Becoming Ourselves Beyond Us

In recently rereading one of my many theological notes that I jot down on whatever I can get my hands on I came across the following:

The essence of humanity is an eschatological reality called forth in Jesus Christ.

Related to this idea I came across a passage from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity where he talks about the new man, the man that God creates through what Lewis calls “the divine infection,” which, to put it simply, is Christ sharing his very life with us. And so, here is the passage:

The more we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. There is so much of Him that millions and millions of ‘little Christs’, all different, will still be too few to express Him fully. He made them all. He invented—as an author invents characters in a novel—all the different men that you and I were intended to be. In that sense our real selves are all waiting for us in Him. It is no good trying to ‘be myself’ without Him. The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surroundings and natural desires. In fact, what I so proudly call ‘Myself’ becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop. What I call ‘My wishes’ become merely the desires thrown up by my physical organism or pumped into me by other men’s thoughts or even suggested to me by devils. Eggs and alcohol and a good night’s sleep will be the real origins of what I flatter myself by regarding as my own highly personal and discriminating decision to make love to the girl opposite to me in the railway carriage. Propaganda will be the real origin of what I regard as my own personal political ideas. I am not, in my natural state, nearly so much of a person as I like to believe: most of what I call ‘me’ can be very easily explained. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to His Personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.

To get right to the heart of why I find the above ideas so provocative is that if our essential selves are embedded in a relationship with Christ and is yet to be manifest than ultimately none of us has the final say regarding what is most true about ourselves. We cannot turn to ourselves, our experiences and desires, to determine what is true regarding genuine humanity and within that larger umbrella, what is true about our individual selves, for such a truth would be firmly beyond us.

One Response to “Becoming Ourselves Beyond Us”

  1. Roger Green  

    obviously true theology, but how does one know when one has achieved that?