Participating in Creation
Owen Barfield has often been presented as an intellectual opponent of C. S. Lewis, but this fails to account for the complementary themes that appear in the works of these two friends, particularly themes regarding humanity in the New Creation. Owen Barfield constructs an account of human history in terms of humanity’s relationship to nature, tracing patterns and themes that lead up to and then grow out from the Incarnation of Christ. On the other hand, C. S. Lewis writes often about the New Creation, but he consistently emphasizes the mystery of what is to come. By applying Barfield’s idea of the evolution of consciousness to the questions Lewis raises regarding the New Creation, this thesis aims to demonstrate the rich themes that the works of these two writers draw out from one another. To this end, the thesis will begin with an explanation of Barfield’s Saving the Appearances, followed by an application of Barfield’s understanding to Lewis’s treatment of the New Humanity in Mere Christianity, interpreted according to Lewis’s other works both in fiction (The Chronicles of Narnia and That Hideous Strength) and in nonfiction (Mere Christianity and Miracles). This application leads to an expansive and imaginative understanding of the New Creation as both a present and a future reality.