Sunday, September 17, 2006

From those who despise the word of God...

In That Hideous Strength, the concluding book of Lewis's space trilogy, the ancient Merlin is brought into the 20th century. The bad guys think he will be on their side, but he turns out to be on the side of truth instead. Merlin goes into their headquarters and turns their banquet into Babel, saying something like, "From those who despise the word of God, the word of Man shall also be taken."

From that time on, nobody in the room is able to communicate with anyone else; what they try to say turns into nonsense by the time it leaves their lips, and whatever they try to write, it comes out as nonsense squiggles.

I have wondered where Merlin's curse comes from. No, I didn't find it, but here's a passage that reminds me of it:
Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues
God will speak to this people,
to whom he said,
"This is the resting place, let the weary rest";
and, "This is the place of repose" --
but they would not listen.
So then, the word of the
Lord to them will become:
Do and do, do and do,
rule on rule, rule on rule;
a little here, a little there --
so that they will go and fall backward,
be injured and snared and captured.
Isaiah 28.11-13
They didn't listen to God, so his word became meaningless to them.

I guess this is a kind of inverse of some of the promises in John's gospel: if we hold to Jesus's teaching, we will be true disciples, know the truth, and be set free. If we keep his commands, he will reveal himself to us, etc.

The inverse would be... if we ignore God, we lose the truth, he doesn't reveal himself, we aren't set free. And as Isaiah says here, we will become stupid; his word will just seem like nonsense to us.

I have to remember this the next time I feel like disobeying something due to laziness or fear, 'cause I don't need to become any more stupid than I already am; I need all the brain-power I've got.

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