Amphibian Laboratory

Morris West points out an obvious wonderfully dreadful truth that humans walk in two worlds. We are a part of the created order — more like the other creatures that God made in basic ways than we even care to acknowledge. It makes us a bit nervous to realize for example that we are genetically about 98% identical to chimpanzees.

This is true but also we are created to inhabit the spiritual world. From the Old Testament we believe that humans are created in the image of God. We are bodies with a spirit or perhaps it is better to say en-fleshed spirits and we over-identify with either spirit or body to our peril. There is an old saying, “they are so spiritual that they are of no earthly good” and certainly there are those who are so preoccupied with the material world that they appear to be unaware of the spirit at all.

Jesus, the incarnate — enfleshed — son of God, came in part to display to us the authentic human life. He did not play at being a man but was fully human (while remaining fully God). We who follow him are to live in a laboratory of faith, balancing the tension between the two worlds we inhabit.

Like the folk who worked deep in the caves painting their hopes and fears on the walls, we must find ways to acknowledge, with as much integrity as we can scrape together, the truth of our lives. Somehow we need to find ways to tell the truth to ourself and at least one other person.

There is grace available if we will let it be true.  We dab paint on the walls of our cave accepting the grace that we do not have to get everything right every time. This amphibian existence is risky but with unique promise. We are a little below the angels but not just a thinking animal — but a creature made in the image of God. 


Once You accept the existence of God — however you define Him, however you explain your relationship to Him – then you are caught forever with His presence in the center of all things. You are also caught with the fact that man is a creature who walks in two worlds and traces upon the walls of his cave the wonders and the mightmare of his spiritual pilgrimage.

Morris West


author’s note from Clowns Of God