Monday, April 7, 2014

Whatever I am, I am not myself.

"All the real argument about religion turns on the question of whether a man who was born upside down can tell when he comes right way up.  The primary paradox of Christianity is that the ordinary condition of man is not his sane or sensible condition;  that the normal itself is an abnormality.  That is the inmost philosophy of the Fall.  In Sir Oliver lodge's interesting new Catechism, the first two questions were:  "What are you?" and "What, then, is the meaning of the Fall of Man?"  I remember amusing myself by writing my own answers to the questions;  but I soon found that they were very broken and agnostic answers.  To the question, "What are you?"  I could only answer, "God knows."  And to the question, "What is meant by the Fall?"  I could answer with complete sincerity,  "That whatever I am, I am not myself."  This is the prime paradox of our religion  something that we have never in any full sense known, is not only better than ourselves, but even more natural to us than ourselves.  And there is really no test of this except the merely experimental one with which these pages began, the test of the padded cell and the open door.  It is only since I have known orthodoxy that I have known mental emancipation."

(Chesterton, "Orthodoxy")

What is he saying?  He sounds like Paul in Romans 5 and 6, but he does not finish with the exclamation about Christ. He finishes with "joy", and how Christ must have hid his "mirth".

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

No comments: