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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Strange Work of God

In Lutheran theology, we speak of God's strange work (or alien work) and his proper work. His strange work refers to God's work of wrath and condemnation. His proper work - or that which most clearly reveals His character - is when He creates and pardons.

This manner of speaking can be seen in Isaiah 28:21:

The LORD will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim,
he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon—
to do his work, his strange work,
and perform his task, his alien task.

I think C.S. Lewis also figures this distinction out. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aslan gives himself as a ransom to pay for the sin of Edmund. This must be so because, the story informs, of the "deep magic from the dawn of time" inscribed deeply upon the stone altar and upon the scepter of the Emperor Beyond the Sea. Aslan cannot and would never disregard this deep magic. Without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sin. So the evil characters murder Aslan on the stone altar.

But then, Aslan overcomes death and is raised back to life. And when that happens, the stone table, the one with the deep magic deeply inscribed is broken in two. There's a loud noise. And to the surprise of the White Witch Queen, Jadis, Aslan is alive according to a deeper magic from before the dawn of time.

The breaking of the Stone Table signifies the passing of the old order and the dawn of the new. It is the sound of the stone rolled from the tomb. It is the curtain being torn. It is the the sound of the temple in Jerusalem being knocked down in AD 70.

Any thoughts on my comparison of the Deep Magic and the Deeper Magic with God's alien and proper work?

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