Posts tagged ‘image of God’

October 15, 2017

it is more than slightly frightening to assimilate the notion that God finds us lovable

From Patrick Henry Reardon’s book Reclaiming the Atonement: An Orthodox Theology of Redemption (Volume 1 of 3: The Incarnate Word).

It is difficult, it is bewildering, and it is more than slightly frightening to assimilate the notion that God finds us lovable. It is among the most astounding truths in Holy Scripture. What could God possibly find lovable in us?

Indeed, even some Christians are so bewildered by this idea that they resort to subtleties to parse away its paradox. They may explain, for example, that God, being love, had to do so, even though He finds nothing intrinsically lovable in us. It is taken for granted, in some Christian circles, that God could not possibly find human beings desirable. It is assumed as obvious that there is nothing in us that would attract Him. It is impossible for God to love us for our own sake, we are told, but He does so because of His loving nature. He is forced to love us, as it were, because love is His definition.

Let me suggest that theories like this are difficult to reconcile with what God has told us about Himself—and us. In Holy Scripture He describes Himself as a Bridegroom rejoicing over a bride, who is the apple of His eye. He speaks of Himself as a Father who celebrates the return of a faithless son, in whom He recognizes His own image. Surely, these are the teachings that justify that beautiful adjective by which Holy Church addresses God: philanthropos.

When the Church calls God the “lover of mankind,” She affirms an important truth about the human race: God finds man attractive.

…Even the souls in hell are the object of His relentless affection, because they are formed in His image, the same image He saw on the day His hands gave them shape.

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August 12, 2013

beautiful madness called laughter

From The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton:

It means that somehow or other a new thing had appeared in the cavernous night of nature, a mind that is like a mirror. It is like a mirror because it is truly a thing of reflection. It is like a mirror because in it alone all the other shapes can be seen like shining shadows in a vision. Above all, it is like a mirror because it is the only thing of its kind. Other things may resemble it or resemble each other in various ways; other things may excel it or excel each other in various ways; just as in the furniture of a room a table may be round like a mirror or a cupboard may be larger than a mirror. But the mirror is the only thing that can contain them all. Man is the microcosm; man is the measure of all things; man is the image of God.

…Alone among the animals, he is shaken with the beautiful madness called laughter; as if he had caught sight of some secret in the very shape of the universe hidden from the universe itself.

January 3, 2012

experienced through our bodies

In The Four Loves, [Lewis] writes, “We were made for God. Only by being in some respect like him, only by being a manifestation of his beauty and lovingkindness and wisdom and goodness, has any earthly beloved ever excited our love.” That clearly is the Augustinian wisdom: “Thou has made us for thyself, and therefore our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” But then Lewis goes on to correct Augustine’s definition of evil as loving creatures too much, writing that it is not that we have loved them too much, but that we did not quite understand what we were loving. When we see the face of God, we will know that we have always known it. In A Grief Observed, Lewis says of his wife’s beauty, “Of her, and of every created thing I praise, I should say, ‘In some way, in its unique way, it is like him who made it.'”

…The beauty of God is even experienced through our bodies. Save for the body, one whole realm of God’s glory, all that we receive through the senses, would go unpraised, for the beasts cannot appreciate it, and the angels are pure intelligences. The beauty of nature is a secret that God has shared with us alone, Lewis wrote. That may be one of the reasons why we were made, and why the resurrection of the body is so important.

…As Lewis says in that little mystical masterpiece called the “Heaven” chapter in The Problem of Pain[,] each of the redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the divine beauty better than any other creature can. Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently? … For doubtless the continually successful, yet never completed, attempt by each soul to communicate its unique vision of God to all others (and that by means whereof earthly art and philosophy are but clumsy imitations) is also among the ends for which the individual was created.

From C. S. Lewis as Philosopher: Truth, Goodness and Beauty (Baggett et al) in the essay “Lewis’s Philosophy of Truth, Goodness and Beauty” by Peter Kreeft.

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