J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospels
In our last post we looked at how J.R.R. Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame, argued with his atheist friend, C.S. Lewis, and how he ultimately persuaded Lewis to believe in Christianity. And we also saw what C.S. Lewis, an expert in ancient literature (Oxford and Cambridge professor, and chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge) said about the gospels:
I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this. Of this text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage… Or else, some unknown writer in the 2nd century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative. If it is untrue, it must be narrative of that kind. The reader who doesn’t see this has simply not learned to read. -C.S. Lewis
(Click on the link to read the previous post in its entirety Smurfs and the Genuine Seeker)
So here’s one of my personal heroes, Tolkien, the creator of all the original writings having to do with Hobbits and in my view one of the great genius minds of all time, and he convinces his friend C.S. Lewis that the bible is true. And then Lewis, another one of the great minds of all time and an expert in ancient literature, recognizes the gospels as true documentation of the life of Christ.
So what am I to do with this? How am I to react to this?
The only reasonable thing to do is to read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And when I do what I find is unsettling. Jesus said he is the Son of God Himself. He said he was sent from heaven. He said he was the only one on earth who has been to heaven. He even said, if you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen God the Father. (John 5:18, John 6:41, John 3:13, John 14:9-11)
So if the gospel accounts truly are the documented life and words of Jesus Christ, and if Jesus really is who he said he is, what now?
If the gospel accounts are true, and if Jesus really is who he said he is, then what is there to do but to hang on his every word. Because if the gospel accounts are true and he is who he said he is, then he is the Son of the Creator of the universe. The One who created quarks, and black holes, and oceans, and mountains, and atoms, and electrons, and clouds, and comets. The One who is the Creator of the 100 trillion cells that make up my body. I’m guessing he’s smarter than I am. No, smarter is the wrong way to say it. He’s greater than I am. He’s greater than anyone–ever. So no one’s words can possibly be more important. No one’s words can be more important than the words of the Son of God Himself.
And we’ll explore the implications of Jesus’ words in the next post. It will be published Saturday, January 18, at 4 AM PST.
References and Recommended Reading/Listening:
Textual Criticism Science On The Web
Jesus Christ in Comparative Mythology, Wikipedia
[Image of Tolkien book cover via Pesky Librarians; image of C.S. Lewis statue via Tony Bowden – Creative Commons]
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I enjoyed reading this! Somewhere, Lewis also points out that no-one can claim to be able to forgive wrongs committed to someone else on their behalf. Yet that is exactly what Jesus went about doing; not forgiving wrongdoings committed against Him personally (at least, not against his Person while on earth), but sins committed against God, sins which He would have had no business claiming to forgive unless He were the offended Party Himself. I look forward to read where you are going with this.
Great comment Manie. Thank you for stopping by.