Sunday, July 19, 2020

C. S Lewis's Myth Became Fact



StardustyPsyche said...

Myth did not become fact.

Myth remains myth.

The bible is cover to cover mythology. All the major events described in the bible fall into one of these categories
1.Known to have never happened, just a total fabrication.
2.Mere assertion, not strictly disprovable but utterly lacking in good reason to believe.
3.Shreds of historical fact that are irrelevant to the miraculous claims made.

StardustyPsyche said...

Examples by the above case types.
1.The creation myth, the Garden of Eden myth, the Noah Flood myth, the Jewish Exodus from Egypt myth.
2.All the miracles of Jesus myths, all the prophesies of the old testament myths, the resurrection myth, Revelation myths.
3.Egypt was a real place. Rome was a real empire.

The Christian bible is cover to cover myth, just a collection of made up stories.

Worse, a great deal of the messages from the bible are variously debauchery, bizarre primitive ritual, irrational nonsense, harmful, trivially obvious, or just plain silly.

One must dig through a very great deal a debauched blood and gore, lies, absurdity, and harmfulness to extract the rare isolated tidbit of mundane and already well known goodness.

Starhopper said...

Lewis's brilliant realization that myth became fact, literally, physically, and historically, in the Person of Jesus Christ was the most significant thing I had ever encountered in all of his work. Once you grasp what Lewis was saying, your entire understanding of all of human history comes into sharper focus, like focusing your view through a pair of binoculars. Everything becomes clear, when before all was fuzzy and indistinct.

Myth occurs in a "once upon a time" space ("long, long age, in a galaxy far, far away"). The Bible is mercilessly concrete in its exactness.

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysani-as tetrarch of Abilene, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. (Luke 3:1-2)

Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the capital, that ... (Nehemiah 1:1-2)

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethzatha, which has five porticoes. (John 5:2)

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. (Isaiah 6:1)

And the time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. (1 Kings 2:11)

This is what theologians call the "scandal of particularity".

We read the Bible all too often without viscerally experiencing the wonder of its specificality. Read the First Letter of John, and let this passage wash over you:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life - the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us. That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you. (1 John 1:1-3)

This is no Aphrodite emerging from the sea foam, no Cupid and Psyche, no Pandora's Box. These are events which are visible, audible, tangible, comprehensible.

Starhopper said...

One great (and often overlooked) example of myth being literally fulfilled in the Gospels is this: "when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo." (Zechariah 12:10-11)

Hadad was the Syrian god of rain and storm, and Rimmon the god of thunder. Both idols were equivalent to Baal, and both had their own mythologies of dying and rising again. What the prophet Zechariah is telling us here, is that Jesus "the first born, whom they have pierced" (i.e., crucified) is mourned after his crucifixion just as the pagans mourned their idols as they (supposedly) died. What was once myth is fulfilled in the Gospel - on a specific date, in a specific place, observed, recorded, and proclaimed by the Apostles.

Starhopper said...

The foresight of God in planting the seeds of the Gospel in every culture on Earth is nothing short of remarkable. I grew up in Arizona, and learned from Hopis that I spoke to in "Old" Scottsdale that when Franciscan missionaries first came to the Hopi Nation somewhere around the year 1600, they found a people who had no trouble accepting Christianity because the Hopis had their own traditions of a Christ figure that was startlingly like what you find in the Gospels. It was an easy transition. Similar stories can be told of other Native American peoples.

When Christianity was gaining ground in the Roman Empire, everywhere the Apostles and their successors went, the people were ready to accept their message because they found so many parallels to Christianity in the old mythology. This was the deliberate plan of God Himself, to lay the foundation for conversion using the preexisting stones of ancient religions. The same for the later mass conversions of the Slavic peoples. Whole nations were converted en masse (in the case of Poland, in a single day!) because the people saw Christ as the fulfillment of their own faiths.

The magic cauldrons and graals of the Celts and the Britons are distant echoes of the Holy Eucharist.

So you'll never find me shirking the connection between Christianity and mythology. It was there by divine design, for His purposes.

Even today, when I read Homer, I find parallels to the New Testament all through the Iliad and the Odyssey (especially in the concluding lines of the latter).

Starhopper said...

Oh, and I might also add something about the Wise Men in Matthew, who came to worship the infant Jesus. They were pagans through and through, practitioners of a (to Jews) forbidden art - astrology. Yet God used their pagan beliefs to lead them to His Son, forerunners of all the gentiles who flocked to the Gospel after the Resurrection.

Starhopper said...

I'll end with Saint Paul (always a good idea). At the foot of the Acropolis, he told the assembled Athenians, "Whom ye ignorantly worship, him I declare!" (Charles Williams translation)

What an astounding passage! St. Paul was telling the pagans that they were "in ignorance" worshiping Christ all along... through their myths.