Was rereading ‘Soul Survivor’ by Philip Yancey and ran across this bit in his chapter on G. K. Chesterton. So often Christians are challenged with the problem of pain, but what about the problem of pleasure? What about the terrific beauty and joy that springs upon us unexpectedly when we are walking through a forest painted red and gold by the hue of its foliage, the light dancing through the trees?
Yes, nature sends mixed signals - there is pain and cruelty in nature. But the sheer ecstasy of the joy it provides is unnecessary for natural selection to march forward - these echoes of Eden cannot be ignored and present a challenge to naturalism.
What are your thoughts? How have you experienced the glory and beauty of creation? How does the goodness of creation cry out for a creator in spite of the reality of the brokenness of creation? How does the fall of man and nature and the pregnant cry of Romans 8 for rebirth play into it?
After his long odyssey, Chesterton returned to faith because only Christianity provided the clues to solve the mystery of pleasure. “I felt in my bones, first that this world does not explain itself… Second, I came to feel as if magic must have a meaning, and meaning must have some one to mean it. There was something personal in the world, as in a work of art… Third, I thought this purpose beautiful in its old design, in spite of its defects, such as dragons. Fourth, that the proper form of thanks to it is some form of humility and restraint: we should thank God for beer and burgundy by not drinking too much of them… And last, and strangest, there had come into my mind a vague and vast impression that in some way all good was a remnant to be stored and held sacred of some primordial ruin. Man had saved his good as Robinson Crusoe saved his goods: he had saved them from a wreck.”
Where does pleasure come from? After searching alternatives, Chesterton settled on Christianity as the only reasonable explanation for its existence in the world. Moments of pleasure are the remnants washed ashore from a shipwreck, bits of Paradise extended through time. We must hold these relics lightly, and use them with gratitude and restraint, never seizing them as entitlements.