Saturday, January 28, 2012

Not Bound by Time - Some Thoughts from C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis at work
     As I began this new year, I decided to use a devotional book which was a gift to my husband from his sister.  The book is entitled "A Year with C.S. Lewis".  I have always enjoyed reading the thoughtful words this master writer has produced.  When we home educated our children, we read through "The Chronicles of Narnia" which was a delight for the entire family, and as new Christians some forty years ago, both my husband and I read "Mere Christianity".  Lewis has a way of penning words that makes the reader think and stretch his mind around a concept that otherwise he might not have considered.  Such was the case for me yesterday.  How often do we question God's utter sovereignty over all the affairs of men?  Where does our free will come in?  C.S. Lewis puts this in clearer perspective by making us think of how different our concept of time is compared to God.  The following is an excerpt from "Mere Christianity" which appeared in the devotional book on January 17th (pg. 19):

                                                                                                        "Everyone who believes in God at all believes that He knows what you and I are going to do
      tomorrow.  But if He knows I am going to do so-and-so, how can I be free to do otherwise?
      Well, here once again, the difficulty comes from thinking that God is progressing along the
      Timeline like us; the only difference being that He can see ahead and we cannot.  Well, if that
      were true, if God foresaw our acts, it would be very hard to understand how we could be free not
      to do them.  But suppose God is outside and above the Time-line.  In that case, what we call
      'tomorrow' is visible to Him in just the same way as what we call 'today'.  All the days are
      'Now' for Him.  He does not remember you doing things yesterday; He simply sees you doing them,
      because, though tomorrow is not yet there for you, it is for Him.  You never supposed that your
      actions at this moment were any less free because God knows what you are doing.  Well, He
      knows your tomorrow's actions in just the same way - because He is already in tomorrow and can
      simply watch you."

     One of the greatest difficulties we have as human beings is, as Lewis stated, seeing God on a Time-line.  While studying "The Truth Project" dvd series, Del Tackett (the "tour guide" in this series) indicated that we see this world and all creation from our perspective.  He represented this as being in the box.  God, however, is outside of the box.  He is not confined or defined by time.  He is above all things.  Because we are creatures that live in yesterday's, today's and tomorrow's, we assume that God does too.  Perhaps this is why I enjoyed reading this excerpt from "Mere Christianity".
     God lives in the "Now".  He said of Himself "I Am" indicating that He is the present tense.  There are no boundaries such as we experience, so is it any wonder that we do not always understand the actions of God?  Why did this have to happen?  Why did so-and-so have to die?  We cannot see nor comprehend the plans of God.  However, we do not have the whole picture as He does.  We only see bits and pieces or chunks of time.  God sees it all.  This is why we can trust Him because He knows our beginning and our end.
     One day, we will cross over into His presence and time will be no more for the Christian.  We will enter the "Now" and live with Him.  At present, we live in "the box" which is confined to time.  This is the world we experience, and as such, we must remember Isaiah's admonition to us:  "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9).  We can lean on His wisdom, understanding and guidance because He holds us in the hollow of His hand.  He is utterly sovereign over all the affairs of men.  Therefore, we can rest in Him knowing that the plans He has for us are good as He works in our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).  Selah!

I welcome your comments and thoughts.  They serve as an encouragement to me and others who visit here.  Blessings to you!

Picture of C.S. Lewis taken from The Gospel Coalition blog by Kevin DeYoung.


Christina said...

I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head when you quoted Isaiah 55:9. The best assurance that we have here in this "box" is that God is sovereign and that somehow, someway, He's working it all out for the good! A very thought provoking post, dear Barbara!

Barbara Thayer said...

Thank you Christina. C.S. Lewis just said it so well. We forget how awesome God is and that He is not bound by time. He can see it all. I am so glad He can and that He is utterly sovereign. That means He IS working all things together for the good. Gives such hope and meaning to life! Thanks for stopping by dear friend!