Into the Land of Imagination
Every normal person is blessed with imagination. Imagination operates ceaselessly and is capable of tying together even grotesque elements of matter and spirit. The apple which is said to have fallen on Isaac Newton’s head launched him into a set of meanings which culminated in his laws of gravitation and motion. In his theory of relativity Einstein combined complicated mathematical equations with images of trains rushing into distant space. The best scientists know that great discoveries are not made simply by experiment and reason but sometimes in mental gyrations as great, even as delightfully humorous, as Alice’s adventures down the rabbit hole.
There is hardly one of Lewis’s expository works in which he fails to allude to the imagination. Lewis defined reason as the natural organ of truth and imagination as the organ of meaning.
The whole enterprise of art—music, sculpture, literature, even architecture —is particularly dependent upon consistent imagination. And is not life itself also, at least in the portions of it which seem really to live? Owing to the Great Mistake of Eden, life tends habitually to settle into the prosaic and ordinary. Indeed, is it not symbolic of fallen man that a steady smell of roses leaves them odorless? Imagination is necessary to the worthwhile life.
Imagination in the Bible
Some devout Christians fear imagination is inevitably evil, yet the Bible is almost embarrassingly imaginative. Lewis insists that the reader of the Bible, without losing sight of its primary value, must always remember that it is literature. “Most emphatically,” he says, “the Psalms must be read as poetry.” We remember such highly imaginative passages as “Let the floods clap their hands, let the hills be joyful together,” ...