How is it that God can love such lowly creatures as us? Lowly being a polite term given who and what God is. In the below quote, George doesn’t address how God could love us as we are, but he does address that God is also looking at what we may become. Much in the same way that I suppose a father looks at his son and loves him as a baby, but also cherishes who his son will become. I can only imagine that joy becomes more manifold, more vibrant and fuller, as the son ages and begins to act on his own volition with regard to who he is.
I say “I can only imagine” as my child is still incredibly young, so young in fact that he is still in utero! I’ll get to meet him/her soon enough and will begin to enjoy the developing stages. But I already enjoy the thoughts of my child becoming an adult and fulfilling his role in our lives and the world. Surely, this is only a faint glimpse of the way God feels about us.
The Beginning of Wisdom
How should the Hebrews be other than terrified at that which was opposed to all they knew of themselves, beings judging it good to honor a golden calf? Such as they were, they did well to be afraid. … Fear is nobler than sensuality. Fear is better than no God, better than a god made with hands. … The worship of fear is true, although very low: and though not acceptable to God in itself, for only the worship of spirit and of truth is acceptable to Him, yet even in his sight it is precious. For He regards men not as they are merely, but as they shall be; not as they shall be merely, but as they are now growing, or capable of growing, toward that image after which He made them that they might grow to it. Therefore a thousand stages, each in itself all but valueless, are of inestimable worth as the necessary and connected gradations of an infinite progress. A condition which of declension would indicate a devil, may of growth indicate a saint.
Taken From: George MacDonald as collected by C.S. Lewis – An Anthology: 365 Readings
Original Source: Unspoken Sermons, First Series, The Consuming Fire by George MacDonald
Speaking of growth, the notion that our growth is an infinite series of minute progressions that we barely notice (with the occasional major adjustment that we ourselves even notice) rings true to me. God can knows who we truly our with our potential for greatness and evil, so He can see the overall story of our growth (whether through our life only or on through eternity); yet even being able to see the huge macro scale, God is able to discern every infinitesimal graduation of our progress and know if that advances our growth or regresses it. It may seem valueless to us, but not to God.
Much in the same way that my own life is a series of small adjustments, this is a fitting quote to open up the discussion on George MacDonald’s collection of readings gathered by CS Lewis. Why? Because there seems to be an “infinite” number of articles I need to write to properly digest this rich book. While the “infinite” number is foolishly exaggerated here, the notion that every little bit I write further develops me and further finishes my digestion of this book. One little bit at a time!
This post is the first in a long series of commentary based on quotes pulled from George MacDonald as collected by C.S. Lewis – An Anthology: 365 Readings. The book was an enjoyable, pretty short and easy read. Here are some quick links to posts related to this book: Short review of the book itself, all the quotes in one place, and a list of other commentary like this one.