Friday, October 10, 2014

A Play Proposal

The young C.S. Lewis
"One might imagine a play in which the dramatist introduced himself as a character into his own play and was pelted off the stage as an impudent impostor by the other characters.  It might be a rather good play; if I had any talent for the theatre I'd try my hand at writing it.  But since (as far as I know) such a play doesn't exist, we had better change to a narrative work; a story into which the author puts himself as one of the characters.

We have a real instance of this in Dante's Divine Comedy.  Dante is (1) the muse outside the poem who is inventing the whole thing, and (2) a character inside the poem, whom the other characters meet and with whom they hold conversations.  Where the analogy breaks down is that everything the poem contains is merely imaginary, in that the characters have no free will.  They (the characters) can say to Dante only what Dante (the poet) has decided to put into their mouths.  I do not think we humans are related to God in that way.  I think God can
The not as young C.S. Lewis
make things which not only--like a poet's or novelist's characters--seem to have a partially independent life, but really have it.  But the analogy furnishes a crude model of the Incarnation in two respects: (1) Dante the poet and Dante the character are in a sense one, but in another sense two.  This is a faint and far-off suggestion of what theologians mean by the 'union of the two natures' (divine and human) in Christ.  (2) The other people in the poem meet and see and hear Dante; but they have not even the faintest suspicion that he is making the whole world in which they exist and has a life of his own, outside it, independent of it.

It is the second point which is most relevant. For the Christian story is that Christ was perceived to be God by very few people indeed; perhaps, for a time only by St Peter, who would also, and for the same reason, have found God in space.  For Christ said to Peter, 'Flesh and blood have not taught you this.'  The methods of science do not discover facts of that order." C. S. Lewis, The Seeing Eye, pp. 231-232

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment here: