The Holy Eraser

Have you ever wondered why God didn’t call back the first sins of Adam and Eve? Why didn’t he simply reverse the course then and there? In the selection for February 20 (A Year with C.S. Lewis) Lewis suggests that God could remove the offense by a miracle. Why didn’t he? Perhaps it’s due to an intervention that would nullify the human choice, as Lewis points out. Would God then burst into the scene with the sins that followed, each and every time?

God’s dealings with the world are like chess, Lewis explains. Akin to chess (or any game), God manages through law and the regularity of law makes miracle possible. If, all of a sudden, a chess player can attack the other side by any and all movements, then how is anybody served? “The chess player’s freedom to play chess depends on the rigidity of the squares and the moves,” Lewis says.

If God intervened in the garden and wiped away sin for good, then there wouldn’t be a story of humanity’s freely worshipping him. There wouldn’t be much of a story at all. Because God allowed choice to shape our experience, we can freely love him. Lewis says in our next day’s excerpt:

… freewill, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. … The happiness which God designs for His creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love…

So, “The Holy Eraser” is not a swooping-down God who makes people subservient to him against their will. Rather, as we see in the introspection of Lent and the conclusion in the cross, Jesus provides the miracle of new life. Perhaps this is why the New Testament writers talk about Jesus as the “new Adam.” He repairs what is broken, mends the wounds of sin so death has no sting.


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