For humans, amending a breach in a relationship means more than just slapping a bandage on the problem and calling it a day.
An injury caused pain, and this resulted in some loss of trust. A gap now exists between the two parties. Something unique must be formed.
C.S. Lewis, one of the most prominent religious authors of the 20th century, said this was behind the events of Easter. The essence of the Christian faith, in Lewis’s telling, is that a dramatic change has occurred that will liberate those of us bound by sin and renew our connection to God.
In his book “Miracles,” Lewis writes: “God is not merely mending, not simply restoring a status quo. Redeemed humanity is to be something more glorious than unfallen humanity would have been, more glorious than any unfallen race now is (if at this moment the night sky conceals any such). The greater the sin, the greater the mercy: the deeper the death, the brighter the rebirth. And this super-added glory will, with true vicariousness, exalt all creatures, and those who have never fallen will thus bless Adam’s fall.”
Going back to the way things were isn’t in God’s plan, Lewis wrote. Doing so would retain the conditions that led to the breach in the first place.
Lewis commented further on the idea of divine redemption in his book “Mere Christianity”:
“‘Niceness’ — wholesome, integrated personality — is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up ‘nice’; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world — and might even be more difficult to save.
“For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine. God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature. Of course, once it has got its wings, it will soar over fences which could never have been jumped and thus beat the natural horse at its own game. But there may be a period, while the wings are just beginning to grow, when it cannot do so: and at that stage the lumps on the shoulders — no one could tell by looking at them that they are going to be wings — may even give it an awkward appearance.”
At the heart of this Christian holiday, Lewis wrote, is the ability of us humans to transcend our limitations and accept the redemptive work underway. He believed this would allow God to create something new.
Of course, this lesson has implications for everyone. Improving relationships depends on a renewal of trust and communication. If we don’t change in some way, the problems persist.
Like many other Christians, Lewis put his faith in the hope that the miracle of Jesus’s birth and resurrection would transform the world. We wish all our readers a blessed, safe and healthy Easter!