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Thinking Out Loud

A Rumor Going Around: A Reading for Advent

by Michael Jinkins | Dec 20, 2016

This Advent our blogs all point toward the promise of incarnation. Each is a reading from a well-known Christian writer.

Rumor Going AroundThose of us who have read (and re-read) C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, know that Lewis had a lot to say about the incarnation. Remember the land where it was always winter and never Christmas? At least until Aslan came. But Lewis wrote a great deal more about the miracle of incarnation and its implications for us. Today's reading is from Lewis's publication, Mere Christianity, which began as a few series of war time radio talks on Christian beliefs, behaviors and the doctrine of the Trinity. We will draw from two talks, "Making and Begetting" and "Good Infection." The reading has been edited for length and more inclusive language. Brackets mark the words I changed (sons to children, men to people) or added for clarity sake.

"Now the point in Christianity which gives us the greatest shock is the statement that by attaching ourselves to Christ, we can 'become [children] of God.' One asks 'Aren't we [children] of God already? Surely the fatherhood of God is one of the main Christian ideas?' Well, in a certain sense, no doubt we are [children] of God already. I mean, God has brought us into existence and loves us and looks after us, and in that way is like a father. But when the Bible talks about our 'becoming' [children] of God, obviously it must mean something different. And that brings us up against the very center of Theology.

"One of the creeds says that Christ is the Son of God 'begotten, not created'; and it adds 'begotten by his Father before all worlds.' ... We are thinking about something that happened before Nature was created at all, before time began. 'Before all worlds' Christ is begotten, not created. ...

"We don't use the words Begetting or begotten much in modern English, but everyone still knows what they mean. To beget is to become the father of: to create is to make. ... Now that is the first thing to get clear. What God begets is God: just as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God, just as what man makes is not man. That is why [people] are not [children] of God in the sense that Christ is. They may be like God in certain ways, but they are not things of the same kind. They are more like statues or pictures of God. ...

"And that is precisely what Christianity is about. This world is a great sculptor's shop. We are the statues and there is a rumor going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life. ...

"We are not begotten by God, we are only made by him; in our natural state we are not [children] of God [in the sense that Christ is], only (so to speak) statues. ... Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have his way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always has existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be [children] of God [in the fullest sense]. We shall love the Father as he does and the Holy Spirit will arise in us. ... Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else." [C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2001), pp. 156-159, & 177.]

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