I’m a massive fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. I’m such a big fan that it’s become a constant source of disappointment in my life; because I love it so much, it’s always the first section I look for in a bookshop, and I’ve always read them all. D’oh.
But the fictional discworld is based on a surprisingly common myth in human history, that the world is flat and is located on the back of a giant turtle, swimming through space. Stephen Hawking tells a little story in A Brief History of Time:
A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!”
What supports our turtle? Another one, of course! Ha ha, we say to ourselves.
But Christians rely on exactly the same thing, it’s just that our turtle is called grace. Christianity is all about grace, all the way down.
Humanity is fundamentally fallen and has rejected God; we’re children of wrath. The fact that I’ve continued breathing long enough to finish writing this is all God’s sovereign grace.
More than that, God has saved us out of darkness and into light. He’s raised us from spiritual death, and that’s all of grace too.
More even than that (if that wasn’t enough!) God by grace frees us from slavery to sin so we can actually do good.
Christianity is an ever-increasing circle of grace upon grace upon grace, each drop of it revealing that it’s far bigger and better than we ever knew.