Unique by Design

The following note was found penciled in the flyleaf of C.S. Lewis’ copy of Eternal Life: A Study of Its Implications and Applications by Baron Friedrich von Hugel:

It is not an abstraction called Humanity that is to be saved. It is you, . . . your soul, and, in some sense yet to be understood, even your body, that was made for the high and holy place. All that you are . . . every fold and crease of your individuality was devised from all eternity to fit God as a glove fits a hand. All that intimate particularity which you can hardly grasp yourself, much less communicate to your fellow creatures, is no mystery to Him. He made those ins and outs that He might fill them. Then He gave your soul so curious a life because it is the key designed to unlock that door, of all the myriad doors in Him.

This intrigues me for a couple reasons. First, it is fascinating to read something scribbled by Lewis for his own reflection. Second, I’m convinced that we need to spend a lot more time on what Lewis said was “yet to be understood,” the uniqueness of our individual bodies and the role they play in our spiritual formation. Third, I’m fascinated by the concept we are uniquely designed both to uniquely relate to God, and to relay particular facets of God’s character to the rest of His children.

This note was quoted in Corbin Scott Carnell’s book, Bright Shadow of Reality: C.S. Lewis and the Feeling Intellect, but I ran across the quote in Eugene Peterson’s book, Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work.

2 thoughts on “Unique by Design

  1. What fascinates me is his insistence that salvation is uniquely individual. I’m sure that he affirms a sense of salvation being a corporate salvation of God’s elect, but it seems to me that his statement stands in contrast to the view of the kingdom I get from some Emerging speakers/authors who emphasize that Christ came to restore the entire world, i.e. the “abstraction called Humanity.”

  2. Yeah; I’m intrigued that you picked up on that too. I think there has often been an over-emphasis in recent times on the individual nature of salvation, when it is quite clear in Scripture that God wanted to call out a people. On the other hand, He obviously works through particular individuals.

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