Self-preservation, the Fall, and redemption

In my explanation of man’s depravity from the view of a recurring, individualized (non-historical) Fall, I have argued that mankind’s natural separation from God was in origin a result of natural self-preservation instincts. These instincts progressed first into childish selfishness and then, with the onset of divinely gifted God-consciousness (Romans 1:18-21), those instincts gone unchecked morphed into moral failure (sin), to the effect that scarcely had our species become aware of its Creator before it began to reject Him.

I thought of this when I came upon the following quote from C.S. Lewis:

If God were a Kantian, who would not have us till we came to Him from the purest and best motives, who could be saved?

It strikes me that God uses the selfsame aspect that damns us to redeem us. Self-regard is not an absolute evil; it is a neutral currency of the universe, one of which our ultimate God naturally demands the ultimate possession. This is no doubt because our blessed Maker, in molding man in His Own image, also imprinted upon him another, converse attribute of which He is the ultimate expression: self-sacrifice. In fact, it is this expectation God has of us, not the self-regard shared by every creature from amoeba to ape, that separates man from beast. That God demands something we are in some sense capable of but not predisposed to do is analogous to a parent teaching her daughter to help her in the kitchen, or her son to brush his own teeth (without swallowing the toothpaste!) so they won’t rot out of his head.

In order for us to become like Him, we must subordinate our self-regard to our self-sacrifice; but thankfully, as Lewis notes, we are not required — nor are we able — to perform self-sacrifice wholly independent of self-regard.

What do you think of this?

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