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From C.S. Lewis’s “Meditation in a Tool Shed“:

I was standing today in the dark toolshed. The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door there came a sunbeam.

From where I stood that beam of light, with the specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place. Everything else was almost pitch-black. I was seeing the beam, not seeing things by it.

Then I moved, so that the beam fell on my eyes. Instantly the whole previous picture vanished. I saw no toolshed, and (above all) no beam. Instead I saw, framed in the irregular cranny at the top of the door, green leaves moving on the branches of a tree outside and beyond that, 90 odd million miles away, the sun.

Looking along the beam, and looking at the beam are very different experiences.

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5 thoughts on “Do You See the Glory of God in the Sun? C.S. Lewis’s Crucial Distinction”

  1. Emile Confab says:

    This is an interesting reworking of Plato’s “cave” discussion in book 7 of the Republic. I like the thought here, but generally wonder about Lewis’s platonism and don’t care for it.

    1. Other than both stories having light and dark places, I see no immediate similarity. I seriously doubt that Lewis wrote of this experience as an attempt at reworking Plato’s cave discussion any more than John 3:19-21 is.

      1. Well, I stand corrected. Maybe he was.

  2. donsands says:

    The heart and thoughts of a genuis. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Mark says:

    While there is certainly a faction of the environmental movement that we as Christians should be concerned about, I don’t see what all alarm bells are about here. Mr. Sleeth simply states that part of the Christian mission should be creation care. Nowhere does he say it is the gospel or in lieu of the gospel. And just as we are called to care for the poor, widows, the weak, aren’t we also called to care for and respect God’s creation? And isn’t it the poor, weak, and oppressed who suffer the most from pollution, environmental disasters, and other environmental ills? Aren’t we empowered by teh Holy Spirit to do more than just witness to others?
    I can’t help but feel that many Christians objecting to the belief that we have a duty as Christians to protect the environment is nothing more than a vieled attack on political views they don’t agree with or don’t understand. Why can’t you be opposed to abortion and for protecting the environment? In regard to the younger generation’s rejection of the political issues of their parent, maybe the younger generation is tired of their parents politicizing every issue and not actually doing something hard like adopting an unwanted baby or staying married when a marriage gets rocky.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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