Beyond Reason

A former student of mine has been coming into the ASC where I work, and in the process of conducting research for her senior thesis, she has been giving me the wonderful opportunity to discuss all things Chesterton, and Chesterton like (or as she would say, Chestertonian). Anyways, she recently responded to one of my older posts, and in responding to her response, I wrote something I thought I would share as a post. So, I give you the following…


Rachel – Thanks for the line from Chesterton. I think it very much gets at the heart of what I am saying in this post.

Again and again, I am struck by the idea that there is another way of looking at the world, a way that goes beyond the reach of reason, particularly discursive reason. I think it’s appropriate to call this way the mystical, but I resist this designation, because it has connotations that I eschew. Generally, the mystical conjures up ideas of something that is fuzzy, or insubstantial, or it is viewed as a term we merely hang upon phenomena we don’t understand. Along with resisting this term, I resist speaking about my intuition regarding this matter as I cannot rationally support it. I am one who values intelligence, and in our culture rational capacity has co-opted what it means to be intelligent. I realize that this resistance is grounded on my pride, and that what I need is not rational proofs to support my intuition, but rather the courage to speak it. I need the courage to stand with God whose foolishness confounds the wise.

In the end, I acknowledge that reason is a powerful gift of God, but as Lewis says, the greater the angel, the worse a demon when it falls. When reason functions as god, it absolutely wrecks everything, but when it functions as an obedient angel, it can gloriously explicate the world. In light of all this, I will throw my lot in with the Lord, who said that the Kingdom is wide open for those who are willing to become as little children.


The quote from Chesterton that Rachel gave is:

There is a line from the eye to the heart that does not pass through the intellect.

And, the original post is “The Meaning of Color”

2 Responses to “Beyond Reason”

  1. K.L.B.  

    That’s a good quote from Chesterton. It explains much. Why for example, do we as men prefer one hair of color in women over another? Why do we find certain physical features attractive, more so perhaps, than another feature? Why are rounded lines found more pleasing in certain designs than sharp, angular ones? And the very nature of beauty is something that is collective and subjective.

    It seems to me, that the “line from the eye to the heart” is a wonderful thing, and yet given our fallen nature, can be a source of consternation – even sin – just as it can be a source of blessing.

    Examining the goodness of things – and indeed all good things come from Him – it would seem to me that His design in the beginning was for joy and pleasure – pure joy, and pure pleasure. In our current existence, we cannot fathom, nor comprehend such. We understand joy in the context of pain, for we cannot escape it. Like a shadow in daylight, it haunts us until nightfall, when it then envelops us completely.

    In the past several days, I’ve been pondering wine. Wine is good, it makes our hearts glad, and is (or should be) – like every other thing – received with thanksgiving and joy.

    Christ our LORD said He would drink wine with us in Heaven. As I continue to ponder Heaven, I am opening my soul to the reality of that which is from the beginning. Consider time, for example. As I see it, Time will exist in Heaven. God created Time, and as the Author and Finisher of our Faith, He has full capacity to manage it, even alter it as it pleases Him.

    In Revelation chapter 22 verse 2 we see that food and time will exist in Heaven. “In the midst of the street thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruits every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (DRB)

    In Matthew’s gospel, chapter 26 verse 29, we see that wine will be available in Heaven, and that Jesus will drink it with us, for He said. “I tell you, I will never again drink the product of the vine until that day when I drink it with you once again in my Father’s kingdom.” (ISV)

    In Heaven, there will be singing and musical instruments – cf. Revelation 5:8, 12, 13 – there will be perfume – Revelation 5:8 – there will be precious metals, and precious and semi-precious stones – Revelation 21:19, 20.

    In short, every beautiful and pleasing thing that was created will be there.

    How does this relate to “a line from the eye to the heart”? The things of beauty exist as a reflection of that One Whom created all things. We understand the nature of what we cannot see, by what we can see.

    And though we see with the eye of faith, it is, as you often remind us… through The Dark Glass.

  2. Rachel  


    Here is Lewis’ take on it. I don’t think I have ever heard it described more beautifully…

    “In speaking of this desire for our own faroff country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never
    yet visited.”

    C.S. Lewis “The Weight of Glory”

    How’s that for beyond reason?