Mere Christianity, Book Four, Chapter 11: “The New Men”

Do NOT get all bent out of shape over Lewis’ use of Evolution as an illustration. He uses it to very, very good effect, regardless of anyone’s personal view of Evolution.

In this chapter, Lewis uses the illustration of Evolutionary change. Of how man came to be (according to that theory), and the common views of “what’s next” for humanity, according to Evolutionary extrapolation.

But what should we expect? We should expect something completely new, not something marginally new. Lewis makes the case that “the Next Step” is already upon us…. Christianity is the Next Step for humanity.

  1. It is not carried out through sexual reproduction.
  2. In this Step, we get a choice — we are free to reject the change.
  3. Christ is not just the “First” of the new creature, Christ is the new creature. We get the transformation by direct contact with Him!
  4. This Step happens at a different speed — in a flash!
    • We are still “the early Christians”
    • our present wickedness, divisions, issues, corruptions and failures are the teething problems of our infancy
    • The World keeps thinking we are dying or dead only to find us alive somewhere else
  5. The stakes are high. It’s not merely a matter of a life or species not living, if we fail in this step, everything is lost.
Every now and then one meets them. Their very voices and faces are different from ours; stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant. They begin where most of us leave off. They are, I say, recognisable; but you must know what to look for. They will not be very like the idea of ‘religious people’ which you have formed from your general reading. They do not draw attention to themselves. You tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do, but they need you less. (We must get over wanting to be needed: in some goodish people, specially women, that is the harder of all temptations to resist.) They will usually seem to have a lot of time: you will wonder where it comes from. When you have recognised one of them, you will recognise the next one much more easily. And I strongly suspect (but how should I know?) that they recognise one another immediately and infallibly, across every barrier of colour, sex, class, age, and even of creeds. In that way, to become holy is rather like joining a secret society. To put it at the very lowest, it must be great fun.
  • These new men are not all alike.
  • In Christ, we are made wholly into the individuals God created us to be
  • The Light of God makes our individuality more apparent. The Salt of Christ brings out our unique flavors
  • If we go to him, clinging to our “selves” or seeking first our true selves, we won’t get in.
  • We have to die to our selves and our desires. THEN, we are filled with the Light and Salt, and God forms us into the selves He intended for us to be.
  • There are no real Personalities outside of God. Everything outside of god can be explained away with genetics, personal history, opportunity… the trains of history.
At the beginning I said there were Personalities in God. I will go further now. There are no real personalities anywhere else. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most ‘natural’ men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints. But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away ‘blindly’ to so speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom, Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

The End

Parent: Mere Christianity: Leaders’ Notes Series

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