Knowing God (the joy)
Sunday, April 6, 2003
33) “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34) No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother,
saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
Seventeen years old today, our daughter Andrea is a blossoming spring flower. Every year she becomes more beautiful. And every year she encounters more of the ugliness of our world. Thinking about her, wanting the best for her, I remember the story of Tinadril, the green lady of Perelandra.
In Perelandra, which C. S. Lewis wrote in the midst of World War II, the Garden of Eden comes to life, a sinless world, painless and without deceit. Conceiving this work as he studied Milton’s Paradise Lost, the English professor sought to re-tell the story of man’s fall in modern time, space and language.
About his heroine, Lewis wrote:
I may have embarked on the impossible. The woman has got to combine characteristics which the Fall has put poles apart--she's got to be in some ways like a Pagan goddess and in other ways like the Blessed Virgin. But, if one can get even a fraction of it into words, it is worth doing.
Knowing God in the “biblical” sense” puts Tinadril together with Him. There is no possibility of separation. Temptation, which reared its ugly head at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, is not (at first) part of this world. She and her Father are one.
In the course of human events, our world lost its shape and we no longer knew God. So God speaks to Jeremiah of the way things were, and the way things will be again. In the new world we will be whole and entirely fulfilled: both at once the Pagan Goddess (wholly me) and Blessed Virgin (wholly God’s). We become all that we can be.
Like a fourth dimension, this is barely conceivable while we live out our days in the world of our own making. Lewis thought he might be “embarking on the impossible.”
In this world we are asleep, but one day we will be awakened.
“As soon as you had taken away the Evil One, I awoke from my sleep and my mind was cleared” (Perelandra, p. 208).
In our wakefulness we will know God and we will know ourselves. For Andrea, and for all of us, there can be nothing better.
Lord, You are so beautiful to me. You’re everything I hope for, and everything I need. You are so beautiful.