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Jer 2(cont)
More rejection, more rationalizing, judgment affirmed
======================================================
Jer 3

Jer3:1 "If a man divorces his wife
and she leaves him and marries another man,
should he return to her again?
Would not the land be completely defiled?
But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers—
would you now return to me?"
declares the LORD." NIV

According to the Law, remarriage is not allowed. It is hard to tell from the different translations whether God is remarking on Israel's coming back, or asking Israel to return.

If God is asking Israel to return, then this is an interesting foreshadowing because it would violate the Law. The foreshadowing would be that God's grace overcomes the Law. God's Grace can trump all - and without it we would not be saved.

Jer3:10 " In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense," declares the LORD." NIV

God hates hypocrisy. He despises lukewarm attitudes (playing both sides of the fence - see Rev 3:15-16 comments on church of Laodicea.)God can deal with true love or true rejection - but do not try to con God. Do you think he does not know your heart? Do you think there is some lukewarm worship and relationships with God around the world? Checking in on Sunday, and going our own way the rest of the week?


Jer3:11 "The LORD said to me, "Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah." NIV

In the Hebrew: Israel who has turned away from is more righteous than Judah who is deceitful in their attitude toward me. Echoing comment from Jer 3:10.

The lord can deal with those who have turned away:
'Return, faithless Israel,'
"Return, faithless people,"

Verses which struck me this morning are:

"I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments." Col 2:1-4 NIV

Very compact writing from Paul again. It seems his purpose is that people should have "complete understanding", that is, knowing Christ "the mystery of God", then they will have all wisdom and knowledge.

But this knowledge of Christ does not come through "fine-sounding arguments". Fine-sounding arguments may be deceptive.

So it is not through rational mind that we come to know Christ. But it is an encounter of the spirit. We know Him because our spirit recognises Him. And rational knowledge and wisdom follows that recognition.

oops- a computer freeze

Jer 3(cont)

The lord can deal with those who have turned away:
'Return, faithless Israel,'vs.11
"Return, faithless people," vs.14
"Return, faithless people; vs.22

When you have turned away all the Lord asks is you turn back (Return). When you are deceitful, you cannot turn back, because that would mean you would have to confront your deceit. In the rationalized mind you never admit that you turned in the first place.

Ah, there is one more condition - Repent. Return and repent of your sins.

Jer3:13
Only acknowledge your guilt—
you have rebelled against the LORD your God,
you have scattered your favors to foreign gods
under every spreading tree,
and have not obeyed me,' "
declares the LORD.

Return and repent - the same as what is required for a believer today who has fallen away from the Lord in sin. Turn back to God, repent of your sins, and God will restore you.

Jer3:15 "Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding."

Leaders here, and for us - the promise is the same in the form of the Holy Spirit.

Then a picture of the future:

Jer3:16-17
"In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land," declares the LORD, "men will no longer say, 'The ark of the covenant of the LORD.' It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD."

Some day in the future (has not happened in full yet) - the ark will not be needed (it is gone). Jerusalem will be the throne of the Lord (not the mercy seat between the cherubim on the ark). In those days Judah and Israel will walk as one, and live in the land promised to Abraham.

More entreaties, some wailing, and it appears Jeremiah pleading for some repentance from Israel.
======================================================
Jer 4
Judah's turn

Judah's problem is different. They cannot just turn back - as they have no perception that they ever turned away. Judah needs a circumcision of the heart that allows them to see themselves as they really are in God's eyes.

Jer4:4 "Circumcise yourselves to the LORD,
circumcise your hearts,
you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem,
or my wrath will break out and burn like fire
because of the evil you have done—
burn with no one to quench it." NIV

[To me, and I may be completely off base here!!! - this is the picture of the unbeliever today. One who plays at faith and religion, but does not believe In Christ. The one who never truly committed to the Lord. They need a change of heart to see their condition, and then they can turn to God, repent and believe IN Christ. If not then the judgment is separation from God.]

What follows? Apparently their was no circumcision of the heart and Jeremiah sees Judah and the coming invasion with all its anguish - and they did it to themselves. God was not the reason it happened - their actions and attitude were the reasons. Just like God does not send anyone to Hell - people choose separation from the Lord after death when they Reject God and Christ in this life.

[Me personally: I believe in the near term this is the Babylonian invasion that Jeremiah sees. They were southeast???, but they came around from the north in their invasion (probably for geographical and surprise reasons)?????In the future the scenario will play out again with invasion again coming from the north. We shall see - one way or another.]


Mike: I thought you would like this brief summary of the book, “Miracles”, by C.S. Lewis. I found this very interesting website I thought you might enjoy:

http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/pages/resources/publications/knowingDoing/2004/Miracles.pdf

Author of webpage: Dr. Art Lindsley who is a Senior Fellow with the C.S. Lewis Institute where he has served since 1987.
~~~

One of the classic ways in which believers have provided evidence for their faith is through miracles. By looking at prophecies from the Old Testament fulfilled in Christ, or healing and nature miracles, or the resurrection, believers have tried to show that there is a convergence of signs all pointing to Jesus as the Son of God.

However, since the Enlightenment, there has been a strong rejection of miracles by modernism so that it has become necessary to apologize for the introduction of miracles rather than using them for evidence.

Perhaps this skepticism is waning now that modernism is not in vogue, but there are still many who are skeptical of miraculous claims.

C. S. Lewis in his book Miracles and in essays on the subject sought to clear the ground
so that miracles could again be discussed.

One of the factors that brought Lewis to public attention was his unblushing affirmation of the supernatural —God, demons, miracles, and all. How could a sophisticated Oxford professor believe such things in the twentieth century? When his face appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1947, it read, “Oxford’s C. S. Lewis: His Heresy Christianity.”

What made
Lewis such a “heretic?” Well, he rejected the fashion to lower the bar of belief, minimizing the things you really needed to embrace to be a Christian.

Miracles, one of Lewis’ least-known works, is a response to the ideas originally set forth by a late modern atheist philosopher, David Hume.
~~~

Yet another of Hume’s arguments is that various competing religions make miracle claims to establish contradictory views.

Lewis’s approach to this is

FIRST, to admit the possibility that some of these claims are true and

SECOND, to argue for the unique “fitness” or appropriateness of miracles within Christianity.

In Miracles Lewis says:

"I do not think that it is the duty of the Christian apologist (as skeptics suppose) to disprove all stories of the
miraculous which fall outside the Christian records…. I am in no way committed to the assertion that God has never worked miracles through and for pagans or never permitted created supernatural beings to do so. . ."

"Perhaps God could heal someone in a pagan religion not to establish that religion’s claims but merely out of compassion."

Lewis went on to say:

"But I claim that Christian miracles have a much greater intrinsic probability in virtue of their organic connection with one another and with the whole structure of religion they exhibit."

For instance, in Hinduism, the principle of non-distinction (All is One) rules out any validity to the distinction between natural and supernatural.

Since all is “maya” or illusion, how can it be important to demonstrate power over the illusion? Granted, there have been claims of gurus levitating or healings in New Age circles, but within the system of thought how important are
these “illusory” acts?

So, miracles do not have the same place and significance—the same fitness in pantheism or paganism as in theism.

It is particularly in Christianity that miracles have decisive significance converging on Christ. Prophecies, miracles, and the resurrection all demonstrate that He is one sent by God.

In the Old Testament, miracles are present around agents of revelation or as a deliverance of God’s people (i.e. Red Sea) but do not have the same focus as in the New Testament (on Christ).

In the Koran, Mohammed does not do any miracles—except the revelation of the Koran; whereas, Jesus is reported there to have done 16 miracles. Only in later Islamic tradition are there reports of miracles done by Mohammed.

As Lewis says, miracles in the New Testament are greater in their “intrinsic probability” because of the credibility of the historic claims and their “organic connection”—they fit together and converge on Christ.

Jesus’ miracles are not just powerful acts but also demonstrate who He is.

So the healing of the man who was born blind (John 10) leads to the revelation that He is the
light of the world. The resurrection of Lazarus from the dead (John 11) leads to the proclamation that He is the resurrection and the life, and so on.

Miracles are often not only indicative of God’s power but have symbolic significance as well. They fit within the “whole structure” of the religion.

Summary
To those who would deny the miraculous, C. S. Lewis might say:

First, naturalists (who view nature as a closed box) have great difficulty sustaining their position because the credibility of the thinking used to establish the position is severely undermined by their own assumptions.

Second, miracles are not impossible because there is no argument to prove that they cannot happen.

Third, they are not improbable unless you wrongly oppose instances of natural law to unusual or miraculous events. You need to weigh the historical evidence for each of these unusual events before excluding or accepting them.

Fourth, miracles are not inappropriate because there is a unique “fitness” of how miracles relate to Christianity by comparison with other religious systems.
~~~

Dr. Art Lindsley is a Senior Fellow with theC.S. Lewis Institute where he has served since 1987. Formerly, he was Director of Educational Ministries of the Ligonier Valley Study

He is author of the book, True Truth: Defending Absolute Truth in a Relativistic World (IVP, April 2004) and co-author with R.C. Sproul and John Gerstner of Classical Apologetics. Art, his wife, Connie, and their twoboys, Trey and Jonathan, make their home in Arlington, Virginia.
~~~

Jeremiah 2 (NKJV)
13
“ For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.

NOTE:
I know this is not part of today’s reading, but it fits so much of what I seen in the human tendency within myself. I see the reality of these truths:
a.
that the “natural man cannot accept the things of God because they are foolishness to that natural mind”
b.
that “the flesh—sinful nature—cannot please God and does not want to”.

I long for something more. We all do. I long for “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit”. So. . . what am I doing about it?

By grace, I do seek the Lord, and I do desire greater intimacy with the Lord Jesus. Yet, there is need for greater surrender.

Jeremiah 5 (NKJV)
1
“Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem; see now and know; and seek in her open places if you can find a man, if there is anyone who executes judgment, who seeks the truth, and I will pardon her.
18
“Nevertheless in those days,” says the LORD, “I will not make a complete end of you.
19
And it will be when you say, ‘Why does the LORD our God do all these things to us?’ then you shall answer them, ‘Just as you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve aliens in a land that is not yours.’
20
“ Declare this in the house of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah, saying,
21
‘ Hear this now, O foolish people, without understanding, who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not:
22
Do you not fear Me?’ says the LORD.

NOTE:
May we not try to be “border line Christians” (if that is even possible!). By that I mean, people who have genuinely trusted in and received Christ as Savior and Lord, and then try to live “on the border”—to see how close they can live to the thinking and pleasure of the world without sinning.

May we truly cultiavate an inner mindset of "the fear of the Lord".

We are all selfish. As we yield to Jesus, we can grow out of selfishness into god-like ness.

Colossians 1 (NKJV)
19
For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
20
and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
21
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
22
in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—
23
if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

NOTE:
THANK GOD for the power of the Lord Jesus and the power of the Cross.

I could not ever reconcile myself to God through my works or my effort.

Yet, Jesus as Lord, cut a blood covenant on the Cross by which He forever bound Himself to me. He took on all of my sinfulness and all my sins, and He offers to me His righteousness.

May His amazing love motivate me—and all of us—to “continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel”.

Colossians 1 (Amplified)
27
To whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, the Hope of [realizing the] glory.

NOTE:
This hope in Christ is an absolutely guaranteed hope, established by the:
a.
character of God / character of Christ
b.
promise of God / promise of Christ
c.
oath of God / oath of Christ

This most excellent verse makes me think of another excellent verse from I Corinthians 2 (Amplified):
7
But rather what we are setting forth is a wisdom of God once hidden [from the human understanding] and now revealed to us by God--[that wisdom] which God devised and decreed before the ages for our glorification [to lift us into the glory of His presence].

May we, through Grace, truly enter into—and truly partake of—the glory that Jesus offers us.

We are not God, and we were never meant to be. God the Father Who sent the God the Son the Lord Jesus Who, in turn, sent the Holy Spirit—He alone is God.

2 Peter 1 (NKJV)
2
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
3
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
4
by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

May we “partake of” and “take within ourselves” God’s righteousness so we truly “escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.” God Himself is the ONLY way!

Vance

From Colossians 1:27-2:6-7 we see how true the phrase is "that it is ALL ABOUT JESUS." The ministry is all about "Christ in you, the hope of glory." And it's this Jesus that we offer the world--Him we proclaim, warning every person, teaching every person, that we may present them perfect (mature) in Christ. And it is for this very purpose that Paul poured himself out---to see people be fully formed in Jesus. What a wonderfully focused 'mission statement' Paul left for us all to imitate.
We spend so much time in our communities running programs but Paul makes it clear here that the priority 'programs/ministries' are the ones that keep Jesus central, and the ones that seek to take those far from Christ, bring them in close with intentionality and grow them up in Christ with passionate intentionality. This is a cause worth giving one's life to--investing in people who invest in people who invest in people, and so it goes.

http://www.crossroad.to/Excerpts/books/lewis/surprised.htm

Do your homework and find out yourself. Lewis is .... well...read on....

Personal note: Many of you are saddened by the questions we have raised about this beloved author. But we would be disobedient to our Lord if we failed to test Lewis' messages against God's Word. Much of what C. S. Lewis writes sounds logical and true. But when the truths are mixed with error, the latter corrupts the whole message. In fact, the truths make the errors all the more deceptive!
C. S. Lewis dedicated this autobiography to his friend Dom Bede Griffiths, O.S.B (a Benedictine monk). Griffiths was influenced by a Theosophist at an early age. He founded a "Christian ashram" in India and viewed all men -- Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim -- as brothers in Christ. [More about Bede Griffiths]

Lewis' childhood:

"...at the age of seven, and eight, I was living almost entirely in my imagination; or at least that the imaginative experience of those years now seems to me more important than anything else."[page 15]

Discovering Joy:

"The third glimpse [of Joy] came through poetry.... I idly turned the pages of the book and found the unrhymed translation of Tegner's Drapa and read, 'I heard a voice that cried, Balder the beautiful Is dead, is dead.' ...I knew nothing about Balder, but instantly I was uplifted.... I desired with almost sickening intensity something never to be described....

"The reader who finds these three episodes of no interest need read this book no further, for in a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else.... I will only underline the quality common to the three experiences; it is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic... in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again." [17-18]

Boarding schools.

"I also developed a great taste for all the fiction I could get about the ancient world: Quo Vadis, Darkness and Dawn, The Gladiators, Ben Hur.... Early Christians came into many of these stories, but they were not what I was after. I simply wanted sandals, temples, togas, slaves, emperors, galleys, amphitheaters, the attraction, as I now see, was erotic, and erotic in rather a morbid way. ...

"What has worn better... is ... the “scientifiction” of H. G. Wells.... 'Joy' (in my technical sense) never darted from Mars or the Moon. This was something coarser and stronger. The interest, when the fit was upon me, was ravenous, like a lust. This particular coarse strength... is psychological, not spiritual." [35]


"But there, too, something far more important happened to me: I ceased to be a Christian...." [58]

"No school ever had a better Matron, more skilled and comforting to boys in sickness, or more cheery....

"She was floundering in the mazes of Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Spiritualism; the whole Anglo-American Occultist tradition.... I had never heard of such things before; never, except in a nightmare or a fairy tale, conceived of spirits other than God and men. I had loved to read of strange sights and other worlds and unknown modes of being, but never with the slightest belief.... [59]

"...for the first time, there burst upon me the idea that there might be real marvels all about us, that the visible world might be only a curtain to conceal huge realms unchartered by my very simple theology. And that started in me something with which, on and off, I have had plenty of trouble since -- the desire for the preternatural, simply as such, the passion for the Occult. Not everyone has this disease; those who have will know what I mean....

"It is a spiritual lust; and like the lust of the body it has the fatal power of making everything else in the world seem uninteresting while it lasts. It is probably this passion, more even than the desire for power, which makes magicians....

"The vagueness, the merely speculative character, of all this Occultism began to spread -- yes, and to spread deliciously -- to the stern truths of the creed. The whole thing became a matter of speculation: I was soon (in the famous words) 'altering ‘I believe' to ‘one does feel.'"

"And oh, the relief of it! ... From the tyrannous noon of revelation I passed into the cool evening of Higher Thought, where there was nothing to be obeyed, and nothing to be believed except what was either comforting or exciting." [60] [The last phrase describes the Church Growth Movement!]

"...without knowing it, I was already desperately anxious to get rid of my religion.... I [had] set myself a standard. No clause of my prayer was to be allowed to pass muster unless it was accompanied by what I called a 'realization,' by which I meant a certain vividness of the imagination and the affections...."[61]

"...night after night, dizzy with desire for sleep and often in a kind of despair, I endeavored to pump up my 'realizations.'... This ludicrous burden of false duties in prayer provided of course, an unconscious motive for wishing to shuffle off the Christian faith....

"No one ever attempted to show in what sense Christianity fulfilled Paganism or Paganism prefigured Christianity....." [ 62]

"You might ask how I combined this directly Atheistical thought... with my Occultist fancies.... They... had only this in common, that both made against Christianity. And so, little by little... I became an apostate, dropping my faith....
"My stay at Chartres lasted from the spring term of 1911 till the end of the summer term 1913....

"Dear Miss C. had been the occasion of much good to me as well as of evil. ... Nor would I deny that in all her 'Higher Thought,' disastrous though its main effect on me was, there were elements of real and disinterested spirituality by which I benefited." [65-66]

Return to myth and "Joy"

"Siegfried belonged to the same world as Balder.... And with that plunge back into my own past there arose at once, almost like heartbreak, the memory Joy itself..."[page 73]


"I first heard a record of the [Wagner's] Ride of the Valkyries.... To a boy already crazed with 'the Northernness'... the Ride came like a thunderbolt.... it was ... a new kind of pleasure, if indeed 'pleasure' is the right word...." [page 75]


"We are taught in the Prayer Book to 'give thanks to God for His great glory.'... I came far nearer to feeling this about the Norse gods whom I disbelieved in than I had ever done about the true God while I believed. Sometimes I can almost think that I was sent back to the false gods there to acquire some capacity for worship...." [page 77]

Lessons for today -- notice the warnings about seeking "thrills" and "experiences" -- a rising threat to true faith and joy in our postmodern culture. Not mentioned is the fact that occult or pagan thrills will often drown out genuine Christianity among those who seek truth.

"The history of Joy, since it came riding back to me on huge waves of Wagnerian music and Norse and Celtic mythology several chapters ago, must now be brought up to date." [165]


"You will remember how, as a schoolboy, I had destroyed my religious life by a vicious subjectivism which
made 'realizations' the aim of prayer; turning away from God to seek states of mind, and trying to produce those states of mind by “maistry.” [Mastery -- a word often used in the context of spiritual formation through human effort and mystical practices]

"With unbelievable folly I now proceeded to make exactly the same blunder in my imaginative life.... The first was made at the very moment when I formulated the complaint that the 'old thrill' was becoming rarer and rarer. For by that complaint I smuggled in the assumption that what I wanted was a 'thrill,' a state of my own mind. And there lies deadly error. Only when your whole attention and desire fixed on something else—whether a distant mountain, or past, or the gods of Asgard—does the 'thrill' arise." [168]

"To 'get it again' became my constant endeavor....

"I came to know by experience that it is not a disguise of sexual desire. Those who think that if adolescents were all provided with suitable mistresses we should soon hear no more of 'immortal longings' are certainly wrong. I learned this mistake to be a mistake by the simple, if discreditable, process of repeatedly making it." [169]

"No moral question was involved; I was at this time as nearly non-moral on that subject as a human creature can be." [170]

"...after Yeats I plunged into Maeterliflck.... In Maeterlinck I came up against Spiritualism, Theosophy, and Pantheism. Here once more was a responsible adult (and not a Christian) who believed in a world behind, or around, the material world....

"Two things hitherto widely separated in my mind rushed together: the imaginative longing for Joy, or rather the longing which was Joy, and the ravenous, quasi-prurient desire for the Occult...."[175]


"The idea that if there were Occult knowledge it was known to very few and scorned by the many
became an added attraction.... That the means should be Magic... appealed to the rebel in me." [176]

Imagination baptized by Phantastes -- another pagan fantasy

"The glorious week end of reading was before me. Turning to the bookstall, I picked out... Phantastes, a faerie Romance, George MacDonald.... That evening I began to read my new book.... I met there all that already charmed me in Malory, Spenser, Morris.... But in another sense all was changed.... It was Holiness." [179]

[See Lilith; a similar "faerie romance" by MacDonald. It is anything but holy!]


"That night my imagination was, in a certain sense, baptized; the rest of me, not unnaturally, took longer. I had not the faintest notion what I had let myself in for by buying Phantastes." [181]

Converted to Theism - belief in the existence of some kind of god or deity

As soon as I became a Theist I started attending my parish church on Sundays and my college chapel on weekdays; not because I believed in Christianity, nor because I thought the difference between it and simple Theism a small one, but because I thought one ought to 'fly one’s flag'...." [233]

"...my churchgoing was a merely symbolical and provisional practice.... My chief companion on this stage of the road was Griffiths, with whom I kept up a copious correspondence. [WE] were ready to hear more of Him from any source, Pagan or Christian. In my mind (I cannot now answer for his, and he has told his own story admirably in The Golden String) the perplexing multiplicity of “religions” began to sort itself out." [234]

Since C. S. Lewis dedicated Surprised by Joy to Bebe Griffith, this review of The Golden String at amazon.com helps explain Lewis' fascination with his close friend and former student:

"This book is a very truthful look at one man's struggle to find the meaning of life. [Bebe Griffith] details his... friendship with C. S. Lewis... his pantheistic pagan nature worship along with the poets who he was influenced by and finally his discovery of the orthodox Christian tradition, rebellion against rationality and journey to India. Griffiths reveals himself to be an unusually ecumenical man, finding wisdom in the Gita, Dhammapada and Dao de King as well as the gospels. ... The problem of his conversion was really still a mystery after I had finished the book -- it just didn't seem to fit somehow. Readers may do well to keep in mind that this book was written while he was in his late 40's and that he still had not assimilated the wisdom that he was to learn in his 40+ years in India...." www.amazon.com/gp/product/0872431630/104-8911504-8187164?v=glance&n=283155

"The question was no longer to find the one simply true religion among a thousand religions simply false. It was rather, “Where has religion reached its true maturity? Where, if anywhere, have the hints of all Paganism been fulfilled?”

"...the intellect and the conscience, as well as the orgy and the ritual, must be our guide.... Paganism had been only the childhood of religion. Where was the thing fully grown? (The Everlasting Man was helping me here.) There were really only two answers possible: either in Hinduism or in Christianity..." [235]

"But Hinduism seemed to have two disqualifications. For one thing, it appeared to be not so much a moralized and philosophical maturity of Paganism as a mere oil-and-water coexistence... with Paganism.... And secondly, there was no such historical claim as in Christianity. I was by now too experienced in literary criticism to regard the Gospels as myths. They had not the mythical taste...."
"And no person was like the Person it depicted; as real... yet also numinous, lit by a light from beyond the world, a god.... This is not 'a religion,' nor 'a philosophy.' It is the summing up and actuality of them all." [236]


Converted to Christianity - no real testimony, little evidence of a changed heart. His love for paganism never faded, but he became an expert in logical explanations of Biblical truth -- whether he agreed or disagreed with certain Scriptures. (This will be discussed on another page) See Tolkien: Truth, Myth or 'Discovered Reality'?

"Every step I had taken, from the Absolute to “Spirit” and from “Spirit” to “God,” had been a step toward the more concrete, the more imminent, the more compulsive. At each step one had less chance 'to call one’s soul one’s own.' To accept the Incarnation was a further step in the same direction....

"I know very well when, but hardly how, the final step was taken. I was driven [by Warnie, his brother] to Whipsnade [Zoo] one sunny morning. When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did. Yet I had not exactly spent the journey in thought.... It was more like when a man, after long sleep... becomes aware that he is now awake." [238]

"But what, in conclusion, of Joy? for that, after all, is what the story has mainly been about. To tell you the truth, the subject has lost nearly all interest for me since I became a Christian...." [238]

Surprised by Joy (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1955).

2. Note: Higher Thought includes faith in the power of Self to control circumstances by a mystical power within each person. No need for faith in a heavenly God or a Source outside our being, since we can learn to manage "the Infinite source of our own inherent power."

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