Wednesday, September 20, 2006

why i like chesterton (pt 5)

on Christ...

"When we look, so to speak, through the four windows of the Evangelists at this mysterious figure, we can see there a recognisable Jew of the first century, with the traceable limitations of such a man. Now this is exactly what we do not see. If we must put the thing profanely and without sympathy, what we see is this: an extraordinary being who would certainly have seemed as mad in one century as another, who makes a vague and vast claim to divinity...For some of his utterances men might fairly call him a maniac; for others, men long centuries afterwards might justly call him a prophet. But what nobody can possibly call him is a Galilean of the time of Tiberius...That is not how he appeared to his own nation, who lynched him, still shuddering at his earth-shaking blasphemies...

"If I take it for granted (as most modern people do) that Jesus of Nazareth was one of the ordinary teachers of men, then I find Him splendid and suggestive indeed, but full of riddles and outrageous demands...but if I put myself hypothetically into the other attitude, the case becomes curiously arresting and even thrilling. If I say 'Suppose the Divine did really walk and talk upon the earth, what should we be likely to think of it?' -- than the foundations of my mind are moved. So far as I can form any conjecture, I think we should see in such a being exactly the perplexities that we see in the central figure of the Gospels...I think he would seem to us to contradict himself; because, looking down on life like a map, he would see a connection between things which to us are disconnected. I think, however, that he would always ring true to our own sense of right, but ring (so to speak) too loud and too clear. He could be too good but never too bad for us: 'Be ye perfect.' I think there would be, in the nature of things, some tragic collision between him and the humanity he had created, culminating in something that would be at once a crime and an expiation...I think, in short, that he would give us a sensation that he was turning all our standards upside down, and yet also a sensation that he had undeniably put them the right way up."

--In response to an article denying the divinity of Christ. Chesterton was years away from professing faith in God, but had a love for dogma and historical truth.


At 1:32 PM, Blogger Mark Kelly Hall said...

Hi, Aaron

(In case you don't recall, I met you at the fundraiser concert for Ashley Lovell last year--did you know she's engaged to a TN'an she met there?).

Don't know if you were in the loop on it already, but FYI I'm doing a "solo" mission trip to Cape Town to work with Living Hope, Nov. 28 - Dec. 7. Most of the relevant info is on my blog:

Hope you're doing well. Thanks for the Chesterton quotes!

Mark Kelly Hall


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