Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Weight of Glory

C. S. Lewis delves into the weight of glory. Either we shall live in eternal shame or eternal glory and fame C. S. Lewis writes. It is our desire as humans that we gain God’s approval. We seek to be acknowledged by God just as the Bible verse says, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” This desire for approval is in response to God’s love for us. We love God because he first loved us. The only problem with this is that we often forget our purpose in life, we are depraved beings tainted by sin. Sometimes we see ourselves as school boys, “working for marks, or to escape punishment, or to please his parents, or, at best, in the hope of a future good which he cannot at present imagine or desire.” C. S. Lewis defines this type of life as that of a mercenary. We know we will get a reward, but do not know what it is until we have received it. Sometimes this life is exciting and other times boring. We may get sick of waiting for our reward, or perhaps, we may find ourselves preliminarily rewarded by desiring the future reward. Hence, it often seems that the anticipation up to an event is greater and more exciting than the event itself.

On earth, we are interacting with immortals. It is a very interesting idea that those “whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit” are not ordinary people. There are, in fact, no ordinary people. “You have never talked to a mere mortal” as C. S. Lewis puts it. Every day, we are either becoming immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. Every action we do is making us into our eternal being. We are constantly becoming something, whether that something is good or bad. How would we live if we actually realized our immortality? Would it be with perpetual solemnity? C. S. Lewis writes that we must express a certain merriment, that “which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously.”

To provide an answer for how immortals interact, we would at first have to believe that immortality exists. We must hold that there is an eternal life waiting for us after death, whether we like it or not. C. S. Lewis uses the simple human feeling of hunger to express our desire for heaven and eternal life. He writes, “But surely a man’s hunger does prove that he comes of a race which repairs its body by eating and inhabits a world where eatable substances exist.” Perhaps, our desire for a heaven proves the existence of heaven. This is not an accurate proof, but rather may be held as a very good indication that heaven may exist and that we may experience eternity after death.

C. S. Lewis concludes this longing for eternity and heaven with the idea that “heaven is, by definition, outside our experience.” Just as we long for earthly things, these desires simply reflect our desire for communion with God. We do not experience the entirety of heaven because we exist on earth at the moment. When you work towards a reward, you know you will get the reward; it’s just that you do not have the reward yet. This is where, I believe, C. S. Lewis shows his reformed side. He writes that “heaven is not really full of jewelry anymore than it is really the beauty of Nature or a fine piece of music.” We should not be saying as Christians, “I can’t wait to get to heaven.” Instead, we should ask, “How can I bring heaven here on earth?” God does not intend for Christians to sit around waiting for his power to restore creation. Rather, he takes us on as partners in this grandiose project, agents of renewal in his creation. It is our duty as Plantinga says to be stewards of creation, glorifying God in our responsible dominion over creation. We are able to do some good with God’s help. He enables us to bring his eternal kingdom down to this earth.

No comments:

Post a Comment