Solid Joys and Lasting Pleasure

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The world is charged with the grandeur of God, as the poet put it, and it will flame out like shook foil. The world is only a set of blinders for the blind. In all other respects, the world is front-loaded with God’s glory. And in order for us to see that glory, really see it, the world has to get thicker — not thinner.

C.S. Lewis, in his wonderful way, shows us this in the second half of The Last Battle, and throughout The Great Divorce. The world really is “transparent,” and it is such through being really solid. The world is that which enables us to see God’s glory, and those who try to help this process along by treating the world as ephemeral and wispy are making a great mistake. The world does not need to be diluted to help God’s glory shine through. Do you glorify the jeweler by smashing the diamonds?

God has chosen how to reveal Himself. The Bible says that the heavens declare the glory of God, not that they obscure it. They obscure it only for the obscurantists.

Thinning out the world, gnostic style, does not glorify God. Focusing on the world as it is, without reference to Him, does not glorify Him. But seeing what He has done, the way He has done it, with matter packed tight, does glorify Him. This is why Christian hedonism doesn’t not climb up to the Beatific Vision by means of a material ladder in order to then kick the ladder away. We will always have bodies, and God will always speak to us in this way. It can only get more solid — in the great words of Newton’s hymn — “solid joys and lasting pleasures, none but Zion’s children know.”

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