20 July 2012

Myth Became Fact

In his fascinating essay “Is Theology Poetry?” C. S. Lewis spoke of the incarnation as 'the humiliation of myth into fact.' He wrote that
what is everywhere and always, imageless and ineffable, only to be glimpsed in dream and symbol and the acted poetry of ritual becomes small, solid—no bigger than a man who can lie asleep in a rowing boat on the Lake of Galilee.
The Word, the Logos, the central meaning of the universe, the integrative center to reality, the climax and culmination of all of human history, that which summoned solar systems into instant existence—at just the right time (Gal. 4:4)—became a baby. The night Christ was born in Bethlehem, Chesterton wrote, “the hands that had made the sun and stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle.”

He became a man. The one true man. All that you and I experience Jesus experienced, with the exception of sin. I am increasingly thinking that to question whether Jesus led a normal life as we do is to put the whole point backward. His was the only normal life the world has ever seen. We are the abnormal ones.

When Jesus performed miracles he was not doing violence to the natural order. He was restoring the natural order to the way it was meant to be. People were not supposed to be blind but to see. People were not made to be lame but to walk. Legs are supposed to work.

Demons did not belong in people. Unlike Adam, who failed to exorcise Satan from the Garden, Jesus did what Adam should have done, exorcising demons from men and women made in God’s image. Adam was supposed to exile Satan from Eden but failed, so he was exiled from the Garden, and Israel later recapitulated that exile corporately. Jesus experienced the curse of exile as the one true and faithful Israelite who didn't deserve to be exiled. The remnant of one. Elijah said 'I, even I only, am left' (1 Kings 19:10), but only Jesus could truly say that in an absolute and ultimate sense.

In this sense Jesus’ miracles were not supernatural. They were truly natural. This fallen world is sub-natural. Jesus is the one truly human being who ever lived. The incarnation does not give us a hypothetical picture of how we would be able to live if only we were divine. It gives us an actual picture of how we are meant to live, and one day will, when we are once again fully human.

1 comment:

Herms said...

In so many ways the Lord Jesus upturns our way of thinking by his teaching and actions - here's another one! Thanks for sharing.