This letter centers on something deep and very important here that I only learned a few years ago. Moreover, it was the model used for my most recent grad-work in apologetics, and the framework for the entire program. So, I’ll start this time with a related structural idea, one that I got from CS Lewis.
It’s a simple idea:
The rational and the imaginative need each other.
That’s it. To go deeper there is no better place to start than Lewis himself. In his essay “Bluspels and Flanasferes” (crazy title using made-up words to make his point!) Lewis makes the distinction between meaning and truth.
He writes: “Meaning... is the antecedent condition both of truth and falsehood whose antithesis is not error but nonsense. I am a rationalist. For me reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth but its condition.”
What he means by this has been the subject of much study, but very little debate. It is clear what he means by meaning, and that he believed that imagination is the key to understanding “full” truth. In my first letter I used the terms “Newtonian” and “Darwinist” to mean a similar thing. We have talked much about material vs. functional ontology (thanks to Walton) and Jordan Peterson’s key framework is “order versus chaos” which if you think about it is another version of the same thing. The act of doing anything is the act of bringing order to chaos, but simultaneously using our chaotic capacity to imagine and then actualize reality to sort-of bring about what we want. This goes for our spiritual lives too. The very act of saying “God I can’t do it alone…” is by definition a choice which has been acted upon. Worth meditating on. You will see it everywhere if you pay attention.
Topics in this letter: RATIONAL AND IMAGINATIVE APPROACHES
TRANSLATION WORD CHOICES
GREAT SEA CREATURES
A GENOCIDAL GOD?