therefore hard to believe it exists. Quantum physics (1900ish) is the study of the smallest particles that make up matter, and at that time (WWII) was cutting edge science. It would have been hard to believe it existed because you would need an instrument capable of detecting these particles. This is how he describes Christianity; difficult to believe because you can’t readily observe it.

 

He he also makes the point that God formed Jesus way before the world was formed. He was begotten.

 

 

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4. Seeing the Pacific ocean is much more exciting than seeing a map of it. But how is a map, like theology, both practical and helpful? Be specific. (This is work – but leads to transformation.)
 

Having a map guides you so you stay on course. If you don’t have a guide then you are constantly trying to find your way. It is exhausting, frustrating, and time consuming. Lewis compares his friends “ah-ha” moment to the actual walk on the beach on the Pacific. To get to the place you actually want to be, you need a guide. He says theology is that guide and it has been tested over the course of time. You won’t get anywhere with feelings of God (like his friend); you have to move forward and that is where the study of the doctrine comes in.

5. How does Lewis refute the belief that if we just followed the advice of Jesus we’d have a better world?
 

He says we have been advised by plenty of philosophers in the past but didn’t necessarily follow them. We knew they gave good advice, and it didn’t matter. The world still had wars and such.

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I LOVED THAT LAST POINT, LAURA. Reminded me of how only Christ can give us the power to do as He says!

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    👍

     

    Dee, your post isn’t a different color for me now. (Safari on my phone)

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      Thanks, Laura. I see that. I just feel like I’ve been so high maintenance, but they are always nice, so I will talk to them.

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9.  Lewis shows how the Christian enters into the Trinity when he prays.  Explain.
 
I think Mary said it so well…”God the Father is who we pray to, God the Spirit is pushing and motivating the believer, and God the Son helps give words to the believer while praying for him.”    
We’re also as Lewis says “caught up into the higher kinds of life – what I call Zoe or spiritual life.”  I feel that prayer is one area of our Christian walk where we experience a very personal God!

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    So good, Sharon!

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10.  Chapter three, Time and Beyond Time.  It helps me to think of God as an author, above and beyond the time portrayed in the book. God is not bound by our time. When he gets into God having no history, I start to lose the connections. Once, I did think about ‘my’ time, my life span. It was in a chemistry class. The prof put two liquids in a beaker, and they formed layers, with just a thin film between them. You could reach in with a tool and get hold of that film and start drawing it out. It was that interface that produced something. In his case, it was nylon. In my mind the two liquids represented past and future. Where they touched is what we call today. And it is only in ‘today’ that I can ‘make’ anything happen. When my past and futures run out, so does my present and my earthly life will end. God, as the chemist, can take what I ‘made’ of my days and use it in ways too wonderful for me to understand.

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    “too wonderful for me to understand”  Yes.

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Thursday  
  10.  Read or listen to the following chapter (3) and share your notes and comments.  
Lewis says “This idea has helped me a good deal.  If it does not help you, leave it alone. “  I’m really glad he said this because it doesn’t help me.  He goes on to say “You can be a perfectly good Christian without accepting it, or indeed without thinking of the matter at all.”    Quite honestly I can’t wrap my mind around it and I have come to trust that God has it all figured out…after all He’s God!

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11.  Lewis says God is not limited to time as we understand or experience it, so He is not limited to this moment to deal with all our prayers.

 

12.  Yes, seeing God as beyond time helps me, even when I can’t totally grasp it, or for sure, explain it. Just knowing that He is not limited to it is freeing for me.

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8. Read or listen to the following short chapter and share your notes or comments.

 

When most people think of God as a being that is beyond personality, they really mean that He is impersonal. Many also think that when we die we will be absorbed into God, like a drop of water goes into the sea. It is the same as ceasing to exist. Only Christianity explains how we can become part of the life of God while still remaining ourselves. Lewis defines our whole purpose as this: “The whole purpose for which we exist is to be thus taken into the life of God.”

Lewis explains the Trinity by using the simple examples of one dimension-a straight line, two dimensions-a square, and three dimensions-a cube. One person would be like a simple straight line, two people like two separate squares. God’s dimension is different: “On the Divine level you still find personalities, but up there you find them combined in new ways which we, who do not live on that level, cannot imagine.” Lewis explains it is like a cube, which is six squares but remains one cube. God is a being who is three Persons while remaining one Being.

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    Susan — his explanation of the cube boggled me, but yours is very clear! :-)

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      I agree, Dee. Susan explained that better. I had to stop listening for a little while because my head was spinning! LOL I get it but then I don’t get it. Thanks, Susan!

      The cube illustration is wonderful!

        Oh Bing….of course I am only paraphrasing Lewis! I’ve heard the Trinity explained as an egg: the shell, the white, and the yolk are three separate things, but all-together it is only one egg!

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      Susan, the button “reply” is not showing next to your name so I am replying here after Dee again. I do love your paraphrasing. Yes, about the egg. Heard of that, too. What mystery but God is so that and I trust Him.

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These questions are hard
6. One of the creeds says Jesus is begotten, not created. Why is this important?

Lewis makes the point that begotten is different than created (begat). If God creates, He creates (makes) something different than Himself. Begotten means that the something is like Himself or in His likeness. He is the Father of the something.

 
7. What is a key difference between biological life and spiritual life?
 

Biological life is the being of matter, like animals, trees, and humans. It decays and dies. Spiritual life is the life eternal which is in God and which made the universe. He calls it Zoe.

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12. I mentioned a few of the ways this concept of God being beyond time helps me with theological challenges. Does it help you in any way — if so, how?

It helped me greatly in giving me an idea of what being outside of time would be like.

It also led me to a very devastating (though necessary) thought: It’s embarrassing to admit, but sometimes I used to think about the crucifixion lasting “only” 6 hours. I know of many people who have suffered torture for days or weeks on end and while I can’t comprehend what suffering the punishment for EVERY sin would be like, it still only lasted 6 hours. Given the idea that Lewis puts forth about being taken out of time, it then shows how Jesus could have suffered for eons longer than 6 hours in order to pay the full  price. That is truly dreadful to think about.

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    Interesting thoughts, Dawn. I’ve never thought about the six hours on the Cross like that either!

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Whew, just when I was starting to cut CS some slack, I’m back to hair pulling after reading the first chapters of book 4.  And I’m with you Sharon, reading C3 did not help me either, it made me feel a little disoriented reading whatever it was he was trying to say.  Can’t wrap my head around some of this stuff, sorta like I’ll never be able to understand eternity!   I’m so glad for the answers you all come up with, it’s really helpful.

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9. Lewis shows how the Christian enters into the Trinity when he prays. Explain.

 

The Christian man or woman prays, trying to get in touch with God. The reason why he has the desire to reach out for God is because God, inside of him, is prompting him to pray. This next part was a bit confusing to me: Lewis says that the Christian knows that all his knowledge of God comes through Jesus, and that Jesus is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. I thought that Jesus was in heaven now, and yes, He prays for us. The Spirit lives inside of us. So I don’t understand that Jesus is standing beside us and helping us to pray. I know that Jesus promised His disciples that He would be with them to the “end of the age”, and the “I will never leave you nor forsake you….” Is it Jesus or the Holy Spirit who is with us? Or both? I am confused. Jesus told His disciples that He would not leave them as orphans, but send the Spirit. That seems to say that Jesus is no longer physically present here. I am also not understanding Lewis saying that “God is also the road or bridge along which he (the Christian) is being pushed to that goal.”

 

 

 

 

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    Perhaps Lewis is thinking metaphorically with Christ beside me. I love the prayer, which I often say when I’m anxious or needing wisdom: Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ on either side of me, Christ within me — but I realize it is the Spirit…

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8. “Christian brotherhood is the laboratory outfit…” love this!

 

I also loved how he referred to a geologist at work.

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I definitely like living illustrations like the dance or marriage better to explain the Trinity, but the cube is interesting — now that I get it!

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The time concept was very helpful for me as I think so linear. I do not understand how God can see the 20’s and also see the 60’s but I realize since He knows, that I do not have to worry. I often think of my family in the Philippines. I have a particular sequencing of events in my mind and think if they do happen accordingly that that is a good thing. Of course, the events do not happen MY way perfectly. But often when I look back, I can at times “string” the events along and God opens my eyes to the many wonderful things He did-too wonderful that I have asked for or imagined.

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10. I feel like I have read this chapter before…maybe on this blog? I remember the story of Mary and other parts.

 

My thought is he distinguishes time of the moment and time overall. He says God has a time that sees all aspects of our limited timeframe in the moment. It reminds me of perspective in physics….for example, if I’m in a space ship looking at the solar system versus on earth. In space I see all the planets and moons of each. I see the sun in the center. From earths perspective I only see the planets and sun in the distance, not all at once. Lewis says God sees all time past, present, and future. We only see one bit at a time. Interesting point. He can deal with us in His time. He says philosophers and scientists have considered these other time frames. I believe he is speaking of the idea that there might be parallel universes; where we live in one and just next to us is another. Crazy, huh? Things ar me happening in each simultaneously.

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11. I answered this in number 10.

 

12. I mentioned a few of the ways this concept of God being beyond time helps me with theological challenges. Does it help you in any way — if so, how?

 

I guess I always wondered if a day to me was the same as God’s day. He took a week to create the cosmos etal, but was that akin to my 7 days? This helps me see that He could orchestrate the universe according to His time, not the seven days I know.

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