This encounter takes place a few more times. Finally Patch approaches Arthur and wants to know what the right answer is. Arthur tells Patch to stop looking right at the fingers and look past the fingers. Patch now sees eight rather than four and answers. The man excited begins to discuss with Patch the varying ways that people look at life and its problems. He concludes with an exhortation: “See what no one else sees. See what everyone else chooses not to see...out of fear and conformity and laziness. See the whole world anew each day.”
Paul in a letter to the Corinthians makes this point: “From now on, therefore, we don’t regard anybody from a merely human point of view. Even if we once regarded the Messiah that way, we don’t do so any longer. Thus, if anyone is in the Messiah, there is a new creation! Old things have gone, and look—everything has become new!”
My tendency in life is to view people from a “merely human point of view.” I stare right at the four fingers and that is all I see. I see everything from an external perspective—or at least that feels like my default. I see how people dress, talk, smell, their physical features, and begin to either pursue or distance myself relationally based on those externals. I am much more prone to love, show grace to, disciple, encourage in the gospel, etc., those who conform to my“externals expectations.” Paul encourages the church in Corinth—and by extension the church today—to do no such thing. In light of the gospel, and the fact that because of Christ’s life, death, and specifically his resurrection the age to come has broken into the present age, everything is different now. We no longer see the four fingers but rather the eight. Those who “press on because of the Messiah’s love,” who are "in the Messiah," who have been “reconciled to God through the Messiah,” who now “embody God’s faithfulness to the covenant,” are marked by a gospel-cruciform-reconciliation perspective rather than a “merely human” perspective.
As always, Lewis said it much better than I could ever say it:
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. . . . There are no ordinary people. You have never
talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” (Weight of Glory, p.15)