Wednesday, December 7, 2005

MUGGERIDGE ON THE INCARNATION

My father-in-law recently passed along his mother's personal copy of Jesus: The Man Who Lives by Malcolm Muggeridge. Muggeridge is insightful and witty, but I've never really given him much time because he seems to engage in more conservative polemic than I think a good Christian writer should. Muggeridge is to the right of fellow English Christian writers C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton. Nevertheless, I've been thumbing through this volume and appreciating some of his musings. Here are a few snippets regarding the Incarnation:

WHERE TO LOOK. "The story of Jesus as recounted in the Gospels is true to the degree that it can be, and is, believed; its truth must be looked for in the hearts of believers rather than in history, or in archeological dust or anthropological bones."

FEARFUL SYMMETRY? "Looking for Jesus in history is as futile as trying to invent a yardstick that will measure infinity, or a clock that will tick through eternity. God moulds history to His purposes, revealing in it the Fearful Symmetry which is His language in conversing with men; but history is no more than the clay in which He works."

TOWARD GODLINESS. "In the case of Jesus alone the belief has persisted that when he came into the world God deigned to take on the likeness of a man in order that thenceforth men might be encouraged to aspire after the likeness of God; reaching out from the mortality to His immortality, from their imperfection to His perfection."

A WINDOW IN THE EGO. "He set a window in the tiny dark dungeon of the ego in which we all languish, letting in a light, providing a vista, and offering a way of release from the servitude of the flesh and the fury of the will into what St. Paul called the glorious liberty of the children of God."

TRUTH AND HISTORY. “Truth belongs essentially to a spiritual order where the categories of time and space, without which history cannot exist, are inapplicable. History is too fragile and indeterminate a structure to contain Jesus; like…the old wineskins. How shabby, how patched and repatched, how threadbare and faded this fabric of history is, compared with the ever-renewed, gleaming and glistening garment of truth!”

GOD AND MAN. “The perfection of Jesus’ divinity was expressed in his humanity, and vice versa. He was God because he was so sublimely a man, and Man because, in all his sayings and doings, in the grace of his person and words, in the love and compassion that shone out of him, he walked so closely with God. As Man alone, Jesus could not have saved us; as God alone, he would not; Incarnate, he could and did.”

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