Let’s Become Winged Creatures

The theme of God coming down to return again is a recurring one in Lewis’s work, in part because it’s an ever-present reality in Scripture, revealed in its fullest measure by Jesus. The God who descends is a God who invites. His work of revelation demonstrates his want for us to become children of God, the rightful place for those made in his image.

“In the Christian story God descends to reascend,” Lewis says in Miracles. “He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and seabed of the Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him.” 

We see this idea throughout the Bible (and, of course throughout the natural world, as Lewis points out). For example, God searches the garden to find Adam and Eve after they sinned. He also reveals a plan to Noah that leads to both judgment and redemption. Later, he guides Moses to a mountainside where a bush burnt yet wasn’t consumed. It would be the same mountainside where Moses would return with God’s people after the bondage in Egypt. It’s where he’d commune with God and receive the 10 commandments. We see God dipping down into time through the prophets and judges, by way of kings and a remnant of people returning from exile. The descending God takes on flesh with Jesus, but he is in no way absent beforehand and certainly not after his ascension. We know that the Holy Spirit dives back down and continues the work of redemption, at Pentecost and up through yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

In Jesus, there is a purpose unapologetically unique. Jesus brings life more abundantly. It starts with Incarnation and begins afresh with resurrection. Bookended miracles. Lewis says that God took the glove of Nature off for Mary conceive, “without passing through the ages of interlocked events.” Why? “He was creating not simply a man but the Man who was to be Himself: was creating Man anew: was beginning, at this divine and human point, the New Creation of all things. The whole soiled and weary universe quivered at this direct injection of essential life—direct, uncontaminated, not drained through all the crowded history of Nature. But it would be out of place here to explore the religious significance of the miracle” (Miracles).

And in the death and resurrection that will conclude our Lenten journey in the beastly mouth of Roman ignorance, Sanhedrin pride, and our mob drumbeat, “Crucify, crucify,” we see our purpose. That is, if we want to accept it. Lewis says, “God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature. Of course, once it has got its wings, it will soar over fences which could never have been jumped and thus beat the natural horse at its own game. But there may be a period, while the wings are just beginning to grow, when it cannot do so: and at that stage the lumps on the shoulders—no one could tell by looking at them that they are going to be wings—may even give it an awkward appearance” (Mere Christianity).

Let us become winged creatures, people who embrace the truth that humanity is made in the image of God and the miracle made fully true in Jesus, that God wants us.

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