Monday, March 28, 2011

The Primary Paradox of Christianity

"The primary paradox of Christianity is that the ordinary condition of man is not his sane or sensible condition; that the normal itself is an abnormality. That is the inmost philosophy of the Fall. In Sir Oliver Lodge's interesting new Catechism, the first two questions were: 'What are you?' and 'What, then, is the meaning of the Fall of Man?' I remember amusing myself by writing my own answers to the questions; but I soon found that they were very broken and agnostic answers. To the question, 'What are you?' I could only answer, 'God knows.' And to the question, 'What is meant by the Fall?' I could answer with complete sincerity, 'That whatever I am, I am not myself.' This is the prime paradox of our religion; something that we have never in any full sense known, is not only better than ourselves, but even more natural to us than ourselves."


Anonymous said...

Too often what we accept as ordinary and normal is really unnatural. We act contrary to our nature which is good, holy, created in the image and likeness of God.

Don said...

Chesterton is not a popular guy around here, but I love the blunt and direct way he puts it. In a world of nuance, he is delightfully specific!

My favorite Chesterton story is:

he remarked to his friend George Bernard Shaw: "To look at you, anyone would think a famine had struck England". Shaw retorted, "To look at you, anyone would think you have caused it".

Good stuff Bryan, see ya on June 4th!

Christopher said...

I'm sorry, but that is not the primary paradox of Christianity, the God-Man, Jesus Christ, is. Such a rework as this is itself very reflective of Post-Enlightenment Modernity in its anthropocentrism. And to place What we are and our meaning first in a catechism? Wow! That seems problematic in light of the rich history of confessions and catechisms, not to mention the creeds, that would put God Triune and Holy as the start and center.

Bryan Owen said...

G. K. Chesterton as a post-Enlightenment, anthropocentric revisionist. Wow, indeed!