Lewis: God–The Absolute Being

MiraclesSome people have a concept of God that is so vague as to be meaningless. They conceive of Him as an omnipresence of some kind, but not as a real Person. C. S. Lewis, in his Miracles, tackles this misconception:

If anything is to exist at all, then the Original Thing must be, not a principle nor a generality, much less an “ideal” or a “value,” but an utterly concrete fact.

We must beware . . . of paying God ill-judged “metaphysical compliments.” We say that God is “infinite.” In the sense that His knowledge and power extend not to some things but to all, this is true. But if by using the word “infinite” we encourage ourselves to think of Him as a formless “everything” about whom nothing in particular and everything in general is true, then it would be better to drop that word altogether.

Let us dare to say that God is a particular Thing. Once He was the only Thing; but He is creative, He made other things to be. He is not those other things. He is not “universal being”: if He were there would be no creatures, for a generality can make nothing.

He is “absolute being”—or rather the Absolute Being—in the sense that He alone exists in His own right.

People are comfortable with a vague generality they can call God. Vague generalities don’t demand anything of us. Yet God—the real God as portrayed in the Scriptures—does have demands. His top priority is not our comfort but our transformation into the image of Christ. If we truly understood the joy of that path and the glory that awaits, we wouldn’t want to cling to notions of a vague generality; we would relish the opportunity given us to be one with the Absolute Being.