Tag Archives: C S Lewis

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
— C.S. Lewis

Can God Make a Rock So Heavy Even He Can't Lift It?

I remember when I first heard this bit of immature atheistic reductio ad absurdum. I was in high school, and I didn't respond to it because the Nirvana-shirted, long-banged drama stud who said it didn't say it to me. He was laying it on his friend like it was theist's kryptonite.

My answer then, steeped in C.S. Lewis as I was, would have been along the lines of the nonsense of the question as framed. It is a rhetorical and hypothetical "gotcha" with no sincerity behind it, and in any event, it is sort of like asking, "Does the number nine smell red or yellow?"

My answer today is different. My answer today would not be to skewer the nature of the question but to inject its insincerity with the sincerity of God and all the weight of the gospel.

The truth is that God did make a weight so heavy he couldn't lift it. He did so not by building an immovable force -- we did that with our sin -- but by incarnating the frailty of humanity and willingly subjecting himself to the force. As one of us, yet still himself, he created the conundrum of the incarnate God, bearing a cross he both ordained yet could not carry by himself, becoming condemned in death and also victorious. And God was crushed according to the plan he himself projected from the foundation of the world.

So, can God make a rock so heavy even he can't lift it?

Yes. And he did. For three days only. And then he drop kicked it out of the mouth of the tomb.

Link to:  "Gospel Driven Church"

I was just re-reading a couple of articles...

Barack Obama said during his presidential campaign that Reinhold Niebuhr was one of his favorite philosophers.

I've been reading "Mere Christianity"

Niebuhr said, "we use evil to prevent a greater evil"


“There are historic situations in which refusal to defend the inheritance of a civilization, however imperfect, against tyranny and aggression may result in consequences even worse than war”

Lewis said, "There is no evil without good"

What is evil?

some would say that "evil" is the opposite of "good"

Lewis says that evil is not the opposite of good, but rather it's the perversion of good.

There can be no evil without good.

Unless we have the ideal to compare an action to, there is no concept of what it means to violate God's Law.

is having food to eat "evil"?  No, it's a good thing, but to have it because you stole it is a perversion of the good thing (having)

Unless you have a concept of what "truth" is, the term "lie" has no meaning.

Rest is a good thing...perverting rest into slothfulness is not.

Wine is a blessing, drunkeness perverts that blessing into something that is not good.

Back to Niebuhr...

there is a concept of "just war".  Some buy into it, others don't.

When Niebuhr said, "we use evil to prevent a greater evil", he was referring to war.  If war is always "evil", then protecting a nation against attackers is using evil to prevent greater evil.


If evil is not the opposite of good, but rather the perversion of good, what is the good that war is the perversion of?

If war is used to protect and prevent evil, is it "just war" evil?

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The audio book is on my iPod and I've been listening to it on my travels.   I know I have a paper copy somewhere, but I can't put my hands on it right now.

There was something that resonated with me.

Repentance is not "oops, sorry".  Lewis said something to the effect that repentance is a turning - an "unlearning" of the bad behavior that has been learned.

(there is a difference between "sin" and "sins" that I may get into later)

But in order to repent, you have to have a part of "good" inside you that wants to unlearn the behavior.  That part of you is already good - already turned.

Only a good man can repent.  Only a bad man needs to.

Only a perfect man can repent perfectly - and the perfect man doesn't need to.

The bad man must repent and cannot.

Lewis was not Reformed by any stretch of the imagination, but what I can apply here is "regeneration".  We are all affected by "total depravity" - every part of us is touched by Adam's sin.  We are sinners who sin and we all are in need of repentance.

Through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to repent, however imperfectly.  It is only through the act of the Holy Spirit who calls that we are able to turn to him.

Perfect repentance?  Only God is perfect and only Immanuel, God With Us, is our perfection.

I am a bad person.  There are things that I don't know how to repent of!  I can only trust Christ to cover that sin.,