A New Kind of Consciousness

In the fullness of time, God caused to descend upon this organism, both on its psychology and physiology, a new kind of consciousness which could say “I” and “me,” which could look upon itself as an object, which knew God, which could make judgments of truth, beauty and goodness, and which was so far above time that it could perceive time flowing past.

C.S. Lewis (on the emergence of the “image of God” in humanity)
From The Problem of Pain

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4 comments on “A New Kind of Consciousness

  1. shoreacres says:

    I love time – the whole concept of it. Time as a river was my default metaphor for years. Now, I’m not so sure. Still, I love Heraclitus’s view of things: everything flows, nothing stands still. We can’t step into any river twice, even that of time.

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    • Bill says:

      Time seems such an essential part of reality that it’s hard for me to imagine being unable to perceive it. As much as I appreciate the suggestion that awareness of time is part of what makes us human, I love the thought of being oblivious to it. Back in my lawyering days life was all about the “billable hour” and my workdays were carved into 6 minute increments, for which someone would pay. I hate the very thought of it now. I’m pleased that these days I don’t worry so much about measuring time.

      Thanks for the thoughtful (and beautiful) comment.

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  2. Lewis has comforted countless believers over the years with his “reasoned, logic-based faith.” But as the decades pass, reasoned, logic-based faith (illogical logic) feels more and more like fantasy and less and less like faith. The humiliation that has attended this shift in meaning helps explain, maybe, the accelerated, world-wide move toward nationalism and secularism and consumerism (i.e. logical logic).

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    • Bill says:

      He certainly had a gift for apologetics. I was surprised recently to read that he is far more popular here in the States than in the U.K. He just doesn’t strike me as the sort of fellow that the typical American evangelical (who I realize would not be the typical American Christian) would admire.

      I like this quote because it seems to me to be a very good theist perspective on evolution. If the first reference to “God” was replaced with “nature” and the second with “god”, I suspect there might be near universal agreement with it. I really like the association of the emergence of self-consciousness with the theological notion of the “imago dei.”

      I see nationalism, secularism, consumerism, individualism, and all manner of similar isms as proceeding from Modernity. The early Moderns were very concerned with constructing logical arguments for faith. Late Moderns seemed equally concerned with demonstrating the illogic of faith. It seems to me that Postmoderns will probably find both approaches irrelevant.

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