July 7, 2012 by Gerald Hiestand
Irenaeus links creation with the Eucharist, and then insists that we are “nourished by means of the creation” (the body and blood). This is a wonderfully pro-creation articulation of the supper, and helps counter the platonizing tendencies latent within Christianity. All of this is contra the gnostics, of course, who despised creation.
“But vain in every respect are they who despise the entire dispensation of God, and disallow the salvation of the flesh, and treat with contempt its regeneration, maintaining that it is not capable of incorruption. But if this indeed do not attain salvation, then neither did the Lord redeem us with His blood, nor is the cup of the Eucharist the communion of His blood, nor the bread which we break the communion of His body. For blood can only come from veins and flesh, and whatsoever else makes up the substance of man, such as the Word of God was actually made. By His own blood he redeemed us, as also His apostle declares, ‘In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins.’ And as we are His members, we are also nourished by means of the creation (and He Himself grants the creation to us, for He causes His sun to rise, and sends rain when He wills). He has acknowledged the cup (which is a part of the creation) as His own blood, from which He bedews our blood; and the bread (also a part of the creation) He has established as His own body, from which He gives increase to our bodies.” adversus haereses, 5.2.20 Comments
May 2, 2012 by Jason Hood
Reflecting earlier this week on Lewis and Aslan and the Stone Table, I wound up tweeting, “It’s never dawned on me before today: Aslan’s stone *table* is a eucharistic thing (Low church = slow church I guess).” This garnered some discussion on my FB page. Some pointed out other ways in which the “table” should be interpreted, perhaps implying that more than one allusion wasn’t possible.
But “pictures are worth a thousand words,” not least because they can unveil more than one dimension. It’s often difficult for contemporary people to think or read in “layers,” and we must guard against “over-reading,” but Scripture (and Lewis) are probably best appreciated in this way.
This Sunday evening I’ll be preaching on Matt 28:16-20, which possesses not so much one OT allusion as a whole network of passages and concepts (Gen 1:26-28; 12:1ff; 49:8-10; Dan 7; etc.), in so doing providing a fitting conclusion to the OT story (1:1-17), of which the expanding reign of King Jesus is a great new stage.
I’d say that Lewis was probably also interested in multiple allusions. Clearly Lewis is interested in the destruction-fulfillment of Law in death, and the stone-as-Mosaic-law being broken. I think it’s possible that, in the midst of that allusion, he mentions table and in so doing doubles down on allusions. I find it hard to imagine that a high-church Anglican like Lewis would miss the chance to create a eucharistic association between table and sacrifice.
(Richard Hays has noted some “guidelines” for determining the likelihood of allusions, so as to limit the tendency to read allusions into a text which an author did not intend. In this instance, a google books search shows that Paul Ford and Bruce Edwards have also proposed the association; I am unaware of any “table of the law” theme in Lewis that would otherwise account for the use of the word “table”; he was “high church” Anglican; he is elsewhere interested in Eucharistic imagery; etc.)