Tag Archives: CS Lewis

In that day – judgment

I have been an avid CS Lewis reader for many years. My Mom introduced me to The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe during Junior High and I at once learned to love the insight and magic of Lewis’ writings. His strong vision of good and evil, the ability to take fantasy and anchor it into reality have kept me reading. In his book the Problem with Pain, he touches on the subject of Hell. He refers to it as doctrine, as so it is, and at the same time it is a reality which Jesus speaks of many times.

I leave it to you to read….

On hell

There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, specially, of Our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and it has the support of reason. If a game is played, it must be possible to lose it. If the happiness of a creature lies in self-surrender, no one can make that surrender but himself (though many can help him to make it) and he may refuse. I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully “All will be saved.” But my reason retorts, “Without their will, or with it?” If I say “Without their will” I at once perceive a contra- diction; how can the supreme voluntary act of self-surrender be involuntary? If I say “With their will,” my reason replies “How if they will not give in?”. . .

The doors of Hell are locked on the inside. I do not mean that the ghosts may not wish to come out of Hell, in the vague fashion wherein an envious man “wishes” to be happy: but they certainly do not will even the first preliminary stages of that self-abandonment through which alone the soul can reach any good. They enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded, and are therefore self-enslaved: just as the blessed, forever submitting to obedience, become through all eternity more and more free.

From CS Lewis

The thing I notice about CS Lewis’ writing is the efficiency of his words. He says so much with so few words.

These words to his dear friend MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE, who he corresponded with is a good illustration of this truth. It is also a good illustration of his ability to get at the underlying issue and say it with conviction and clarity.

I think we can all grow in understanding of our perspective of life.

17 June 1963

Pain is terrible, but surely you need not have fear as well? Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer? It means stripping off that body which is tormenting you: like taking off a hair- shirt or getting out of a dungeon. What is there to be afraid of? You have long attempted (and none of us does more) a Christian life. Your sins are confessed and absolved. Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.

Remember, though we struggle against things because we are afraid of them, it is often the other way round—we get afraid be- cause we struggle. Are you struggling, resisting? Don’t you think Our Lord says to you ‘Peace, child, peace. Relax. Let go. Underneath are the everlasting arms. Let go, I will catch you. Do you trust me so little?’

Of course, this may not be the end. Then make it a good rehearsal.

Yours (and like you a tired traveller near the journey’s end) Jack

Wisdom in 2016

Each morning I receive into my inbox an email that highlights one small piece of CS Lewis’ writings. Sometimes it is an exerpt from his Narnia series, sometimes from another book he has written and other times from letters that he wrote to others at the end of his life.

They are always interesting and give insight in to the day to day thinking of this intellectual and spiritual giant, at other times it is an open door to the emotions he displays in his own struggles.

I find it to be reassuring that someone like CS Lewis had real struggles, that he wrestled with feelings and thoughts as we do, well I do. He does not like growing old, yet he clearly understands that he is on his way to a better time (I hesitate around the word place) which he compares to a river struggling to make its way to the open sea.

His writings always point to God, always point to faith as a way of life, but never excuse or dismiss the struggles of life, and in his letters he always affirms the expressed problems or worries that the received letter has generated. I like that. I like that he is quick to acknowledge that this life is filled with struggle.

Jesus said, in this world you will have trouble. Yes indeed.

As long as we have family ot worry about. As long as sin abounds. As long as people choose poorly. As long as we continue to live beyond our means, to serve ourselves, we will have trouble.

So how we do I choose to live? Well I’ve learned long ago that faith needs to be at the centre of life. It might not give me all the answers, but it does give me perspective. I would like all my family to choose the same, for it brings less pain in to life, but I know they will not all choose so.

So I pray that God will influence their thinking, their choosing.

It’s so easy to drift.

It’s also so easy to choose.

Jesus told those who listened – choose life.

So for 2016 I desire to choose wisdom.