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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Miracles



I realized recently that I don't exactly update this often. It seems that what prompts me to blog is if I've seen a movie in the theater. That's kind of boring.

Then I realized that what I do and do often is read. I'm constantly reading one thing or another. Usually I like what I pick up, other times not so much. So I decided to add book reviews to this blog. When I get done with a book, I'll post my thoughts here.

So our first book to be officially reviewed under this new program is Miracles by C.S. Lewis.


Personally, I'm a Lewis junkie. I had read Screwtape Letters when I was in college, but I really didn't discover what a genius Lewis was until the Seminary. Now I try to pick up one of his non-fiction books and read it to really give the apologetic side of my faith a good tune-up.

Miracles is Lewis' answer to those who say that miracles can't happen. I'll admit, I had some trouble diving in at first; the intial chapters deal with Naturalism and Supernaturalism quite extensively and it bogged things down. But once you get past the initial nitty gritty, things really begin to fly.

There were a lot of "Aha!" moments for me, including one that I've been looking for since I began reading Lewis, namely Lewis' belief that the parallels between pagan mythology and Christianity are purposeful.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, some people have compared myths where the pagan gods die and rise (such as Osiris) to the story of Christ's death and resurrection and come to the conclusion that Christ is just a rip-off of the pagan myths, one that has succeeded where the others failed.

Lewis takes this argument and turns it on its head, saying that yes, there is imitation going on here, but that the pagan gods are imitating Christ.

Sounds weird, right? How could the Osiris myth (or the Odin myth, etc. etc. etc.), which surfaced hundreds if not thousand of years before Christ, be a copy?

Lewis' argument is simply that Osiris and the other dying and rising gods are fertility gods. Their death and resurrection stories describe the cycle of death and rebirth in the seasons of the year. Lewis stated that this idea of death and resurrection was such a part of who God is that it just naturally embedded itself into Nature when God created everything. The ancients picked up on this and since they had a rudimentary understanding that this death and resurrection stuff had something to do with the divine, they crafted stories that expressed it. Then Christ came and fulfilled the true Death and Resurrection that God had been harboring since the dawn of time, expressions of which found pale imitations in pagan mythology.

Lewis does a better job explaining it. I was just excited to finally read his words about it.

There are some problems with the book. Lewis wrote it in 1947, so his understanding of science in such areas as embryology is a little off. But it's still a good book and an enjoyable read.

2 comments:

Jamison said...

Hey John. Nice review. I enjoy Lewis, but sometimes his writing is just too thick to chew through in quick settings. He can sometimes take a long time to read and digest. But, what he say, when I finally get it, is well worth the effort.

Speaking of miracles, I bloged about miracles recently myself, based on something one of my professors said. Not that you've read Lewis, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on my professors view.

Jamison said...

Boy.. I really need to check my posts for typos... That fourth sentance should read "But, what he says..." and in the last sentance it should say "Now that you've read Lewis..."

Uh, ya... I'm a college graduate... :)