Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Styron's truth

William Styron, the man whose novel, Sophie's Choice broke my heart, would celebrate his 83rd birthday today. He died in 2006 due to a battle with pneumonia. This post is not a cliff notes summary of Sophie's Choice. Rest Easy. It is my off the top of the head comment on a quote attributed to Styron today in Writer's Almanac:

Most books, like their authors, are born to die; of only a few books can it be said that death has no dominion over them; they live, and their influence lives forever.

This observation of Styron's is compelling to me. Generally, he is consumed with the inevitability of death and yet recognizes that life does endure, for those few. Perhaps his argument would be those few books and their authors have cheated death, or that they've earned the pass into eternal literary heaven by their merit. What if the Word is the model? And, what if he had to die, what if he succumbed to death. My guess is this- despite the earnestness in Styron's words, I think there is error in his thinking.
Even God, our faithful God in Christ Jesus, the Word, become flesh did die. He gave up the ghost completely, body, soul, and spirit. He shed his blood and suffered. Death did have complete dominion over him, for a time. But God the father, faithful to his promise did what he said he would do. On the third day, after it looked as if death would have the last word, the Word was raised to life, bodily. The victory inherent in the resurrection challenges the false promise of a well-meaning William Styron. God did die in the flesh so our deaths would be bearable. So that as we decay in the body, we are made alive to the full in Christ by the the sovereign hand of a merciful Father through the Holy Spirit.

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