A dictionary entry explains “Hubris is another word for pride. Hubris, or pride, is one of the most common tragic flaws for a hero or heroine. Many literary heroes have caused or nearly caused their own destruction because of their excessive pride.”
Examples abound. One thinks of Milton’s Paradise Lost when Satan loses his glorious position through giving in to his excessive pride. Although he failed miserably in taking over Heaven, his pride lasts: “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n.”
Then there was Victor, the protagonist of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein who exhibits hubris in his endeavor to become an unmatched scientist. He creates the “monster” which ultimately becomes the cause of his distruction.
Two classic examples of hubris. Both leading to the individual’s demise.
Then there is Jesus.
If you try to think of Jesus as one religious leader among many, you immediately find you can’t. You need to start a whole new category. He says things no other religious leader would dare utter. At least no religious leader in his or her right mind. As C. S. Lewis observes in his essay, “What are we to make of Jesus Christ?”
“The things He says are very different from what any other teacher has said. Others say, ‘This is the truth about the Universe. This is the way you ought to go,’ but he says, ‘I am the Truth, and the Way, and the Life.’ He says, ‘No man can reach absolute reality, except through Me. Try to retain your own life and you will be inevitably ruined. Give yourself away and you will be saved.’ He says, ‘if you are ashamed of me, if, when you hear this call, you turn the other way, I also will look the other way when I come again as God without disguise. If anything whatever is keeping you from God and from Me, whatever it is, throw it away. If it is your eye, pull it out. If it is your hand, cut it off. If you put yourself first you will be last. Come to Me everyone who is carrying a heavy load, I will set that right. Your sins, all of them, are wiped out, I can do that. I am Re-birth, I am Life. Eat Me, drink Me, I am your Food. And finally, do not be afraid, I have overcome the whole Universe.’ That is the issue.”1
Now that is quite the issue!
“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” – Luke 12:8-9.
- C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1970), 160. Italics in original.