A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Quotable C.S. Lewis #18: Rational Creaturely Obedience

"But when we have said that God commands things only because they are good, we must add that one of the things intrinsically good is that rational creatures should freely surrender themselves to their Creator in obedience. The content of our obedience-- the thing we are commanded to do-- will always be something intrinsically good, something we ought to do even if (by an impossible supposition) God had not commanded it. But in addition to the content, the mere obeying is also intrinsically good, for, in obeying, a rational creature consciously enacts its creaturely role, reverses the act by which we fell, treads Adam's dance backward, and returns."

--The Problem of Pain


Angie Van De Merwe said...

I think that the Divine Command Theory is not the way to understand ethics.

Incompatabilist who do not believe in a deterministic plan but a freedom of choice is the way that human beings are created to be and to become. The individual must have room to be different from another. Conformity is what religion is about, which is identifying with a cerain way of viewing God and behaving...one can find one's place "under the sun" in many ways...

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Perhaps, my understanding of incompatabilism is limited and I may be thinking of contingencies. As there are so many complexities to life, the more we try to "control" the more things "don't work", as our ability to control outcomes is very limited, indeed.

This is my proposition of why the "free market" works for the many, while socialism while attempting to bring about a more responsible response to the market in regards to outcomes, end up bringing about devastation to the market...quantum theory does describe a reality that is not based on logic!

Allan R. Bevere said...


#1-- Divine command does not automatically refer to determinism. Conformity is not what all religions are about.

#2-- Has nothing to do with the post.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Obedience presupposes that there is something to be obeyed, such as "God's command" or "God's will". This is understood to be "God's plan" in history, or how God works within history. It is based on the traditional/evangelical understanding of God. So, whether soft determinism, in foreknowledge, or hard determinsim in predestination, there is some kind of determinism.

As to #2, free will and choice of man is a matter of discussion in philosophical circles. How man is to understand the world and how it functions or works, it dependent on his view of choice, will, etc.

Therefore, how science understands reality does impact how theology is understood, otherwise, we would still be believing that the sun circles the earth because man is the center of "God's universe".

Christian theology attempts to "defend God" and the Church, sometimes without grappling to understand realiy in its complexity.

Behavior that is "determined" by theology is what social control is about. But, that is "social" control, not political reform.

The political realm is where the 'real world happens, as that affects how we can choose, reason, and pursue and what the world looks like. Therefore, government and how we understand government is the most important aspect to understanding life. I do not believe that God controls reality. This is where I part ways with traditional believers.

Bruce said...

Angie, your comments are a bit nuts. Your understanding and definition of Christianity and Evangelical thought are without merit. Reread the post and try to understand what Lewis is saying all by himself, w/o the noise you are bringing to the post. A rational person can choose to be obedient to God without that action being coercive, manipulative or wrong. You use the term creature when referring to people. Do you think there is God? If so, why do you turn listening to God, obedience, into such a bad thing? Why do you see the Church as always being about social control? Divine Command Theory lacks credibility in the philosophical world due to the biased nature of the thought. Divine Command Theory is a tired old rationalization of being anti-religious. Most high school students recognize the tragic flaws in logic present in the argument. Divine Command Theory has nothing to do with Christian Thought. To equate this with the post of CS Lewis is simply irresponsible.