Saturday, November 14, 2015


Perhaps, because so many of us grew up playing make-believe games and controlling what we imagined—whether teddy bears, dragons, paper dolls, or invented companions—we wrestle with the concept of a real God: the Creator, Ruler, Judge. A real God would have ultimate control. His very existence could demolish our comfortable mental castle of retreat from personal failures and mistaken choices. For this reason, some of us try warding off this real Deity from attacking our fantasy world by using such magical phrases as: “I can’t accept a God like that!” or “My concept of God is. . .” (and each fills in the blank with what he or she wants).

Those familiar with C. S. Lewis know that in his younger years he was a skeptic. He doubted God’s existence and certainly could not accept the Triune Deity revealed in the Bible. But his philosophical journey of dealing honestly with logic led him to face the real God. That confrontation toppled the castle walls of his agnostic dreams or illusions of less “threatening” gods. When he finally bowed his knee in allegiance to the true, living God, Jesus Christ became his King.

Some who read Lewis become infuriated at how his logic gnaws away at their dysfunctional fantasies about God. That was his purpose: to dismantle their comfortable, make-believe worlds just as divine truth stripped away his own escapist imaginations. One such effort was his book Miracles. The following passage1 from it may lure you to read the whole work. But the quote serves to conclude the brief point I’m making and to reinforce it by stating it even more clearly. . . .
Men are reluctant to pass over from the notion of an abstract and negative deity to the living God. I do not wonder. Here lies the deepest tap-root of Pantheism and of the objection to traditional imagery. It was hated not, at bottom, because it pictured Him as man but because it pictured Him as king, or even as warrior. The Pantheist’s God does nothing, demands nothing. He is there if you wish for Him, like a book on a shelf. He will not pursue you. There is no danger that at any time heaven and earth should flee away at His glance. If He were the truth, then we could really say that all the Christian images of kingship were a historical accident of which our religion ought to be cleansed. It is with a shock that we discover them to be indispensable. You have had a shock like that before, in connection with smaller matters—when the line pulls at your hand, when something breathes beside you in the darkness. So here; the shock comes at the precise moment when the thrill of life is communicated to us along the clue we have been following. It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone. “Look out!” we cry, “it’s alive. And therefore this is the very point at which so many draw back—I would have done so myself if I could—and proceed no further with Christianity. An “impersonal God”—well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads—better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap—best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband—that is quite another matter. There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (‘Man’s search for God’!) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He found us? 
So it is a sort of Rubicon. One goes across; or not. But if one does, there is no manner of security against miracles. One may be in for anything.
1. C. S. Lewis, Miracles (Macmillan: New York, 1978), pp. 93-94.


  1. I love Lewis' writings! He shows, better than any other author I have read, the dynamic, personal, unpredictable, incalculable God of the Bible, "the Hound of Heaven." Perelandra and The Great Divorce are among my favorite books.

    1. I find that most people who enjoy NARNIA or SCREWTAPE LETTERS have never heard of THE GREAT DIVORCE. It's my favorite of his books (read over a dozen times so far) and it has powerfully influenced my thinking about "free will" in view of God's unwillingness "that any should perish." Truly, the Creator-Preserver of the universe is Francis Thompson's "Hound of Heaven." Influenced by that poem, I wrote my own on that theme: "Caught By Love" (, which you may enjoy....

    2. That is lovely! Few poets today can write freely in strict forms like the poets of past centuries did. I admire those who can, like you.