Tuesday, March 01, 2005

God in the Dock

The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man the roles are reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge: if God should have a reasonable defence for being the god who permits war, poverty and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God's acquittal. But the important thing is that Man is on the Bench and God is in the Dock.

It is generally useless to try to combat this attitude, as older preachers did, by dwelling on sins like drunkenness and unchastity. [...] My own experience suggests that if we can awake the conscience of our hearers at all, we must do so in quite different directions. We must talk of conceit, spite, jealousy, cowardice, meanness, etc. But I am very far from believing that I have found the solution to this problem.
~C. S. Lewis, "God in the Dock", God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (1970)


Cool pictures of the day: The Reading Room of the British Library (from outer courtyard),
(from the inside)

3 Comment(s):

At Tue Mar 01, 09:06:00 AM EST, Blogger Bob said...

I challenged the Jr High kids I teach in Sunday school about this. They asked why God had done something, and I asked them if it mattered. Dubious silence followed. I pointed out that if God is the sovereign Lord of all creation, then he shouldn't have to explain himself to us. It was almost funny how much of a revelation this seemed to a couple of them.

At Tue Mar 01, 09:25:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

I'm also not sure I'd agree anymore with Lewis's characterization of man as a kindly judge. I'd say that people are quite unafraid to hurl all sorts of accusations at God these days.

At Tue Mar 01, 02:22:00 PM EST, Blogger MrKimi said...

Since we got all democratic the notion of an unelected and undeposable judge equates in too many people's minds with military dictators, making this whole metaphor less useful than it once was.


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