Patricia Hofer

Christ offers a glimpse of a life “beyond nature”

In his book Miracles, CS Lewis wrote extensively about Nature and its capacity to do what it does. He concluded that the natural world is not fair or democratic at all in its processes. Natural selection is harsh, for example. Some life forms thrive; others go extinct (188). The laws of nature are not fair.

Which leads me to question our tendency to connect God’s purpose to the goodness or badness of natural events. Christians might even come to think that God is going to protect us from nature’s hardship or enrich us with nature’s wealth. And yet no one in the Bible avoids the turbulence of life on earth. For example, being “chosen” didn’t protect Abraham from famine and loss and family strife.

That was true for Jesus Christ as well. He healed some illness, but not all illness. He stilled a storm, but not all storms. And, when the disciples wanted to sell the “costly perfume” that Mary had bought to anoint Jesus, giving the proceeds to the poor, Jesus corrected them, saying, “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me” (NRSV John 12:8; Mark 14:7; Matt. 26: 11).

As this shows, the Lord wasn’t here to free the world of poverty or to make nature perfect. Which leads to the obvious question: why did God send “his only Son”? Explaining the existence of miracles and Christ’s presence, Lewis concluded: “Nature is being lit up by a light from beyond Nature. Someone is speaking who knows more about her than can be known from inside her” (Miracles 194).

God sent His Son to offer a glimpse “beyond Nature,” to show a life greater than what goes on here. WE are greater than what goes on here. Our life in God and with God is not harsh but loving. It is a present life and a continuing life, filled with promise. (Turning Aside to See, chapter 9)

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