C. S. Lewis: Mere Christianity- Reaction Paper for Book 4 C. S. Lewis covers many topics in his fourth book contained in Mere Christianity titled BEYOND PERSONALITY: OR FIRST STEPS IN THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY. He addresses such topics as theology, what it means to be the Son of God, the three personal God, the relationship of God and time, the cost of being a Christian, how God works to turn us into image of Christ, why Christian growth is both hard and easy, and also what he thinks about our old personalities before becoming Christians.
These are all relative topics that apply to us and our daily lives. Learning and understanding this book can help a Christian tremendously in forming a deeper relationship with God. Chapter One is a discussion about life and how it relates to God. Theology is the science of God. Lewis compares theology to a map. A map is formed from accumulated experience, not just one view.
Christian doctrines are based on the accumulated experience of hundreds of people who were in touch with God. He then discusses what it means that God has brought us into existence and loves us and in that way is like a father. Lewis then goes on to describe the difference between begetting and creation. Begetting is to be the father of and to create is to make. According to Lewis, "What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God; just as what man creates is not man." In Chapter Two C.
S. Lewis makes the point that Christians are the only ones to believe that God is something that is super-personal. Others believe in God, but not in a personal God. They think there is a mysterious something behind all things. They make this "something" impersonal or less than personal. Lewis points out that some people believe that when you die the soul is absorbed by God.
They explain this using the analogy that the soul is like a drop of water dropped into the ocean. But this really means that by being absorbed you do not exist. Christians believe that they are taken into God and still remain unique. They become, in fact, more that they were before. Lewis compares the relationship with God to the three dimensions of space.
The dimensions involve complexity and understanding. He explains the relationship with God this way; "as a being who is three persons while remaining one Being." Christians believe in God, they also want to be close to God and they know that they can do this through Christ, the Son of God. When Christians pray they pray to God, but God is in them moving them to pray. Time is the next topic covered. Time is an interesting and complex issue as it relates to God. Our human minds think of time in terms of past, present and future.
We assume that this applies to the whole universe and to God. Lewis states; "Almost certainly God is not in Time. His life does not consist of moments following one another." C. S. Lewis believes that it is always the present for God. God can see everything past and future as the present.
Also since God is not in time he is not constrained by time. He can hear all prayers and attend to them individually. He then moves on to discuss God as the Father and the Son. According to Lewis, "The Son exists because the Father exists: but there never was a time before the Father produced the Son." In Lewis' view, the statement, "God is love" is not true unless there are a Father and a Son because love is for another person. "Love is God" describes God's creation of us and all that we do.
The Trinity is God both as Supreme Being, Christ the son, and the Holy Spirit. If we let God have his way in our lives we can become sons of God. In Chapter Five Lewis uses an analogy of tin soldiers coming to life to describe how Christians are transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Our natural life if life self-centered in us. Chapter Six discusses individuals and a body of people.
Lewis contends that Christianity considers individuals not by themselves but as organs in a body. Each individual is different but contributing to overall well being of the body of Christ. Lewis next discusses "dressing up as Christ", how pretending to be like Christ can bring you closer to Him. If you let God into your heart He will make you into a little Christ. Chapter Eight asks is Christianity hard or easy? Lewis believes that the more you listen to your conscience, the more your conscience will demand from you. This will only make you mad and you will either give up trying to be good or you will try to do everything for everybody.
But you will be doing everything for the wrong reasons and will be mad because no one appreciates all that you do. It is hard to give yourself to Christ, but it is harder to try and be good and happy by ourselves. In Chapter Nine the cost of being a Christian is examined. God will make you perfect. He does not do anything halfway.
If you allow Him in He will not rest until you are perfect. Lewis uses a George MacDonald parable of God rebuilding a house. He does not just fix the plumbing and the leaky roof, He makes the house a mansion. That is what he will do with us. Lewis then talks about why not all Christians are not nicer than non-Christians. God gave us free will and because of that cannot make someone be nice.
People choose to be nice. People are judge by others on how they live their lives not what they talk about. The final chapter discusses becoming a new man. Lewis states that "becoming a new man means losing what we now call "ourselves." Out of ourselves, into Christ, we must go.
His will is to become ours and we are to think His thoughts." Lewis believes that believing in Christ will give you a real personality. I consider this book the best of the four. It provided a lot of practical information and explanation of Christian beliefs. It addressed some difficult and complex issues that each Christian must face. It is definitely a book that makes you think. The chapter on the concept of time and God really meant a lot to me.
The fact that God is always in the present and can hear our prayers individually and attend to them individually is comforting. The example of God being the page that a time line is drawn on and is in the past, present and future at the same time is a good illustration. That helped me understand the concept better. This book provides a lot of good information that has helped better understand God and our relationship with Him.
This information will give me more confidence and will enable me to better defend my faith and to share that faith with others. This is a book that I recommend that all Christians read. It is a book that will really make you think. For me it was kind of tough to read and understand at times, but it is worth the effort and time. This book will arm the believer with answers to complex and difficult issues.