The Incarnation – Starring W. Shakepeare

I’ve just finished reading “Surprised by Joy” by C.S. Lewis, in which Lewis gives an account of his drifting away from and subsequent return to Christianity. Out of the whole book, the one part that most jumps out at me is this incredible picture he paints for us. Let me give some background…

Lewis had drifted from Christianity to atheism over a long period of time where he ‘learned’ God out of existence, so to speak. In encountering a range of people and writers over the next few years of his life, he gradually and painfully came back to theism, but refused to believe in the relational God of christianity, preferring to call God “Absolute” – a sort of over-arching creative force, but not a person you could meet or relate to. To be able to relate to God in a personal way was to Lewis like saying that Shakespeare and Hamlet could meet. Impossible.

And here’s where the beauty steps in. Lewis realises over time that Shakespeare and Hamlet could meet. But only if Shakespeare wrote himself into the story, and he would have to take the initiative himself, because Hamlet can’t do it. And by writing himself into OUR story through the incarnation, God shows his desire to relate to us.

Isn’t that just freaking beautiful?

C.S. Lewis


6 thoughts on “The Incarnation – Starring W. Shakepeare

  1. onlysometimesclever

    I think that book was the one that had the best explanation I’ve ever heard regarding God and time. When I read it, I realized that I had still been thinking of God as just being able to jump back and forth in history, very linear. But, Lewis explained that God is totally *outside* of time. I don’t remember if he painted this picture, or if I visualized it myself, but time is like a string that stretches through space, and God is totally outside of that string, able to immediately “access”, so to speak, what to us would be ancient history, because it’s as real, as *now* to him as our current now is. I pictured the string like a line in geometry, with an infinite number of rays stretching out from each infinite number of points, radiating in all directions… I don’t know if that makes any sense, but, among other things, it really helped me understand how God has “time” for everyone, all the time. For each point in time, God is stretching out in infinite directions, and He’s outside of all of it… The thoughts of a single person 6,046 years ago are just as immediate to Him as my thoughts today.

  2. Iain MacKinnon Post author

    Absolutely, Karen. It’s incredible how many limitations we impose on God based on our own perception of how things are. God is so much out of the box that to him, it’s not even a box. We erect these crazy edifices and screens around things so WE can get a handle on them and then assume that a sovereign creator God perceives it all in the same way. Sort of like saying “God thinks like me” instead of us striving as best we can to make our thoughts mesh with his. Space is the one that gets me, for the same reasons you mention above. We think in ‘layers of spheres’ when it comes to space and eternity. My head is starting to hurt…

  3. jeremy hunt

    and therein is the genius of Lewis. his insights blow me away every time i read him. he’s so profound and yet so simple. without a doubt a gifted thinker and lover of God.

    and praise God that He’s written Himself into my story!

  4. Pingback: The Ascension & Exaltation: Lions, Swords and Floating « mackle

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