C. S. Lewis on the Incarnation


C.S. Lewis on the Incarnation of Christ:

—If the thing happened, it was the central event in the history of the Earth.

—What had happened on Earth, when [God] was born a man at Bethlehem, had altered the universe for ever.

—When Pythagorus discovered the square on the hypotenuse was equal to the sum of the squares on the other sides he was discovering what had been just as true the day before though no one knew it. But in 50 B.C. the proposition ‘God is Man’ [would] not have been true in the same sense in [when] it was true in 10 A.D. because tho’ the union of God and Man in Christ is a timeless fact, in 50 B.C. we hadn’t yet got to that bit of time which defines it.

—The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this. Just as every natural event is the manifestation at a particular place and moment in Nature’s total character, so every particular Christian miracle manifests at a particular place and moment the character and significance of the Incarnation.

—In the Christian story God descends to reascend. He comes down;…down to the very roots and sea-bed of the Nature he has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him.

—The Incarnation…illuminates and orders all other phenomena, explains both our laughter and our logic, our fear of the dead and our knowledge that is somehow good to die, and which at one stroke covers what multitudes of separate theories will hardly cover for us if this is rejected.

—But supposing God became man—suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was almagated with God’s nature in one person—then that person could help us. He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God….But we cannot share God’s dying unless God dies; and He cannot die except by being a man, That is the sense in which He pays our debt, and suffers for us what He Himself need not suffer at all.

—The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.

—How thankful I am that when God became a man He did not choose to become a man of iron nerves that would not have helped weaklings like you and me nearly so much.

—‘Yes,’ said Queen Lucy. ‘In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.’

The Quotable Lewis, pp. 327-332. Excerpts taken from Perelandra, The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves, Miracles, Mere Christianity, Letters of C.S. Lewis, and The Last Battle