Saturday, March 21, 2009

Triune Intuition

Alexander Schmemann, writing years ago in the New York Times Magazine, brought forth a concept that resonated deeply within me:
When I speak of a "Christian writer" and of Solzhenitsyn in particular, I have in mind a deep and all-embracing, although possibly unconscious, perception of the world, man, and life, which, historically, was born and grew from Biblical and Christian revelation, and only from it. Human culture as a whole may have had other sources, but only Christianity, only the revelation of the Old and New Testaments contain that perception of the world which, incorporated into human culture, revealed in it the potential, and indeed the reality, of a Christian culture. I shall call this perception the triune intuition of creation, fall, and redemption. I am convinced that it is precisely this intuition that lies at the bottom of Solzhenitsyn's art, and that renders his art Christian. "Reviving Myths of Holy Russia," 1979
Solzhenitsyn noted that Schmemann described something of his faith as revealed in his writing that he had not fully recognised himself, but entirely agreed with.

It is this intuition, always present, which caused me to regard my Christian conversion as a homecoming, rather than any new insight. A good Creation, spoiled by man's action, redeemed by the continuing act of God - I knew this to be true of the world, the culture around me, my friends and family, and especially myself. It is precisely what I recognised as deeply Christian in Tolkien, though neither Christ nor Church are mentioned. Lewis writes of this perception as well, seeing in this triune intuition the nature of reality, which he reluctantly concluded was present in Christianity's explanation and no other.

It is certainly not the only possible Christian intuition of the world. I know believers who have regarded my discursions on such topics with puzzlement. But this intuition I knew to be true, and was my lighthouse.

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