The Shocking Alternative
Here in this chapter CS Lewis finally gets around to laying down some solid, Christian doctrine. In these 6 pages Lewis explores Jesus and His claims of godhood from a very logical perspective. He lays out how over time God (Yahweh) has left humans conscience, allowed humans who did not follow Him to dream good dreams of a god dying and returning to life in order to save humanity, and how He revealed Himself to a specific people group and hammered into their heads who He is.
And then a man arose from that group to declare Himself the same God who created them and delivered them time and time again. There is no middle ground on how we can respond to this claim, we either agree completely or we declare Him a liar (or lunatic, or the devil himself). He cannot be simply a good man or a good moral teacher and claim godhood. It just will not line up logically. It is an all-or-nothing proposition.
I especially enjoyed Lewis’ explanations about how God could create bad people and bad things. He created wonderful people with amazing gifts and abilities. They become great when they choose to do good with those things and honor Him. They become truly horrid when they choose to use those talents for evil. This is because we were each given the choice to love God or not. Were we created as automatons without free will, we would be incapable of love and would merely be carrying out our programming to obey our Creator’s wishes. But we were made to run on the fuel our Creator provides. He desires (His will) for us to run on His fuel, to lean on Him for our life, but we try to create our own fuels to run our souls off of. This is why there are so many people who are empty in this world. Much like trying to run a car off of anything other than the proper fuel, they are attempting to power their souls off whatever they can find that might feel like a good fit. And it does not work.
This is why God can will things that we see as bad. His will is higher and more perfect than ours. I have heard accusations of stupidity hurled at those who use this sentence, but it is true. Our will is imperfect, and we far too often choose to act outside of what God desires for His creation. Bad things happen because we live in a broken world and are broken, flawed people. Not because God is imperfect in any way.
This post feels like I am rambling, and perhaps I am. But there was a lot to cover in these 6 pages from Lewis. I would love to simply copy and paste a couple of pages worth of quotes, but I must refrain. I hope it makes sense to you (and when I read over it again at the end of the book).