I’m in the process of reading (devouring) a new biography of C.S. Lewis written by Alister McGrath. I treated myself to it for Christmas.
C.S. Lewis’ writings are very important to me. They were instrumental in my coming to believe that God is real. My conversion experience is so similar to Lewis’ that I often refer to him affectionately as “my uncle”.
In struggling against doubt throughout December, I became very frustrated with the idea that I can’t understand certain things. There is a lot in scripture that I don’t understand. Here are just a few of the things that bother me:]
- A Talking Donkey
- How a person can survive in the belly of a fish
- Bushes on fire that do not burn
- Floating, writing hands
And that’s just a few of a much larger list that I made a few weeks ago.
However, I came across an interesting passage in Lewis’ biography that is causing me to rethink my frustration. I’ll type it here in it’s entirety–it’s a quote from C.S. Lewis himself:
We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. That’s the formula. That’s Christianity. That’s what has to be believed. Any theories we build up as to how Christ’s death did all this are, in my view, quite secondary: mere plans or diagrams to be left alone if they don’t help us, and, even if they do help us, not to be confused with the thing itself.
And so, even though I want to know those plans and diagrams, I can not confuse them with the thing itself–that Jesus died for me. That Jesus died for you. How his death forgave our sins is secondary to the fact that His death DID forgive our sins.
For me, and maybe for you, this is a difficult thing to grasp. But it makes sense in light of all that is unknowable in scripture. As I read through scripture (now starting on my second time of listening through the Bible), I am often left wanting more information. More details. More background to stories and more results of happenings. But God has ordained that these longings are not to be satisfied until heaven, and maybe not even there, I don’t know.
What I do know is that I must work on believing. I must fight cynicism and doubt at every turn. I must be grateful for what God has given us in scripture, because He knows what we need to know, in order to come to a place of belief and trust in Him.