August 1, 2013

A Renewed Admiration for George MacDonald

I've read a few of Macdonald's fantasy books, and did enjoy them somewhat. The language of his time is a little harder for me to connect with than the simple langue C.S. Lewis uses, esp. in his books for children. Speaking of Lewis (as I usually do), it would be fair to say now that because Lewis was so informed by Macdonald's theology, he even said in his introduction to MacDonald's Anthology: "I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself!", that in turn I also have a renewed admiration for Lewis. But of course I already knew a great deal about Lewisian theology, and my admiration for him was already full so I expected no less! ...But now I know of the source, which is George MacDonald.

I should begin by saying that I'm completely and utterly repelled by Calvinism. I always have been, but more so the older I get. I have plenty of friends and acquaintances who are Calvinists and it doesn't diminish my love or respect for them, I simply do not agree.

One Calvinists figure I particularly disagree with is Jonathan Edwards. His sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God says it all:

"The Wicked must not think, simply because they are not physically in Hell, that God (in Whose hand the Wicked now reside) is not - at this very moment - as angry with them as He is with those miserable creatures He is now tormenting in hell, and who - at this very moment - do feel and bear the fierceness of His wrath."

While, I do believe that Heaven or Hell has already begun on Earth for those who choose them, I certainly don't believe that God is tormenting anyone in Hell. I might also mention that Edwards didn't think very highly of Quakers (as made evident in his Distinguishing Marks). So, MacDonald wrote in an Unspoken Sermon on Justice:

"From all copies of Jonathan Edwards’s portrait of God, however faded by time, however softened by the use of less glaring pigments, I turn with loathing. Not such a God is He concerning whom was the message John heard from Jesus, that He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."

And there you have it. I fully agree and I also turn with loathing from Jonathan Edwards’s portrait of God, though I don't believe we were ever pointed towards it to begin with.

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