Reflections – A New Mode Of Being

 

April 2018

A NEW MODE OF BEING

n 1950, C.S. Lewis published an essay titled “What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?” As part of addressing this question, Lewis discusses the Resurrection:

…(W)e come to the strangest story of all, the story of the Resurrection. It is very necessary to get the story clear. I heard a man say, ‘The importance of the Resurrection is that it gives evidence of survival, evidence that the human personality survives death.’ On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happened to all men, the difference being that in Christ’s case we were privileged to see it happening. This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought. Something perfectly new in the history of the Universe had happened. Christ had defeated death. The door which had always been locked had for the very first time been forced open. This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival. I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost-survival. On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than on occasion, Christ had had to assure them that he was not a ghost. The point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection as something totally different and new. The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the Universe. Something new had appeared in the Universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into ‘ghost’ and ‘corpse.’ A new mode of being has arisen. This is the story. What are we going to make of it?

The question is, I suppose, whether any hypothesis covers the facts so well as the Christian hypothesis. That hypothesis is that God has come down into the created universe, down to manhood – and come up again, pulling it up with him. The alternative hypothesis is not legend, nor exaggeration, nor the apparitions of a ghost. It is either lunacy or lies. Unless one can take the second alternative (and I can’t) one turns to the Christian theory.

‘What are we going to make of Christ?’ There is no question of what we can make of Him, it is entirely a question of what He intends to make of us. You must accept or reject the story.

The things He says are very different from what any other teacher has said. Others say, ‘This is the truth about the Universe. This is the way you ought to go,’ but He says, ‘I am the Truth, and the Way, and the Life…’1

Do you believe in the miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? If so, what are the implications for your life?

 

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”

JOHN 11:25-26 (ESV)

 

1 C.S. Lewis, “What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?” in God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), pp. 159-160.


© 2018 C.S. Lewis Institute. “Reflections” is published monthly by the C.S. Lewis Institute.
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