CS Lewis on ‘Good Infection’

I went back to ‘Mere Christianity’ after writing the last post about ‘Religion’, Christ and the Church, to remind myself of exactly what he had said about God’s invasion of reality, His ‘good infection’ of the world. This excerpt, which closes off the chapter entitled ‘Good Infection’ pretty much sums it up. (And by the way, this is a perfect example of why CS Lewis is one most enduring and poetic Christian voices to have ever graced the English language):

‎Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm, you must stand near the fire: if you want to get wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prizes which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy spurting up at the very centre of reality. If you are close to it, it will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry. Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever? Once a man is separated from God, what can he do but wither and die?”

But how is he to be united to God? How is it possible for us to be taken into the three-Personal life? (Lewis is referring to the life of the Trinity).


Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always has existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life, we shall also be sons of God. We shall love the Father as he does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us. He came to this world and became man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has –  by what I call ‘good infection’. Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.

(Mere Christianity, Book IV, Chapter IV)

It goes without saying that ‘Mere Christianity’ is a highly recommended read.


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