Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Human Intellect Is Incurably Abstract"

"Human intellect is incurably abstract." C.S. Lewis, Myth Became Fact, World Dominion.

We live in a concrete world, full of stark realities.  There are metaphysical realities, like the computer I am typing on, the chair I am sitting on, and the roof under which I am currently under.  There are stark emotional realities that are all too familiar -- the anxiety of a small bank account, the heartbreak of a broken relationship, or the longing of loneliness.  In the midst of all this, however, there is also, as C.S. Lewis says, an incurable sense of something else.  What does all this reality mean?  What is the purpose? Why is this happening?

This sense of the abstract, that there is something beyond us that we cannot see, is what separates us from animals.  It is peculiarly human. God has instilled it inside of us. And this sense of the abstract, the thing beyond us, can only be filled by God.  Blaise Pascal describes it likes this: 
“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus”.
When our reality crashes down on us too hard, because of this sense of needing something outside of us, given our fallen nature, we tend to fill that void with unhealthy things -- things like food...or alcohol...or sex...or choose-your-vice here.  Such things may take our eyes off our reality for a short time; long term, however, these vices will have disastrous results. No, God has created you in such a way, that He is the only one who can fill that void.  

God is abstract who gives meaning to the stark realities of life.

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