Book II, Chapter 5
“The Christian belief is that if we share the humility and suffering of Christ we shall also share in His conquest of death and in it become perfect, and perfectly happy creatures.”
“People ask, ‘What is the next step in evolution?’ In Christ this new kind of man has appeared, and the new kind of life which began in Him is to be put into us.”
How does God put life put into us? Someone like Billy Graham might say “It is put into us when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, and we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.”
Lewis says that there are three things that spread Christ’s life into us: baptism, belief, and Holy Communion. Why believe that there are these things? We believe it on authority: Christ has told us that this is so.
We believe lots and lots of things on authority; evolution, the solar system, the Norman Conquest, and the Defeat of the Spanish Armada. “A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life.”
But Mere Christianity is supposed to be about things that all orthodox Christians agree upon. Many Christians would say that the sacraments are mere symbols; they are commanded by Christ, but they don’t cause Christ’s life to be put into a person. These are put there by grace through faith. Lewis’s Methodist interlocutor had some problems because he thought Lewis didn’t talk about faith enough.
Why does God not make His existence perfectly evident by “landing in force?” If God is omnipotent why doesn’t he make His existence perfectly evident and eliminate all evil by force? Why is God content to set up something like the French Underground in the devil’s world, when he could just clobber the devil and take over by force? Because he wants for people to choose to follow Him freely. “I would not have thought much of a Frenchman who waited until the Allies were marching into Germany before announcing that he was on our side.”
God will invade (the Second Coming), but when he does it will be the end of the world. Then, it will be too late to choose your side.