I recently re-read C.S. Lewis′ book Miracles (you can read my full book review by clicking here). As you may have noticed, after reading and reviewing books on this blog, I also like to share some quotes that caught my attention. Doing this with Lewis is difficult, because in order to get the context of a particular quote, I think I would have to cite almost a full page or more. So over the next few weeks I plan to share some quotes from Miracles that require not as much context, or I will provide a bit of background to set the stage.
In this passage Lewis refers to Flatlanders. This is a reference to a fascinating book called Flatland by Edwin Abbott, in which a 3-dimensional Sphere visits the 2-dimensional world called Flatland and speaks with Square. It was a favorite book of not only Lewis but Albert Einstein as well.
“The popular ‘religion’ excludes miracles because it excludes the ‘living God’ of Christianity and believes instead in a kind of God who obviously would not do miracles, or indeed anything else. … If ‘religion’ means simply what man says about God, and not what God does about man, then Pantheism almost is religion. … The old atomic theory is in physics what Pantheism is in religion—the normal, instinctive guess of the human mind, not utterly wrong, but needing correction. Christian theology and quantum physics are both, by comparison with the first guess, hard, complex, dry and repellent. … The Pantheist and Christian agree that we are all dependent on God and intimately related to Him. But the Christian defines this relation in terms of Maker and made, whereas the Pantheist (at least of the popular kind) says, we are ‘parts’ of Him, or are contained in Him. … Pantheist and Christian also agree that God is super-personal. The Christian means by this that God has a positive structure which we could never have guessed in advance, any more than a knowledge of squares would have enabled us to guess at a cube. He contains ‘persons’ (three of them) while remaining one God, as a cube contains six squares while remaining one solid body. We cannot comprehend such a structure any more than the Flatlanders could comprehend a cube. But we can at least comprehend our incomprehension, and see that if there is something beyond personality it ought to be incomprehensible in that sort of way. The Pantheist, on the other hand, though he may say super-personal really conceives God in terms of what is sub-personal—as though the Flatlanders thought a cube existed in fewer dimensions then a square.”