Sunday, September 18, 2016

Elephants, Serpants, and Becoming Presbyterian

In the book Prelandra, the final confrontation between Satan (the Unman) and Ransom begins with a moral struggle for the protagonist. Ransom realizes that no matter what he says, the Unman is more clever than he, and has a better answer for why the lady should fall into sin. He has no chance to win and is about to despair when God instructs him to simply punch its lights out. Lewis writes--
The voluble self was almost thrown out of its argumentative stride - became for some seconds as the voice of a mere whimpering child begging to be let off, to be allowed to go home. Then it rallied. It explained precisely where the absurdity of a physical battle with the Un-man lay. It would be quite irrelevant to the spiritual issue. If the Lady were to be kept in obedience only by the forcible removal of the Tempter, what was the use of that? What would it prove? And if the temptation were not a proving or testing, why was it allowed to happen at all? Did Maleldil suggest that our own world might have been saved if the elephant had accidentally trodden on the serpent a moment before Eve was about to yield? Was it as easy and as un-moral as that? The thing was patently absurd!
The thing has recently come into my mind because of a sermon series begun by preacher man Van Dorn where he seeks to show Christ at the center of each Psalm. Seeing his notes on Jesus as the fulfillment of Psalm 1 brought to my mind the story at the beginning of my book where the Baptist church bombed out so unsatisfactorily. And it makes me think about my own situation. If I had sat under this preaching week in and week out, would I ever have developed an itch which only the presbyterians could scratch? No. The answer is no.
Had I encountered this sort of solid teaching from a Baptist sooner, had I run into Doug earlier, I would never have been swept off the road. His approach takes him close enough to the boarder of Presbyterianism that it would have cut me off completely. So I see myself in Lewis' question: would Eve have been spared from the fall if the elephant had accidentally trampled him before she'd given in? If something had intervened would she have been kept from falling?
Yeah. She would have. But God in His providence arranged otherwise.




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