Myths, legends and the gospel

tumblr_m7ogpzdAQP1ra3okdo1_500

On the evening of September 19, 1931, Lewis had a long discussion with one of his closest friends, J. R. R. Tolkien . . .

Lewis said that he could not see what meaning Christ’s life, death and resurrection could possibly have for him living 1900 years after the events. Tolkien replied that the gospel works in the same way that myths work. Lewis had no problem in being moved by myths and legends – they gave him a sense of joy and touched a chord of longing in his heart. But, ‘they are lies breathed through silver’ Lewis replied.

No, said Tolkien, they are not completely lies – rather, myths have elements of the truth within the distortions and unworthy outer husk they often wear.

Myths, said Tolkien, are echoes
or memories of the truth
that God had originally made known
to Adam and Eve, the ancestors
of the whole human race.

peace-in-the-valley 2

There are in myths, memories of the un-fallen world, memories of paradise when the world was not stained by human rebellion but was characterized only by goodness and joy in all of life; there is a sense of the shame and tragedy of the brokenness of our present life; and there are hints of the promise and hope of redemption, of the setting right of all things. The Gospel is the true myth, the great fairy story.

In the Gospel of Christ
all the elements of truth in the pagan myths
find their fulfillment.

This conversation (it went on till 3:00 am) was a very significant turning point in Lewis’ conversion, for just a few days afterwards Lewis came to faith in Christ.

Jerram Barrs
Echoes of Eden
(emphasis added)

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: