C. S. Lewis,Myth Became Fact‘, from God in the Dock:

The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of the dying god, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens—at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We pass from a Balder or an Osiris, dying nobody knows when or where, to a historical person crucified (it is all in order) under Pontius Pilate. By becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle. I suspect that men have sometimes derived more spiritual sustenance from myths they did not believe than from the religion they professed. To be truly Christian we must both assent to the historical fact and also receive the myth (fact though it has become) with the same imaginative embrace which we accord to all myths. The one is hardly more necessary than the other. A man who disbelieved the Christian story as fact but continually fed on it as myth would, perhaps, be more spiritually alive than one who assented and did not think much about it.

Evangelicals are pretty good at assenting to the historical facts, and commending them to others. Is Lewis’s idea of adding an ‘imaginative embrace’ to that assent the same thing as ‘accepting Christ as your Savior’? Or at least something that prepares the way for that acceptance? The idea was recently commended to me, and I’d be interested to know what you think.

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