by Zach Kincaid
Resurrection is a subject that is central to the Christian narrative. Lewis addresses the idea of resurrection in his stories (Aslan and Eustace come to mind, for example), in his theological works, and in his letters. In this simple series of articles during Lent, I want to point out several occasions where Lewis discusses resurrection with hopes that his take on the subject might better refine ours as we head into Easter. In "Miracles" from God in the Dock, Lewis says that "resurrection involves 'reversal' of the natural process in the sense that it involves a series of changes moving in the opposite direction to those we see."* Death takes what was purposed for life and returns it to its place in the earth.
Lewis calls it the changing from "organic" to "inorganic."
What once breathed, then, will help the flowers grow. But, the surprise of resurrection is the reversal of what we know as natural.
What we know as "natural" is all most that people trust. Their economy is caught between the lost and the found. Lewis likens it to Humpty Dumpty falling from his wall. The majority of people say that life is married to death; that's simply the way it is. "I live and I will some day die," it is said. Scripture does teach us that we are appointed to live and then to die, but Christians realize that the story does not end. There are no mortal people, Lewis reminds us.
If resurrection involves reversal, as Lewis says, then it is the reversal of Humpty Dumpty's smash into the ground. But what happens next? Lewis doesn't bring it up, but if one is fortunate to be like Lazarus or Jarius's daughter, the return is back into a natural existence. But meditate on Jesus' resurrection, as Lewis does, and the reversal is into a state of being that is both physical and spiritual. His resurrected body has new conditions.
"It is frequently not recognized by those who see it, and it is not related to space in the same way as our bodies," Lewis says. But, Jesus, "emphatically insists that He is not merely a spirit and takes steps to demonstrate that the risen body can still perform animal operations, such as eating."
What is this? Our perception is in three dimensions and five senses. However, Jesus is mysteriously within the physical world as a physical being, yet can appear on the Emmaus Road or in the Upper Room and can also choose to ride out on a cloud (Lewis suggests that this is not allegory).
That means, perhaps, that resurrection for us, if we will be truly like him, involves reversal, as Lewis suggests, and not simply movement into something completely spiritual and altogether new. Lewis says that we possibly move into, "a world or worlds of super-sense and super-space."
The good news of the Gospel is resurrection. It is a reversal. Instead of Adam stammering from his hiding place and looking back at angels with flaming sword, we have a the Son of God thundering out and angels announcing the miracle as they had in the skies above Bethlehem. This is a new day.
(*Lewis says much more before this point in his essay about miracles and our ability to comprehend nature, use our senses, and define what is an outlying occurrence to the normalcy we know, but for the purposes of this short observation, I've left out his run up to resurrection in particular.)