Mere Christianity by C.S. LewisLast week we discussed the first part of the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. That first part was titled, “Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe.” Today we will look at the second part of the book called, “What Christians Belief.”

The first thing that Lewis says about Christians is that they believe in a God that is beyond good and evil. People tend to have a morale compass that directs them in their understanding of morality, but of course that can be a little subjective.

We see this all the time with food. In some countries it is acceptable to eat bugs – in fact it can even be a delicacy! They fry them or dip them, saute, drink, you name it. Not only do they do they eat bugs, but they eat bugs that would be considered vile by our standards. After all, who would ever want to eat a scorpion?

Just as people can have different opinions about food, they can also have different opinions about what is right and wrong. Maybe in some societies telling the truth is something they would never consider. In fact it is people that are able to produce the best stories that are viewed as leaders of the community, some one to be looked up to and admired! Of course in our eyes this (should) be absurd. Since we have a hard time coming to an agreement about what is right and wrong, God must necessarily be outside our understanding of those concepts. While Lewis doesn’t use the term, we would say that God is holy.

From here he goes on to discuss the incarnation – he calls it “the invasion.” Here Lewis is talking about Jesus coming from heaven into enemy occupied territory (earth). Lewis’ perspective on this is one that we often tend to forget, which is just how the enemy likes it to be.

We live in a world that is not supposed to be this way. When God first created the world it was perfect! There was no sin as of yet and “all was right with the world,” as the saying goes. Of course this didn’t last and history is evidence of the terrible price that has been paid. We are slaves to sin and as slaves we serve our master, Satan. Ephesians 2:2 tells us:

in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–

Satan, for now, controls this world and so when Jesus came to earth, he did so as a soldier parachuting behind enemy lines. He came in disguise as one of us and there was nothing that the devil could do to thwart his plan.

The next part deals with that age old debate about freedom. How is possible that a God who knows everything could make beings that are free? Some people try to get around the argument by saying that there really is no such thing as freedom. Huh? The Bible pretty clear that we have true freedom. Not only that but what kind of love for God could there be if we really didn’t have the choice to love him?Is the world screwed up as a result of freedom? Absolutely, but that’s our fault, not God’s.

Finally he concludes by discussing the Christian life in terms of baptism, belief, and communion (I know, that last one really needed to start with a “b”). Christians, as opposed to other people that seek the favor of their god, do so because they are alive. That sounds really strange so let me explain.

In our natural condition we are dead. Paul tells us again in Ephesians 2:1,

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

Before we come to Christ we are dead people. We may walk and talk but that is just a puppet show. Most people are truly dead, and dead people don’t, of course, have life. Christians on the other hand are now spiritually alive.

This book was another good example of classical Lewis writing, filled with long sentences and twisting thoughts. But he does a really good job of making the read think through his logic and ideas so that one can come to the same conclusion. My only complaint is that he does this without using any Scripture so far. We’ll see what the next part holds next week!