15 October 2011

The Terrible Fix We Are In

The trouble is that one part of you is on His side and agrees with His disapproval of human greed and trickery and exploitation. You may want Him to make an exception in your own case, to let you off this one time; but you know at bottom that unless the power behind the world really and unalterably detests that sort of behaviour, then He cannot be good.

On the other hand, we know that if there does exist an absolute goodness it must hate most of what we do.

That is the terrible fix we are in.

If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again. We cannot do without it, and we cannot do with it. God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger–according to the way you react to it.

And we have reacted the wrong way.
--C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Part 1, chapter 5

'But God . . .' -Ephesians 2:4

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