Friday, June 27, 2008

Transposition

It seems to me that this illustration from C.S. Lewis's essay, "Transposition," has some relevance to the question of Scripture's distinctiveness:

[W]e understand pictures only because we know and inhabit the three-dimensional world. If we can imagine a creature who perceived only two dimensions and yet could somehow be aware of the lines as he crawled over them on the paper, we shall easily see how impossible it would be for him to understand. At first he might be prepared to accept on authority our assurance that there was a world in three dimensions. But when we pointed to the lines on the paper and tried to explain, say, that 'This is a road,' would he not reply that the shape which we were asking him to accept as a revelation of our mysterious other world was the very same shape which, on our own showing, elsewhere meant nothing but a triangle? And soon, I think, he would say, 'You keep on telling me of this other world and its unimaginable shapes which you call solid. But isn't it very suspicious that all the shapes which you offer me as images or reflections of the solid ones turn out on inspection to be simply the old two-dimensional shapes of my own world as I have always known it? Is it not obvious that your vaunted other world, so far from being the archetype, is a dream which borrows all its elements from this one? - C.S. Lewis, "Transposition," in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (Macmillan, 1949), 22-23.

3 comments:

Isaac said...

I like it. So revelation (scripture) is a voice from 3D to us here in 2D. Seems like he's talking to people like Feurbach, “The religious object of adoration is nothing but the objectified nature of him who adores.”

d. miller said...

Exactly!

Brenden Bott said...

thanks!