Posted by richard on April 10th, 2012
For Lewis, “myth” is not a bad word. It does not necessarily carry connotations of falsehood or contrivance or deception or muddleheadedness. For Lewis myth is a highly imaginative way of speaking about the world that can speak truth at least as well as history or science can (and, indeed, can speak truths about which history and science must remain silent). For Lewis, “myth” does not automatically mean false.
In many, many ways the Bible defies our a priori theological expectations of what the Bible should be. In each case, however, our response should not be to force the Bible to fit what we thought or were taught it must be, but to humbly accept it as it is given to us, trusting Him who is ultimately its giver. As Lewis says, “Since this is what God has done, this, we must conclude, was best.”
In this way, for Lewis, the Word is also like the sacrament: Ordinary water, bread, and wine are taken up into, become conduits for and communicators of the Divine life that we so desperately need. So, too, here: all too ordinary human writings are taken up into, become conduits for and communicators of the Divine life and word. Such a sacramental and incarnational understanding of Scripture impacts the way in which we receive the word of God in it. Grammatico-historical or historical-critical acumen are not enough, and are possibly not even necessary. We must receive the Divine word by approaching Scripture in a sacramental manner. We “receive that word from it,” says Lewis, “not by using it as an encyclopedia or an encyclical but by steeping ourselves in its tone or temper and so learning its overall message.” Or, to put it another way, if the Word is Sacrament, then, as Eugene Peterson puts it, perhaps our task is to recover the art of spiritual reading and (re)learn how to eat this Book; prayerfully consuming and being consumed by these (very) human words, for in them lives the very Word of God.
when we think of modern american fundamentalism we often forget how very modern & very american the movement really is. it is a modern institutional-social-religious-political movement, anchored not in the distant past but in the experience of the american christians of the 1820-1870′s as they encountered huge challenges to their most cherished ideals. they are modern in their approach to the world-the historical and scientific trumps everything else. myth means false, not historical. since the Bible is true there can be no myth within it. God must be historically and scientifically true since there is no other type of truth. surprisingly the fundamental and the new atheist are mirror images, both read the bible in the same literal, men in the pew common sense way, one thinks it all true, one all false, but their criteria are the same-historical, scientific.