Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Weight of Glory

Love pushes us to put our fellow man before ourselves.  It commands us, even compels us, to respect our neighbor.  Biblically this is quite evident as Christ commands us to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  Lewis, however, finds a logical way to support the Christian ideal that love is the greatest virtue.  He continues the same logic by finally concluding that not only are we required to love, but also that we are far too easily pleased with small worldly things instead of looking forward to eternal glory.

            Lewis argues that our natural desires for happiness support the existence of heaven.  He writes that “A mans physical hunger does not prove that he will get any bread” but it does “prove that he comes of a race which repairs it’s body by eating and inhabits a world where eatable substances exist.”  Just as the existence of hunger points to the existence of sustenance so the existence of a desire “which no natural happiness will satisfy” points to a supernatural comfort, such as heaven.   

This conclusion may cause doubt in the power of Christianity since the religion seems to teach as much as a mind could already reason; that heaven existed.  Lewis however explains that we as Christians are like schoolboys learning Greek.  The Greek is often painful, hard, and boring to learn but it is rewarding in the end when one masters the language enough to read Sophocles.  At first, the boy might want to enjoy the novels and literature of his own time instead of the “dull and cold” Sophocles.  Once he is skilled enough in Greek to understand Sophocles he will appreciate it and realize that it actually enhances his knowledge and understanding of present literature.  In the same way Christians may find certain parts of faith, and the bible, to be boring or difficult.  Instead of running away from those questions, Lewis encourages them to address them for “it will be precisely the puzzling or repellent which conceals what we do not yet know and need to know.”

            Therefore, two ideas are presented.  The first is that we are creatures created for an eternal and supernatural life.  Our earnest and unquenchable desire for something that cannot be fulfilled by worldly things proves that we we’re created for such a life.   Consequently, everyone we come into contact with and everything we do echoes in eternity.  Knowing that one day our neighbor might be bathed in glory pushes us to love him.  Our common destination should unify us for a common purpose as Christians.  Second, we must delve deep into our faith, as Christians, to understand our God better.  We are as Lewis wrote “too easily pleased” like the schoolboy and his novels.   We must love our God and bring glory to Him by seeking and knowing Him intimately.  In this way, love is the greatest virtue.

No comments:

Post a Comment