Monday, January 26, 2009


There are two types of order that exist. There is the established order of things. Examples of this would be ranks in the military. A private always answers to a Lieutenant and everyone always answers to a General. Or, in a business, there are established hierarchies of bosses up a ladder of power. The other kind of order is informal. It is not established on paper or even vocalized in any orderly form. It exists primarily in our own minds.

Lewis would say that both types of order are necessary and niether one is better than the other. The less formal of the two, however, stems from our desire to belong. This is our desire to be a part of the "inner ring". We want to be wanted and included in something. It is inherent in our nature. I believe that this order stems completely from this desire that is always present in our nature.

Our desire to belong to the "inner ring" is not a bad desire. It will never be satisfied, however, by things of this world. We will never be a part of the inner ring until we do not desire it especially since there is always a deeper part of the inner ring to reach. Therefore, to become satisfied by the inner ring it is completely necessary to find our belonging in the Kingdom of God and fulfill our desire there.


There are two definitions of pain. One definition is physical pain. The breaking of a bone or even a pinch on the skin would fit this definition. C.S. Lewis defines pain, however, as anything that is not liked by a patient. Any mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual discomfort would fit this definition of pain.

"Why does God allow pain and suffering?" First of all, this question shows a complete lack of understanding on the one who asks it. God is not the cause or source of our pain. He did not create us for the purpose of allowing pain to be inflicted on us. The evil that causes us pain was not His doing.

Most will still say, however, that if God is good then he could not possibly allow people to suffer. There is a famous story of Charles Templeton who was a devout Christian. He was close friends with Billy Graham in fact. He held on to his faith dearly until he heard the story of a child in Africa dying in his mothers arms shortly after he was birthed. Templeton could not get over the fact that God allowed this to happen. So, he left his faith. The fact of the matter is that there is sin in the world. And yes, it would be nice if God were to fix all of it. But, instead of doing everything for us, He has allowed us to engage this problem of pain along with Him. Instead of looking to God to solve everything, we should accept the call to redeem all things back to Him.

Even further, who is to say that a little discomfort is not a bad thing. It is in our times of greatest suffering and pain that we are of most use to God. When everything gets taken away from us we have no choice but to run to god and depend wholly on Him.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Can someone who is not a Christian lead a good life? Maybe a better question to start with would be, can a non-christian do a good work at all? Before this question can be answered, a definition of good needs to be given. If you say that for something to be good, the right motives have to be behind that act, then a non-christian would not be able to do a good work. Although, I know a lot of Christians that would not be able to either. So, maybe I am wrong, but I would say that God takes the works of non-Christians and Christians alike that have poor motives and uses them for good and for the advancement of His Kingdom. Motives aside, it is the common grace of God that allows us to do good works in the first place.

C.S. Lewis's argument is that if you have two people that want to do good works, the one that is more informed on the moral law will have a better idea of what to do. So, can a non-Christian do good works, I suppose. But, as someone said in class, by asking the question you admit that Christianity has in some way an advantage when it comes to good works. So trying to live a good life without being a Christian is like purposefully crippling yourself.

The last points that C.S. Lewis gives a great final answer to this question. First, no one can live a perfect or good life. We have all fallen short and therefore need that saving grace of God. Secondly, the end goal of our lives is not to live a good life. Not to say that good works should not be done. But, the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. If that is your goal in life then it is my belief that good works will come along with it.


Plantinga talks about redemption in the fourth chapter of Engaging God's World. One of the early metaphors that he uses is one of God cloaking with mercy a universe that has grown cold with its own sin. I like this metaphor mostly because it puts the action on God. God has done all of the work and we deserve no credit in the matter. The fact that we say "yes" to God's call does not give us any credit either. This is also a lot of the Reformed beliefs that I have speaking out. I believe that not only did God redeeming of the Universe through Christ on the Cross, but he also does the working in each of our hearts that brings us to him.

The part that stuck out to me was the famous quote by Abraham Kuiper. The idea that there is not one square inch of the universe that God does not claim is something that I think a lot of people forget. First, when most people think of Christs death on the cross, they think only of Earth being saved; but it was the entire cosmos. Second, there are a lot of things in this world that it would be easy to just get rid of and then we would be closer to God. Sex for example has been misused since the fall. It is our job as Christians to do our best to keep it inside of marriage how God wants it. Another example is music. There is a ton of music out there that is not God glorifying. That does not mean, however, that music should be thrown out altogether. It simply means that it has been misused and we need bring it back to how God intended.


As man goes out and discovers new things or ideas in nature, new technologies that seem to give us more convenience and ease of hardships develop. In this conquest to discover and conquer nature, however, man has himself become the patient and is himself being conquered. With every new discovery and with every new piece of technology, man makes himself more and more dependent on the things of this world.

I do want to be careful, however. As it is definitely not a bad thing to find and use resources that God has given to us. It just cannot be a necessity to the point that we cannot function without this new techonology.

Upon reading the Abolition of Man, I started to think about how the more in nature we discover, the less mysterious and awesome it seems. The more we learn about stars the less it seems like they are a beautiful ball of awesomeness. And, whenever some miracle in medicine happens, that is attributed to God. But, whenever we discover something in the human body that can account for the miracle in medicine, the mystery of God seems to be less amazing. It's as if the power of God gets smaller with every new discovery. Viewing the world with this dichotomy is very dangerous. It is not until we realize that God is in the known and the unknown that we can get a glimpse of the awesomeness of God. We cannot simply just accredit things we do not know yet to God and things that we do know to science. God made it all and has power over it all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


There are four types of love according to Lewis. They are Philia, Storge, Agape, and Eros. Philia is friendship love. It is the kind of love that would cause a man to lay down his life for another. Storge is affectionate love. This is the love that a mother has for her child and is most easily related to the kind of love that animals have. This love is completely necessary for survival. Agape is the love that must go throughout all the other three loves. Agape is the love that God and humans share. If Agape, or God's love, is not part of Philia, Storge, or Eros they will all fall apart. You love because you have experienced the love of God.

Eros is the romantic love that is shared between a man and a woman. Lewis is quick to distinguish between Eros and Sexuality (Venus), although he would most definitely agree that they are without a doubt connected. He even calls it humorous in that something as beautiful as Eros is connected with something like Venus.

Many mistake Venus for Eros. The quick test to find out if you have Eros with Venus or just Venus is to look at the five minutes after sex and look at the attitudes of both involved. If all that is there is Venus then "the carton will be thrown out." As Lewis says, you do not keep the carton after you have smoked the cigarettes.

Perhaps the most important point that Lewis makes in this chapter is that Love is a choice. The passion of young lovers fades over time if God is not a part of the relationship. It is important to know this now before you enter into a marriage only to find the passion to have gone away. If you know that you need God to begin with, then it is much easier to stay faithful and loving even after the "honeymoon period" has ended.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Plantinga talks about what our vocation in God's Kingdom is in the fifth chapter of Engaging God's World. It seems that he would agree with Lewis in that if we wait until our life is "normal" or until the pressures of life have gone away, we will never accomplish anything for the Kingdom of God. There is always going to be something that needs to be done or some pressure that is weighing you down. It takes perserverance to carry on and do God's bidding even in all of these times. Obedience is key.

Plantinga talks about the difference between a "good citizen" and a "prime citizen". A good citizen accepts the commission of Jesus and likes the Kingdom of God. A prime citizen, however, accepts the commission of Jesus with enthusiasm and yearns for the Kingdom of God. The heart of a prime citizen loves the things of the spirit (repentence, forgiveness, etc.) and gets excited when any of these things come to mind. In short, "He or she is a person with a calling." We all have a calling in God's Kingdom. Whatever that vocation may be, not only missionaries or pastors, it can be used to advance the Kingdom of God.