It’s Not About the Status Quo

If we think God came down from Heaven to restore the status quo, we are mistaken. The whole miracle of the incarnation and subsequent death and bodily resurrection of Jesus doesn’t simply reboot the story to before Adam and Eve scared it in their sin. “God is not merely mending, not simply restoring a status quo,” says Lewis in Miracles. “Redeemed humanity is to be something more glorious than unfallen humanity would have been, more glorious than any unfallen race is (if at this moment the night sky conceals any such).”

The rationale for Lewis is simple. “The greater the sin, the greater the mercy,” he says, “the deeper the death the brighter the re-birth.” He packs this truth of humanity’s redemption plan in a discussion about Nature in general and how it has become so rag-tag and desperate. The groans of Nature were certainly not God’s design. Lewis says, “[God] made an Earth at first ‘without form and void’ and brought it by degrees to its perfection.” God descends to make what is void, complete over time. The Christian discerns that Nature loses some of its luster when humanity takes of the fruit God forbids. Because of it, human beings, and Nature along with us, have, “fallen and have tampered with things inside our frontier.”  In short, Lewis says, ” Nature has all the air of a good thing spoiled.”

Why did the human race gain access to redemption? When the world is full of so many, “transporting pleasures, ravishing beauties, and tantalising possibilities,” as Lewis describes our surroundings, God uses people to bring everything out of the doldrums and into the light of his salvation. Lewis relates our position as that of Jack in Jack the Giant Killer. We are small and insignificant, and, according the Lewis, we may not be the only rational being God created in the universe above us. Nevertheless, we will indeed, “drag all Nature up with [us].”

So the status quo is not what Jesus brings. Perhaps if we had not sinned, Jesus would have entered into our world for the greater glorification. For a moment Lewis considers it. “[Jesus’] attendant circumstances would have been very different,” he says. “The divine humility would not have been a divine humiliation, the sorrows, the gall and vinegar, the crown of thorns and the cross, would have been absent.”

But we know that’s not what happens. God touches down and redemption begins with human beings and spreads outward. However mythological we want to make this, Lewis says that it is, “far more philosophical than any theory which holds that God, having once entered Nature, should leave her, and leave her substantially unchanged, or that the glorification of one creature could be realised without the glorification of the whole system.” Succinctly put, “God never undoes anything but evil, never does good to undo it again.”

When we face the truth of the cross of Christ and realize that sin has left a crimson stain that only he can wash away, as the hymn writer says, we are left with the same answer as the disciple Peter, “Where else can we go [Jesus]? You have the words that give eternal life” (John 6:68). And, as the resurrection brings everything full circle again, it is not for the status quo in us or in nature, but something new, as Revelation 21:5 says, “And the one sitting on the throne said, “‘Look, I am making everything new!'”

 

 

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