Skip to comments.Mystery as Reality
Posted on 03/13/2018 8:56:44 AM PDT by Carpe Cerevisi
C.S. Lewis once discussed the question of how angels (and such things) could pass through a wall. His response was intriguing: he suggested that they could do so not because they were less substantial, but because they were more substantial. Just as a rock is more substantial than water or air, so, he posited, an angel (or such) is more substantial than our materiality. Of course, this is completely arguable and unprovable. But it is a useful image for thinking about another aspect of reality, that which the Church describes as mystery. Our tendency in thinking about anything we do not see in an obvious manner is to assume that it is either fictional or notional, that is, nothing more than an idea. This accounts for contemporary treatments of the sacraments as memorials and the like. Anything we cannot touch is just an idea.
To a certain extent, this treatment includes not only sacraments, but God Himself. The God of our understanding, easily becomes nothing more than an understanding. The radical claim of the Orthodox faith (and of classical Christianity in general) is that the mystery of the Kingdom of God is the very ground and meaning of what is real, while that which we see and touch is ephemeral and contingent, lacking in any ultimate reality. The opposite is the case.
for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:18)
There is a kind of sacramentality that describes many contemporary Christians who practice what outwardly appears to be classical Christianity. The forms are preserved, but the mind that accompanies them has embraced the less-than-real attitudes towards what lies beneath the surface.
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.ancientfaith.com ...
Reminds me of a reference in another of Lewis’ books, “The Great Divorce”, where the visitors to Heaven that had come on a bus for a visit from Hell. The visitors were screaming in pain as the grass was injuring their bare feet. They were too insubstantial to bend the grass. Therefore, the grass was like walking on nails.
Another Lewis reference I’ve always liked from “The Last Battle” describes the inside of something as being larger than the outside. I like that a lot.
“The Great Divorce” is one I definitely need to read.
Trying to recall instances of when an angel passed through a wall.
A rock going through air disturbs and displaces the air, not exactly like an angel passing through a wall. “More substantial” as in denser or more solid doesn’t seem to apply. A spiritual world that exists apart but connected to this one, only on a higher sort of level, makes more sense. Those in that one can see and manipulate our world, but we can’t touch or see theirs. In the book of Revelation, for example, events are explained through symbolic metaphors as the result of much greater spiritual forces, as if the physical world itself is only an afterthought. Perhaps analogous to the cosmological concept of dark matter, which is unseen by us but plays a greater role than actual matter in the structure and evolution of the universe.
Sure... If an angel were "more substantial" - i.e., had a density approaching that of, say, a Neutron Star - of course it could easily pass through a man-made wall. That ought to be evident to everyone!
'Course, that angel is gonna leave a pretty big hole in that wall! (Note to Lewis: Solid walls - unlike air or water - don't "close up" again).
Why take such a preposterous claim as the led (yes: led: a short summary serving as an introduction to a news story, article, or other copy) of an essay? It only makes everything that follows doubtful.
Vanity of vanity, all things are vanity.
Those would have to be one-way interactions. Like: The angel can grab my hand, but I can't grab the angel's hand.
I see problems with that.
It's a quick read, very well written, as usual Lewis is a master of dialogue. You'll recognize a number of the characters.
I also said able to manipulate our world, such as taking physical form. Angels can clearly do that. But, it’s just an idea. Whether I’m more right or more wrong, I don’t know.
Only if you think in material terms. More substantial could also mean the difference between say a projected hologram vs a real thing hand. Your hand can pass through a hologram and not damage it permanently, as soon as your hand passes through it returns to normal.
If that’s true, what keeps them from falling through the floor?
> ...the question of how angels (and such things) could pass through a wall.
Quantum tunneling writ large ?
> for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:18)
“Only things that do not possess a form
will be able to last in the river of time”.
From “Uta ni Katachi wa Nai keredo”
“Although My Songs Have No Form” by Doriko