Mere Christianity, Book Four, Chapter 4: “Good Infection”

  • Example of the books and the relations between, then removing time… so the relationships existed as they appear without a time when the relationships didn’t exist.
  • This is an introduction to thinking about things outside of time.
  • Uses the example of a cube being made up of six squares, but remaining a cube…

The Trinity:

  • God the Father
  • God the Son, Jesus, The Word, the Logos
  • God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit, Comforter, Counselor
Editor: I am convinced that the language of begetting and begotten used by the authors of the Bible are inadequate to fully explain God. We know that the Logos (Word), existed from “before time,” and before (in time) the Word took on human flesh in the person of Jesus. I am very uncomfortable with Lewis’ analogies of the Son flowing from the Father, “like light from a lamp, or heat from a fire, or thoughts from a mind.”

Lewis’ images:

  • The Son ‘streaming forth’ from the Father like light…
  • The Son is the expression of the Father
  • These analogies break down because the lamp and the light, the Father and the expression are two things, not two persons of the same thing… “that is what always happens when you go away from the words of the Bible.”
  • Only God will be able to explain himself, [but he is still limited by what his creatures can comprehend.]
  • The relationship between the Father and the Son is one of love.

Lewis explores “God is Love” in the context of multiple persons being required for Love. That God has been Love eternal, not only since the beginning of creation.

The Christian God is dynamic (reflected in His love):

And that, by the way, is perhaps the most important difference between Christian and all other religions: that in Christianity God is not a static thing – not even a person – but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.

Lewis here begins to describe the Spirit (Holy Spirit) as the being that is the relationship between the Father and the Son. While this is a beautiful image, it does not seem to be supported by scripture.

The person of the Spirit is the most vague of the persons of the Trinity. Lewis explains, “In the Christian life you are not usually looking at Him. He is always acting through you.” There’s a lot to that.

  • the Spirit stands with us
  • prays through us
  • works through us to transform us into God’s sons

So, what’s the point in this exercise?

It matters more than anything else in the world. The whole dance, or drama, or pattern of this three-Personal life is to be played out in each one of us: or (putting it the other way round) each one of us has got to enter that pattern, take his place in that dance. There is no other way to the happiness for which we were made. Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prizes which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very centre of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry. Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever? Once a man is separated from God, what can he do but wither and die?

  • The physical life we have is made, not begotten
  • The Christ life that we get is the begotten life, but must be placed into us in a union with Christ
  • In sharing in this begotten life, we become the Sons of God as the Spirit works in/through us
  • The Son/Logos became a man so that He could spread this Zoe/begotten life to us, like a ‘good infection’

Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.

[[ Next: Mere Christianity, Book Four, Chapter 5: “The Obstinate Toy Soldiers” ]]

Parent: Mere Christianity: Leaders’ Notes Series

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