God and Christ, Creation and Miracles

I’m currently reading through God in the Dock by C.S. Lewis, a collection of essays on theology and ethics. Its wit and polemic abruptness yet gracefulness and humility were meant to keep the layman and skeptic engaged. Some have dubbed Lewis the “apostle to the skeptics”. I find he’s still relevant today, as he attempts apologetics for Jesus Christ to a generation that, instead of embracing the good news of being pardoned of their sin, brings God to the judgment seat and sits as his judges.

The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man, the roles are quite reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge; if God should have a reasonable defense for being the god who permits war, poverty, and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that man is on the bench and God is in the dock.

It’s speculation, but maybe why he begins his book with talk about something in itself peripheral, miracles, is that he needs to plea to a disinterested judge on the existence of something beyond what both parties know of the natural world to be true, only then to have his attention.

How Christ’s Miracles Interface with God’s Creation

modern people have an almost aesthetic dislike of miracles. Admitting that God can, they doubt if He would. To violate the laws He Himself has imposed on His creation seems to them arbitrary, clumsy, a theatrical device only fit to impress savages – a solecism against the grammar of the universe…

I have only recently found the answer…I found it first in George Macdonald and then later in St. Athanasius. This is what St Athanasius says in his little book On the Incarnation: ‘Our Lord took a body like to ours and lived as a man in order that those who had refused to recognize Him in His superintendence and captaincy of the whole universe might come to recognize from the words He did here below in the body that what dwelled in this body was the Word of God.’ This accords exactly with Christ’s own account of His miracles: ‘The Son can do nothing of Himself, but He seeth the Father do.’

…There is an activity of God displayed throughout creation, a wholesale activity let us say which men refuse to recognize. The miracles done by God incarnate, living as a man in Palestine, perform the very same things as this wholesale activity, but at a different speed and scale. One of their chief purposes is that men, having seen a thing done by personal power on the small scale, may recognize, when they see the same thing done on the large scale, that the power behind it is also personal – is in deed the very same person who lived among us two thousand years ago. The miracles in fact are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see. Of that larger script part is already visible, part is still unsolved. In other words, some of the miracles do locally what God as already done universally: others do locally what He has not yet done, but will do. In that sense, and from our human point of view, some are reminders and others prophecies…

…God creates the vine and teaches it to draw up water by its roots and, with the aid of the sun, to turn that water into  juice which will ferment and take on certain qualities. Thus every year, from Noah’s time till ours, God turns water into wine. That, men fail to see…

…Every year God makes a little corn into much corn…

…The miracles of healing fall into the same pattern…What the doctor does is to stimulate nature’s functions in the body, or to remove hindrances. In a sense, though we speak for convenience of healing a cut, every cut heals itself…All who are cured are cured by Him, the healer within. But once He did it visibly, a Man meeting a man…

…When He fed thousands he multiplied fish as well as bread. Look in every bay and almost every river. This swarming, pulsating fecundity shows He is still at work… (God in the Dock, p. 28-30)

I’m also taking part in a 12-message Christian conference on the book of Genesis, and have noticed a similar vein, which I am not going into here but basically goes like this: that in creation the invisible God’s eternal power and divine characteristics dwell (Gk. theiotes), and in Christ the fullness of God’s Godhead dwells bodily (Gk. theiotis). This is like a home expressing what a family is like but the family themselves needing no metaphor to be known.

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