Sunday, November 13, 2011

Logos

“The lion was pacing to and fro about that empty land and singing his new song... Polly was finding the song more and more interesting because she thought she was beginning to see the connection between the music and the things that were happening. When a line of dark firs sprang up on a ridge about a hundred yards away she felt that they were connected with a series of deep, prolonged notes which the Lion had sung a second before. And when he burst into a rapid series of lighter notes she was not surprised to see primroses suddenly appearing in every direction. Thus, with an unspeakable thrill, she felt quite certain that all the things were coming (as she said) “out of the Lion’s head.” When you listened to his song you heard the things he was making up: when you looked round you, you saw them” (C.S. Lewis Magicians Nephew p.126).

C. S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

I love this time of the year: the first skiff of snow on the mountains, Canadian geese circling, gathering strength for their journey south, the extravagant patchwork of multihued leaves overhead and strewn across the forest floor. I echo the poet, “Whence comes this beauty?”

Plato, the Greek philosopher, concluded that there must be an “idea” behind every beautiful thing. Before there could be a beautiful object, there must be the thought of the object that preceded its being. And if that thought exists, there must be a mind that conceived it and then spoke it into existence. These three transcendent realities—a divine mind, an idea, an utterance—Plato combined into one and named it “Logos” (the Word).

Plato was very near the truth, so near, in fact, that early Christians referred to him as “one of our own.” But though he caught a glimpse of “the light that enlightens every man,” he did not fully comprehend it. Something more was needed, something tremendous, something yet to come, something the wisdom of man could not conceive: “The Word (Logos) became flesh and dwelled among us …” (John 1:14). The divine Logos and a mortal man came to bear one name: Jesus—“immensity contracted to a span.” This is what Christians call the Incarnation, the final, irrefutable proof that God really, really cares.

John speaks of the Logos in a most personal way: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled—(this was) the Word (Logos)!” (1 John 1:1).

John was stunned by the thought that he actually saw Plato’s Logos, and held him in his hands.[1] The one who made up the universe “out of his head” and spoke it (or sang it!) into existence was “pleased as man with men to dwell.” Why did He do it?

It was love—pure and simple.

DHR

[1] The Greek word translated “handled” suggests something more than a tentative touch. It has the thought of familiarity and affection—perhaps a hug. 

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Taste and See Breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit,  and resign yourself to the influences of each.  —Henry David ...