Glimpses of paradise

Healing blind man

Jesus is like a walking,
talking garden of Eden –
a sphere of paradise on earth.
With him wrongs are righted,
darkness is dispelled
and everything that’s twisted
gets smoothed out again.

―Glen Scrivener

Advertisements

More than a dream

Castle garden

Faith is the assurance
that the best and holiest dream
is true after all.

–Frederick Buechner

Published in: on 05/01/2013 at 4:58  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

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that God had originally made known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)

Dreams of blessedness

18 B

Like Adam, we have all lost Paradise; and yet we carry Paradise around inside of us in the form of a longing for, almost a memory of, a blessedness that is no more, or the dream of a blessedness that may someday be again.

―Frederick Buechner 
The Magnificent Defeat

Paradise restored

223543_460570454010159_532968812_n copy 2

Jesus will make the world
our perfect home again.
We will no longer be living ‘east of Eden,’
always wandering and never arriving.
We will come, and the father will meet us
and embrace us, and we will be 
 brought into the feast.

–Tim Keller
The Prodigal God

The problem of pleasure

24-always-together

Why is sex fun? Reproduction surely does not require pleasure: some animals simply split in half to reproduce . . . Why is eating enjoyable? Plants and the lower animals manage to obtain their quota of nutrients without the luxury of taste buds. Where are there colors? Some people get along fine without the ability to detect color. Why complicate vision for all the rest of us?

It struck me, after reading my umpteenth book on the problem of pain, that I have never seen a book on “the problem of pleasure.” Nor have I met a philosopher who goes around shaking his or her head in perplexity over the question of why we experience pleasure. Yet it looms as a huge question: the philosophical equivalent, for atheists, to the problem of pain for Christians. On the issue of pleasure, Christians can breathe easier.

A good and loving God would naturally want
his creatures to experience delight,
joy and personal fulfillment.

1280_Tree and the Sunset copy

Christians start from that assumption and then look for ways to explain the origin of suffering. But should not atheists have an equal obligation to explain the origin of pleasure in a world of randomness and meaninglessness?

. . . Where does pleasure come from? Chesterton settled on Christianity as the only reasonable explanation.

Moments of pleasure are
the remnants washed ashore
from a shipwreck, bits of Paradise
extended through time.

We must hold these relics lightly, and use them with gratitude and restraint, never seizing them as entitlements.

. . . Evil’s greatest triumph may be its success in portraying religion as an enemy of pleasure when, in fact, religion accounts for its source: every good and enjoyable thing is the invention of a Creator who lavished gifts on the world.

–Philip Yancey
Soul Survivor

A sense of exile

Paradise

We all long for Eden
and we are constantly glimpsing it:
our whole nature is still soaked
with the sense of exile.

–J.R.R. Tolkien
(1892 – 1973)

Published in: on 04/05/2013 at 21:08  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

The problem of pleasure

Why is sex fun? Reproduction surely does not require pleasure: some animals simply split in half to reproduce, and even humans use methods of artificial insemination that involve no pleasure. Why is eating enjoyable? Plants and lower animals manage to obtain their quota of nutrients without the luxury of taste buds. Why are there colors? Some people get along fine without the ability to detect color. Why complicate vision for the rest of us?

It struck me, after reading my umpteenth book on the problem of pain, that I have never even seen a book on “the problem of pleasure.” Nor have I met a philosopher who goes around shaking his or her head in perplexity over the question of why we experience pleasure. Yet it looms as a huge question: the philosophical equivalent, for atheists, to the problem of pain for Christians. On the issue of pleasure, Christians can breathe easier.

A good and loving God would naturally want
his creatures to experience delight, joy,
and personal fulfillment.

Christians start from that assumption and then look for ways to explain the origin of suffering. But should not atheists have an equal obligation to explain the origin of pleasure in a world of randomness and meaninglessness?

. . . Where does pleasure come from? After searching alternatives, (Gilbert) Chesterton settled on Christianity as the only reasonable explanation for its existence in the world.

Moments of pleasure are the remnants washed ashore from a shipwreck, bits of Paradise extended through time.

We must hold these relics lightly, and use them with gratitude and restraint, never seizing them as entitlements.

–Philip Yancey

%d bloggers like this: