C.S. Lewis: the man and his message 9781570086656, 1570086656

Papers from a conference held ant Brigham Young University on Dec 4-5, 1998, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the bi

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English Pages viii, 185 pages; 24 cm [133] Year 1999

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Table of contents :
Introduction --
C.S. Lewis : insights on discipleship / Neal A. Maxwell --
C.S. Lewis : drawn by the truth made flesh / Brent D. Slife --
Going to hell C.S. Lewis style : his views on sin, temptation, and the devil / Andrew C. Skinner --
C.S. Lewis : self love and salvation / Daniel K Judd --
C.S. Lewis on family and self-deception / Terrance D. Olson --
The psychology of temptation in Perelandra and Paradise lost : what Lewis learned from Milton / John S. Tanner --
C.S. Lewis and the romantic decade / Paul E. Kerry --
God's megaphone to a deaf world : C.S. Lewis's personal sojourn to understanding the problem of pain / Brent L. Top --
C.S. Lewis on the transformation of human nature / Robert L. Millet --
Summing up the C.S. Lewis conference / Andrew C. Skinner --
The life of C.S. Lewis : a chronology of events --
Writings of C.S. Lewis.
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PREFACE ON DECEMBER 4 AND 5, 1998, the colleges of Religious Education and Continuing Education at Brigham Young University sponsored a conference in honor of the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of C. S. Lewis, the great Anglican churchman and defender of the Christian faith. He was born November 29, 1898, in Belfast, Ireland. A man of profound intellect and deep belief in the divinity of our Lord, he possessed the remarkable ability to speak to people from all walks of life—to provide them either with reasons for coming to Christ or continuing their association with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Brigham Young University’s Lewis Conference was held in the hope that all who participated, as well as those who would later learn of it, would gain a greater appreciation not only for Lewis’s thought but also for reasons why he continues to have such a broad appeal—especially among Latter-day Saints. Lewis was educated at Oxford University and became one of its fellows for thirty years. In 1954 he was honored with a faculty position at Cambridge University, becoming that institution’s first Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English. But he was neither a recluse nor a pedant; he did not live in an ivory tower. He was an advocate and defender of “mere Christianity”—the kind taught in scripture and lived with fervor in the real world. Because Lewis was such a brilliant scholar, writer, poet, and literary critic, we cannot ignore these aspects of his life, nor have we in this present collection. However, from 1931 on, all such matters for Lewis seem to have taken second place behind the central message of Christianity—Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Lewis worked tirelessly to help others understand what it means to be a Christian and to live as a Christian. Ultimately, Lewis came to be regarded as everyone’s preacher, every thinking Christian’s supreme apologist. That Lewis possessed a broad and comprehensive view of Christianity is attested by the very presentations delivered at the BYU Lewis conference. We are pleased to present the written texts of eleven of the fourteen presentations with only minor editorial changes. It is hoped that this volume will bring back fond memories of the Lewis conference to those who attended and will benefit a broad spectrum of other individuals—Latter-day Saints as well as those not of our faith, those who know Lewis’s writings well and those who have only a passing acquaintance with his life and work. Though Lewis was criticized for many years by colleagues for turning his considerable academic prowess and training to the defense of Christianity, he nevertheless felt that Christianity was worthy of a defense crafted from his best, most intense efforts. This volume aspires to recapitulate and elucidate some of those noble feelings and desires. Andrew C. Skinner Robert L. Millet May 1999

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INTRODUCTION

C. S. LEWIS: The Man and His Message Robert L. Millet THE ESSAYS COMPRISING THIS BOOK are intended to celebrate the life and works of a remarkable human being whose influence on Christianity is significant, whose writings continue to stir the souls of men and women everywhere. The year 1998 represents the celebration of the one hundredth birthday of Clive Staples Lewis. He was born on 29 November 1898 and died on 22 November 1963, the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Texas. (This is no doubt why so few people remember Lewis’s death.) Conferences, symposia, and workshops of this type are being held around the world. In April of this year Professor Andrew Skinner and I attended one at Wheaton College in Illinois, and there are others here who attended a Lewis conference at Oxford and Cambridge during the summer. Let me begin, first of all, with a disclaimer of sorts. This is not, strictly speaking, an academic study of the life or works of C. S. Lewis. This is not a forum for scholars to speak to scholars. The Lewis conference at Wheaton College had a wonderful title, one that describes Lewis’s role perfectly; they called it “Returning Theology to the Masses.” Many conferences are so analytical, so esoteric, so narrow that the interested observer or even the informed nonspecialist feels overwhelmed. We sought to make this conference the kind of gathering that anyone could enjoy and learn from. Some have inquired: Why haven’t you involved more “Lewis scholars” in this symposium? Richard John Neuhaus remarked recently at a similar gathering at Cambridge: “The first thing I should say is that I am not a Lewis scholar. The second thing is that, from what I understand of the man, he would likely be amused that there are people called Lewis scholars. There are simply those who can stop reading Lewis, and those who can’t. After a while, some of the latter find that they are thought to be Lewis scholars.”1 C. S. Lewis was a gifted writer, one whose books and articles have intrigued and inspired people from all walks of life. He is, arguably, one of the greatest defenders of the Christian faith of the twentieth century. As one of his closest friends, Austin Farrer, has observed: “Lewis was an apologist from temper, from conviction, and from modesty. From temper, for he loved an argument. From conviction, being traditionally orthodox. From modesty, because he laid no claim either to the learning which would have made him a theologian or to the grace which would have made him a spiritual guide.” Farrer went on to explain that “it is commonly said that if rational argument is so seldom the cause of conviction, philosophical apologists must largely be wasting their shot. The premise is true, but the conclusion does not follow. For though argument does not create conviction, the lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish. So the apologist who does nothing but

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defend may play a useful, though preparatory, part.” 2 And, I would add, few people have played that part quite as well as he has. A man of profound intellect, Lewis had the capacity to speak to persons of varying educational, social, and religious backgrounds. Perhaps more than any other Christian writer, he had the ability to reduce complex theological issues to language and images and metaphors that are both substantive and memorable. He had a common touch with uncommon ideas. His Chronicles of Narnia have thrilled children (as well as adults) for half a century. The Great Divorce, The Abolition of Man, and The Problem of Pain continue to challenge philosophers and educators, while such works as Mere Christianity, The Weight of Glory, The Screwtape Letters, and Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer stimulate theological minds and provide great material for lessons and sermonettes. “My only function as a Christian writer,” he once observed, “is to preach ‘Mere Christianity’ not ad clerum but ad populum. Any success that has been given me has, I believe, been due to my strict observance of those limits.”3 On another occasion he noted: “I wrote the books I should have liked to read. That’s always been my reason for writing.”4 Of Lewis, Richard John Neuhaus, a Roman Catholic scholar, has written: “He was, I think, inclined to assume that his experience was the common experience. In this sense, although he cherished excellence, he was not an elitist. Anything but. One might even risk calling him a populist. Whether it was ‘mere’ Christianity or ‘mere’ sex or the ‘mere’ companionship of friends, his purpose was to elicit what is already there, if only we would open our eyes to see it—the wonder disguised in the ‘mere.’“5 “Jack” Lewis, as his friends knew him, is tough to label or categorize. He “is not a theological liberal, but neither did his views square with fundamentalism.” 6 For example, “Most Evangelicals believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. C. S. Lewis . . . did not. The Bible for him was human literature, divinely inspired and authoritative, but not verbally inspired or without error.”7 In one sense, Lewis was far more practical than sacramental, far more prone to speak of personal engagement with divinity than to focus on ecclesiastical or liturgical matters. His popularity in the LDS culture, as with a broader Christian readership, is no doubt related to the fact that he does not come across as denominational or wedded to any particular religious persuasion. In a world strangled in existential despair, Lewis offered hope to the average person. As someone who knew him well pointed out, Lewis “probably accomplished as much as any modern writer, both in his fiction and in his sermons, to make Heaven believable.”8 He seems almost to be every man’s preacher, every woman’s scriptural exegete. Lewis had a broad and comprehensive view of Christianity, and his writing, though direct and penetrating, seldom excluded any professed believer in Christ. “It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men’s hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge. It would be wicked arrogance for us to say that any man is, or is not, a Christian in this refined sense. . . When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian.”9

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Many of us value his work because of his tendency to focus primarily on doctrine. Two of his biographers, Roger Green and Walter Hooper, have written: “The truth is that Lewis never got on well with purely devotional books. What he infinitely preferred were solid works of theology that he had to work at to understand.” Lewis once wrote, in fact: “For my own part, I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await others. I believe that many who find that ‘nothing happens’ when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.”10 Other than the pipe in our teeth, many of us can identify with these sentiments and see a close tie to the words of President Boyd K. Packer that “true doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.”11 Of course, Clive Staples Lewis was not a Latter-day Saint, and we have no intention of contorting him into one. We cannot read his mind, nor can we always know assuredly what he meant by what he said. But then, neither can anyone else who reads him, unless they were intimately acquainted with him during his life. It is not even possible to say, “Well, Lewis must have meant this or that, inasmuch as he was an Anglican,” or “Surely Jack intended to convey this or that idea, since he was a defender of the Christian faith.” Why not? Because there are parts of Lewis’s theology that defy rubric, that are not placed comfortably within any particular religious tradition. This breadth, this inclusiveness, this freshness and distinctiveness—these are the things that endear Lewis to many Latter-day Saints. Lewis touches upon doctrinal matters that are at the heart of much of what we believe, as will be demonstrated again and again in this work. It would not take much effort to explore ideas about which Mormons would take issue with Lewis—the nature of God, ex nihilo creation, the Nicene Trinity, and a few others. And there are obviously things about Mormonism that would grind on Lewis, in terms of both doctrine and lifestyle. He once remarked in a letter, for example, that he strongly objected “to the tyrannic and unscriptural insolence of anything that calls itself a Church and makes teetotalism a condition of membership.”12 But again, that is not the purpose of this presentation or this conference. Lewis is an important religious figure throughout the Christian world, including the Latterday Saints, and his influence may be broader than many had even supposed. C. S. Lewis is a thinking man’s theologian, a writer whose views are crisp and sharp and challenging; his presentation is neither syrupy nor sentimental on the one hand, nor tedious on the other. His discussions are both spiritually satisfying and intellectually enlarging. He himself once described his task and his achievement: “When I began, Christianity came before the great mass of my unbelieving fellow-countrymen either in the highly emotional form offered by revivalists or in the unintelligible language of highly cultured clergymen. Most men were reached by neither. My task was therefore simply that of a translator—one turning Christian doctrine, or what he believed to be such, into the vernacular, into language that the unscholarly people would attend to and could understand.”13 In short, as Professor Tony Kimball, a Latter-day Saint, has written in tribute: “Lewis was able to deal with fundamentals without being fundamentalistic. He sought to revive

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Christian belief in the minds of men without being revivalistic. In this disposable age of paper plates and paper philosophies which are good for one use only, Lewis insisted that all things had to be tested spiritually, rationally, and experientially before an honest man could give allegiance to them. He believed that Christianity met every test.”14 Now again, I hasten to add that C. S. Lewis was not a Latter-day Saint, and not all of what he taught and believed is in harmony with what we believe. It does not take a nuclear scientist to point out differences. When we look seriously at his writings, however, there are a surprising number of similarities. Lewis was not an ordained apostle, though he certainly had a testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ. He was not a prophet, though his writings have a relevance about them that make them both timely and timeless; Lewis’s writings seem to anticipate, for example, much of the foolishness we see today in the so-called “Jesus Seminar.” Thus Latter-day Saints do not turn to Lewis for the final word on doctrinal expansion or clarification or interpretation, nor do we measure truth by his insights. At the same time, we are eager to find truth wherever we can and excited to acknowledge it from whomever it flows. Joseph Smith stated: “One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.”15 As Latter-day Saints we are in an interesting and somewhat awkward position in the Christian world. We claim divine apostolic authority and claim to be possessors of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. At the same time, we fully acknowledge that God is working His will through men and women throughout the earth, and that “every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God” (Moro. 7:16). President Ezra Taft Benson explained that our Heavenly Father uses the people of the earth, especially good people, to accomplish His purposes. “It has been true in the past, it is true today, it will be true in the future.”16 As we read C. S. Lewis, let us open our minds to new truths and our hearts to new applications of those truths. Let us avoid narrowness and encourage in ourselves that breadth and openness that fosters growth and engenders humble gratitude for God and for those whose works point us more clearly toward God. C. S. Lewis had a brilliant mind, one that might well have been devoted exclusively to other fields within the academy. Criticized for many years by his colleagues for turning his gifts and training to the defense of Christianity, he nevertheless felt that Christianity was worthy of an intelligent defense, a labor that deserved his best effort. This was his legacy to the Christian world, a legacy we share with our brothers and sisters of other faiths, a legacy that fosters appreciation for a significant life. Robert L. Millet is dean of Religious Education and professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including The Mormon Faith: A New Look at Christianity. Notes

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1. Richard John Neuhaus, “C. S. Lewis in the Public Square,” First Things, December 1998, no. 88, p. 30. 2. Austin Farrer, “The Christian Apologist,” in Light on C. S. Lewis, ed. Jocelyn Gibb (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich), 1965, pp. 24, 26. 3. C. S. Lewis, Christian Reunion and Other Essays (London: Collins, 1990), p. 20. 4. C. S. Lewis, as cited in Brian Sibley, C. S. Lewis through the Shadowlands (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1985), p. 24. 5. Neuhaus, “C. S. Lewis in the Public Square,” p. 31. 6. Terry Glaspey, Not a Tame Lion: The Spiritual Legacy of C. S. Lewis (Nashville: Cumberland House, 1996), introduction. 7. Michael J. Christensen, C. S. Lewis on Scripture (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1979), p. 11. 8. Walter Hooper, in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 19. 9. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Touchstone, 1996), pp. 10-11. 10. In C. S. Lewis: A Biography, eds. Roger L. Green and Walter Hooper (San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1974), p. 115. 11. Boyd K. Packer, in Conference Report, October 1986, p. 20. 12. C. S. Lewis, Letters of C. S. Lewis, ed. W. H. Lewis: rev. and enlarged ed., ed. Walter Hooper (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1993), p. 447. 13. C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock, ed. Walter Hooper (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1970), p. 183. 14. William Clayton Kimball, “The Christian Commitment: C. S. Lewis and the Defense of Doctrine,” Brigham Young University Studies, 12:2, winter 1972. p. 208. 15. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), p. 313. 16. Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, April 1972, p. 49.

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C. S. LEWIS: Insights on Discipleship Neal A. Maxwell THE KIND INVITATION FROM DEAN Robert Millet for me to participate in this symposium came many months ago. My health made accepting the invitation problematic, so I am especially grateful to be here. I come to you hoping to contribute, though not in robust condition. There are so many different dimensions of C. S. Lewis and his works. For instance, there is Lewis’s ready wit, one of the lesser-known examples of which was reported by Carolyn Keefe: “Lewis himself was not above the deliberate ploy. . . . The occasion was a dinner party. The main dish was . . . the blood and guts of a sheep. Lewis was seated next to a Portuguese dignitary who, while partaking . . . remarked that he felt like ‘a gastronomic Columbus.’ ‘The comparison is wayward in your case,’ remarked Lewis, ‘Why not a vascular da Gama?’”1 It would be appropriate in this setting, as others will do, to speak about the various theological touching points between Lewis’s beliefs and the beliefs of many of us here today. Instead, I have chosen to talk about the insights and contributions of C. S. Lewis concerning how exacting Christian discipleship really is. Tony Kimball, a friend of many of us here, wrote recently: When Lewis wrote, “The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation” (C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life [New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1955], p. 229), he affirmed he understood the absolute nature of the commitment required of a follower of Jesus Christ and he accepted that “yoke” willingly.2 The journey of discipleship and the yoke to be born are rigorous, enough so that every encouragement is to be appreciated, and every insight is precious. We are invited by Jesus, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me” (Matt. 11:29). In my opinion, so far as discipleship is concerned, this is the only way we really learn. Therefore, while it is not doctrine for which I look to Lewis, I find his depiction of discipleship especially articulate and helpful. The yield from Lewis in this respect is abundant. I share the following examples of C. S. Lewis on discipleship while realizing that each of you has your own motivating collection. Life’s disclosures about the deficiencies in our individual discipleship are seldom convenient, hence I seem to recall C. S. Lewis saying that if you want to find out if there are rats in the cellar, then fling the cellar door open suddenly! Whether it is the suddenness of a

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cellar door or the routine disclosures of deficiencies amid seemingly humdrum daily life, we still need to be shown our shortcomings. It is in this connection that faith in our individual immortality is so vital, since it underscores our personal accountability as well as our personal possibilities, yet such faith today has receded in so many, just as Matthew Arnold wrote of in his “Dover Beach.” Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. This decline in such specific faith is much more rapid since Arnold’s time. Certainly there is a lack of “faith unto repentance” (Alma 34:15), which causes many to avoid the demands of developmental discipleship. Likewise, the nature of our faith in God and His purposes clearly determines how we view ourselves and others. Lewis’s words of perspective are loud and clear: “There are no ordinary people. [We] have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations—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.”3 Furthermore, since discipleship occurs in a tight mortal time frame, it is all the more a rigorous and ongoing developmental journey. No wonder Lewis stressed our need to persist: “Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live for ever. Perhaps my bad temper or my jealousy are gradually getting worse— so gradually that the increase in seventy years will not be very noticeable. But it might be absolute hell in a million years.”4 No wonder Christian discipleship assumes and requires a loving, tutorial God. His relationship with His children is one in which He truly seeks to have us, attribute by attribute, become more like Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. Such is a far different view of God than that held by many, as Lewis trenchantly observed: “The Life-Force is a sort of tame God. You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you. All the thrills of religion and none of the cost. Is the Life-Force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has yet seen?”5 And continuing: “We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven—a senile benevolence who, as they say, liked to see young people enjoying themselves, and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ‘a good time was had by all.’“6 Our knowing sufficiently the character and the purposes of God thus becomes exceedingly important. No wonder the Prophet Joseph Smith counseled, “If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.”7 Thus, striving to develop the godly attributes becomes a supernal quest which requires coming to understand the character of God. Illustratively, Lewis advised: “If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked

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us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt. He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.”8 Gilbert Meilaender wrote well of Lewis in the fall 1998 issue of First Things, saying, “Every choice counts. Every choice contributes to determining what we ultimately love.”9 C. S. Lewis learned and concluded, as do all serious disciples, that when one gets involved with God, the loving Tutor doesn’t stop halfway through. When I was a child I often had toothache, and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something which would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep. But I did not go to my mother—at least, not till the pain became very bad. And the reason I did not go was this. I did not doubt she would give me the aspirin; but I knew she would also do something else. I knew she would take me to the dentist next morning. . . . And I knew those dentists;. . . Our Lord is like the dentists. . . . Dozens of people go to Him to be cured of some one particular sin which they are ashamed of. . . . Well, He will cure it all right: but he will not stop there. That may be all you asked; but if once you call Him in, He will give you the full treatment.10 There is someone else of whom Lewis reminds us: the Tempter, who is likewise concerned with the little things in our daily lives: “It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”11 Discipleship is likewise a precious but incremental process, as Lewis observed, in which “the Christian, trying to treat every one kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on—including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning.”12 But we are so easily deflected from the journey, aren’t we? Lewis wrote of one reason “why”: “The first step is to recognise the fact that your moods change. The next is . . . some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. . . . To be continually reminded of what we believe. . . . If you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?”13 Brigham Young spoke similarly and emphatically about how all of life’s daily moments are to be used, however ordinary and simple these moments may seem to be: It is the aggregate of the acts which I perform through life that makes up the conduct that will be exhibited in the day of judgment, and when the books are opened, there will be the life which I have lived for me to look upon, and there also will be the acts of your lives for you to look upon. Do you not know that the building up of the kingdom of God, the

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gathering of Israel, is to be done by little acts? You breathe one breath at a time; each moment is set apart to its act, and each act to its moment. It is the moments and the little acts that make the sum of the life of man. Let every second, minute, hour, and day we live be spent in doing that which we know to be right.14 In fact, if not so focused, we can end up passing some of life’s major exams while still flunking some of the daily quizzes. So for serious disciples there are no ordinary people, but likewise there are really no ordinary moments. Sobering is the only word, therefore, that I can use regarding daily discipleship. Gilbert Meilaender also very appropriately reminds us that Lewis, in The Pilgrim’s Regress, spoke of how discipleship involves the “tether and pang of the particular,” concluding of Lewis’s insights: “We live with this duality of our being, with our hearts both tied to what is local and unique and drawn toward the universal. Living within that tension, as the Lewis poem puts it, ‘we pay dearly.’”15 The gospel’s inward and outward standards are both high. Even when we are bestowing kindnesses, Lewis counseled: I have known people capable of real sacrifice whose lives were nevertheless a misery to themselves and to others, because self-concern and self-pity filled all their thoughts. Either condition will destroy the soul in the end. But till the end, give me the man who takes the best of everything (even at my expense) and then talks of other things, rather than the man who serves me and talks of himself, and whose very kindnesses are a continual reproach, a continual demand for pity, gratitude, and admiration.16 Yes, life’s tutorials, at times, can constitute “a severe mercy,” but, viewed developmentally, such clinical experiences can actually reflect, instead, God’s “tender mercies” (1 Ne. 1:20). Consider what King Benjamin said about the process of becoming more saintly: “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19). Notice King Benjamin’s use of the word inflict, then think of Lewis’s instructive poem about Jesus as “Lord of the narrow gate and the needle’s eye.” 17 In fact, when the development of the Christian virtues is viewed or approached other than as King Benjamin sets forth—such as acting as if these attributes are in isolation from each other—troubles begin. The Christian attributes need each other just as do Christian disciples. Christian doctrines are not only strong and powerful, but they are also designed to be highly interactive. In our time, for instance, there has been a needless and sad separation of mercy from justice, something, unsurprisingly, about which C. S. Lewis wrote. “The Humanitarian theory wants simply to abolish Justice and substitute Mercy for it. . . . Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful. That is the important paradox. As there are plants which flourish

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only in mountain soil, so it appears that Mercy will flower only when it grows in the crannies of the rock of Justice: transplanted to the marshlands of mere Humanitarianism, it becomes a man-eating weed, all the more dangerous because it is still called by the same name as the mountain variety.”18 The need for us to develop composite Christian character is embodied in Peter’s question, “What manner of persons ought ye to be” (2 Pet. 3:11). No wonder the resurrected Jesus, during His visit to the Nephites, inquired, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” He then answered, most significantly, that we are to become, in His words, “even as I am” (3 Ne. 27:27). Therefore, our being tutored cannot be episodic and still be fully effective. To be sure, we may choose not to be serious participants in that process. We may actually turn our backs on it. Nevertheless, when Jesus said, “Come unto me,” He also promised, “and I will show unto you your weaknesses.” Reassuringly, however, some weaknesses, the scriptures say, can actually become strengths (see Moro. 10:32; Ether 12:27; see also Rev. 22:17). This necessary process is unrelenting as far as I can see, yet it is a process full of mercy and love, emblematic of Father’s plan of happiness. It is the effort of a loving Father God and His redeeming Son, Jesus Christ, to do all They can to help us during the crowded time provided for this short, mortal classroom. To become more like Them involves both obedience to Their ordinances and emulation of Their attributes—all in order that we might return to Them. No wonder, therefore, we are repeatedly urged to use our time wisely by forsaking the world and[“[taking] up the cross daily” (Luke 9:23; emphasis added). I seem to remember that C. S. Lewis taught us that God is serious about joy (see Letters to Malcolm 17:17). Indeed, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Ne. 2:25). Even so, there is neither cheap joy nor cost-free discipleship. Given these cosmic facts and divine purposes, no wonder we must set our faces like flint against the varied expressions of modernity’s ethical relativism—of which Lewis wrote, “What is the good of telling the ships how to steer so as to avoid collisions if, in fact, they are such crazy old tubs that they cannot be steered at all?”19 Developmentally as well as doctrinally, all the other commandments hang on the two great and interactive commandments. As Lewis counseled: “All natural affections . . . can become rivals to spiritual love: but they can also be preparatory imitations of it, training (so to speak) of the spiritual muscles which Grace may later put to a higher service; as women nurse dolls in childhood and later nurse children.”20 Continuing, regarding such preparatory training, he wrote, “We are bidden to ‘put on Christ,’ to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want.”21 Discernment as to our personal shortfalls during our development is, therefore, vital, including how we face suffering, especially when it comes to those we love. Said Lewis: “Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved; . . . mere ‘kindness’ which

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tolerates anything except suffering in its object is, in that respect, at the opposite pole from Love.”22 Again, what Lewis wrote underscores the need for such spiritual submissiveness and meekness: “Man approaches God most nearly when he is in one sense least like God. For what can be more unlike than fullness and need, sovereignty and humility, righteousness and penitence, limitless power and a cry for help? This paradox staggered me when I first ran into it.”23 The paradox that “staggered” underscores why the first commandment is first and the second commandment is second. Yes, the second commandment is “like unto the first,” but it is not the first! In fact, we worship the Perfect Object of the first commandment, while, though we are to love Them, we do not worship the imperfect objects of the second commandment. We gladly recognize the supremacy of the Object of the love spoken of in the first commandment. Moreover, if a person really loves God with all of his or her heart, might, mind, and strength, this involves intellectual surrender to God, too. Alas, there are comparatively more knees bent in reverence to God than there are minds, a fact that often represents a failure to understand the nature of God. As modern revelation tells us, Enoch learned what Paul called “the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10). Enoch saw, personally, the Lord’s tears, and he heard the Lord’s lamentations about mankind. God, having given us our agency, commanded us to love one another and to love and choose Him. Yet the Lord’s lament is that we mortals so often choose evil instead of choosing Him and His ways, which evoked the divine tears (see Moses 7). Keeping the first commandment leads us to acknowledge and love the Lord sufficiently to accept His timing, even when, as Nephi acknowledged, we “do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Ne. 11:17). Hence there are, in fact, more people who partially keep the second commandment than truly keep the first. Thus it is the first commandment which sets the high tone and the standards. Otherwise, every man can walk in his own way and do his own thing, which will often include some useful but sidebar service to his fellow mortals (see D&C 1:16). Consider, for instance, the case of Morianton’s actually dealing justly with his people but not with himself because of his whoring failure to love God’s seventh commandment (see Ether 10:11). Clearly, some mortal choices need not necessarily be wicked in order to do harm. Some choices are diversions more than they are transgressions. Yet such sins of omission do mount up, constituting deprivations we inflict upon our fellow human beings as the helpful things we might have done and said are sadly “omitted” (see Matt. 23:23). Eric Shumway, president of BYU—Hawaii, wrote: Why is it that we must love God first with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind (see Luke 10:27) and then second, love our neighbor as

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ourself, which Christ taught means loving all humanity? Partly, it is because if we don’t love God first and all he represents, instead of loving our neighbor as ourselves, we are just as likely to end up “loving” our neighbor’s wife, or his goods, or his reputation, or his sins that complement and magnify our own. Love also needs both anchor and compass on our voyage. For me, loving God with all one’s mind means not only putting one’s critical faculties in God’s service, but one’s imagination as well. This requires a will to purity as well as analytical discernment, a passion for good, even perfection, as well as for beauty and understanding.24 As we know, Lewis emphasized the length of the Lord’s redemptive reach for us and His unceasing love. The Book of Mormon similarly describes how His arm is extended to us “all the day long” (2 Ne. 28:32). The prophet Mormon wrote in powerful lamentation of those who did not respond even though Jesus waited “with open arms to receive you” (Morm. 6:17). If we are fully deserving, the scriptures promise us that we can eventually know that sublime moment when we will be “clasped in the arms of Jesus” at the entrance to His kingdom (Morm. 5:11). There, Jesus, Himself, is “the keeper of the gate . . . and he employeth no servant there” (2 Ne. 9:41). If we truly yearn for the marvelous moment, our discipleship will be persistent. King Lamoni’s father had it right concerning one requirement. With his halting, initial faith concerning the God whose love he had felt, nevertheless, the king promised to “give away all my sins to know thee” (Alma 22:18). This deep requirement of discipleship is for all of us, including our sins of omission. Yes, it is vital to know that God is, but also what God is like! Only as we come to know, to worship, and to love Him can His work truly become our own. C. S. Lewis has given us such valuable and stirring insights to help us in this journey of Christian discipleship. For this I gladly and publicly thank him, something I hope to do personally one day. I gladly give you my testimony as a special witness of Jesus that our discipleship should strive to emulate Him in every way. He is “the light of the world” (John 8:12). How blessed we are to have His perfect example to guide us! Jesus is the Lord of the Universe, having created it under the direction of the Father, but He is, likewise, the Great Redeemer, having atoned for the sins of each of us. Now He beckons us to follow Him into everlasting happiness. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Elder Neal A. Maxwell is a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A former commissioner of education for the Church. He is the author of numerous and well-known books and articles . Notes 1. C. S. Lewis: Speaker & Teacher, ed. Carolyn Keefe (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), p. 89.

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2. Personal Correspondence from Tony Kimball, Bentley College, November 30, 1998. 3. C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 39. 4. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 73. 5. Ibid., p. 35. 6. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Touchstone, 1996), pp. 35-36. 7. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), p. 343. 8. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, pp. 36-37. 9. Gilbert Meilaender, “The Everyday C. S. Lewis,” First Things, August/September 1996, p. 30. 10. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 173-74. 11. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 54. 12. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 117. 13. Ibid., p. 125. 14. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:342. 15. Meilaender, “The Everyday C. S. Lewis.” p. 31. 16. C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1956), pp. 143-44. 17. C. S. Lewis, C. S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table, ed. James T. Como (New York: Macmillan, 1979), p. xxv. 18. C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock, ed. Walter Hooper (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1970), p. 294. 19. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 72. 20. C. S. Lewis, from The Four Loves, as quoted in The Quotable Lewis, ed. Wayne Martinadale and Jerry Root (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1989), p. 401. 21. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 48. 22. Ibid., p. 41.

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23. Lewis, from The Four Loves, as quoted in The Quotable Lewis, p. 407. 24. Eric B. Shumway, “Loving God and Mankind: Rites of Passage and the Humanities,” BYU Studies 37, no. 4 (1997-98), p. 125.

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C. S. LEWIS: Drawn by the Truth Made Flesh Brent D. Slife GOOD AFTERNOON. IT IS A PRIVILEGE to celebrate C. S. Lewis’s birthday with you. He was an amazing Christian man. Indeed, my main charge this afternoon is to account for his Christianity. That is, Dean Robert Millet of BYU’s College of Religious Education asked me to address the following question: Why was Lewis attracted to Christianity? To the reader of his many Christian books, this may seem like an odd question, for wasn’t he always a Christian? The fact is that Lewis was an atheist at one time in his life. 1 In this context, an account of his move to Christianity—or rather, an interpretation of this move—could be central to understanding the “man and his message”—the topic of our symposium today. I should warn you at the outset that my presentation is not a typical developmental account of Lewis’s Christianity. It is not the usual blow-by-blow description of the events and feelings surrounding Lewis’s conversion. We have many of these already (see A. N. Wilson or R. L. Green & W. Hooper). The problem with such blow-by-blows, in my judgment, is that they focus too much on Lewis himself. This may seem a curious sort of statement to make, especially when the entire conference today is devoted to Lewis. Nevertheless, the problem with an exclusive focus on Lewis, in this case, is that it leaves out a vital agent in Lewis’s conversion—the Truth Made Flesh. Now, those of you who took the time to review the title of my presentation will recognize this term. The “Truth Made Flesh” is merely a variation on a more familiar phrase in the Gospel of John, the “Word was made flesh” (1:14). This “Word,” as we come to read in John, is actually Jesus Christ Himself, and this is my basic thesis: Lewis was drawn by the Truth of Jesus Christ Himself. Indeed, central to my thesis is that Lewis was drawn by the peculiar nature of this Truth. I say “peculiar” because Christianity violates many secular notions of truth. Our secular notions of truth originate from the Greek legacy to Western culture, where truth has, I will contend, five overlapping but essential characteristics. I will attempt to show that Lewis found all five of these popular characteristics of truth wanting, and found himself, instead, attracted to and attracted by the distinctive nature of Christian Truth. MAJOR LIFE THEMES: TRUTH AND RELATIONSHIPS Let us begin with one of two major themes in Lewis’s life. Beginning here will also explain why we must focus on truth in addressing Lewis’s attraction to Christianity. If Lewis was nothing else, he was a seeker of truth—from his earliest days of childhood. Lewis had all sorts of different terms for his “truth seeker” mentality—terms such as his “longing,” “joy,”

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and “desire”—but they all, without exception, converge upon his deep-seated wish to reach the most profound levels of human experience. One of his earliest nursery memories, for example, includes his desire to know the hills he saw from his nursery window. I quote from Surprised by Joy: “What we called ‘the Green Hills’; that is, the low line of the Castlereagh Hills. . . . They were not very far off but they were, to children, quite unattainable. They taught me longing.”2 Lewis never lost this longing, this reach for the unattainable, the beyond. Many of us here can attest to the constant and seemingly inexhaustible probings for truth in his many books. Although Lewis is well known for his defense of Christianity, each of his books serves as a focus for his own examination and exploration. We can also see his passion for truth in his evaluation of great authors and great books—first as a precocious student and later as a literary critic. As one of his early teachers, The Great Knock, remarked: “It is the maturity and originality of his literary judgments which is so unusual and surprising. By an unerring instinct he detects first-rate quality in literary workmanship and the second-rate does not interest him in any way.”3 It is my contention that the “unerring instinct,” detected by the Great Knock, ultimately led Lewis to long for the “first-rate quality” of Christian truth as well. This longing for truth was not the only major theme of Lewis’s childhood and adulthood. One cannot review his complex life without being struck by the significance of his personal relationships. His comradeship with his brother Warnie was “deep” 4 from his earliest days of childhood and appears to have been unaffected by the three-year difference in their ages. Indeed, until his dying days at the Kilns, Lewis’s loyalty to Warnie and his deep affection for him were unimpeachable. Of course, this loyalty and affection were not unique to Warnie. Repeatedly we see Lewis pledging himself to his friends and family, regardless of the suffering these friendships caused him. His relationship with Joy Gresham comes to mind immediately for some of us —the relationship depicted in the movie Shadowlands. However, any number of other relationships can be called upon to illustrate Lewis’s “relationism”: his lifelong friendship with his boyhood chum Arthur Greeves, his intimate relationship with his adopted “mother” Mrs. Moore, and his cherished association with his Oxford colleague J. R. R. Tolkien. As Lewis was to say about all these close relationships, “friendship has been by far the chief source of my happiness.”5 But why mention this penchant for relationships when discussing his penchant for truth? It is my thesis that the two penchants, the two lifelong themes of Lewis’s life, are inextricable. Look for one and you will invariably find the other. Consider the boyhood beginnings of his friendship with Arthur Greeves. To their utter amazement in 1914, both boys discovered that they loved the same book; they were so excited to discover this mutual interest that they were almost shouting. As Lewis writes in Surprised by Joy about this incident, “Both [of us] knew the stab of Joy”6 (with the word Joy capitalized). The reason I note the capitalization of Joy here is that Lewis considered this akin to truth. It is also not totally coincidental that one of Lewis’s most momentous relationships occurred with another “capitalized” Joy—Joy Gresham—his eventual wife. As one biographer, A. N. Wilson, writes, “It was always

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axiomatic with [Lewis] that friendship began, and perhaps continued with two [people] ‘seeing the same truth.’”7 Now, we should be careful not to assume that Wilson’s notion of “seeing the same truth” means simple agreement here. Lewis’s and Greeves’s relationship, for instance, was to outlast many profound disagreements, so this is not the point of Wilson’s remark. I believe that he was referring to something infinitely more profound here: the truth of relationship, the truth of a bond between two living beings who love one another. This was the truth that both Greeves and Lewis saw, and this was the truth that knit them together throughout their lives despite all manner of threats to their relationship. This is not to say that Lewis was intellectually aware of this connection between truth and relationship in his early days, nor is it to say that Lewis found just any relationship worthy of this treatment. Rather, my contention is that Lewis knew in his heart this connection between truth and personal relationship. He felt it in his “happiness,” as he reports, and he could not help but connect it with “the same truth.” The deeply personal, then, would always capture Lewis’s attention at the most fundamental level. And Christianity was deeply personal for Lewis, though he was not always to know this. As Lewis was later to say in Mere Christianity,[“[If God] is pure impersonal mind, there may be no sense in asking it to make allowances for you or let you off, just as there is no sense in asking the multiplication table to let you off when you do your sums wrong.”8 His point in this passage, and my point here today, is that the personal nature of God was the ultimate attraction for Lewis, because it was the potent combination of both personal relationship and truth. I stress “ultimate attraction” here, because Lewis did not always perceive this attraction. In fact, his major life themes—his search for truth and his devotion to relationships—were initially to pull him in opposite directions. His search for the truth was to take him into secular scholarly pursuits, while his devotion to relationship was to propel him eventually into Christianity. The reason why these were initially viewed as “opposite” by Lewis was that the relational was, for him, inherently personal, while the truthful was inherently impersonal. THE TEMPTATION OF IMPERSONAL TRUTH Let us take a few moments at this juncture to examine the nature of Western and secular truth to understand how Lewis might have viewed it as impersonal and nonrelational. This brief examination, I believe, will help us to understand the profound intellectual and spiritual conflict that Lewis felt most of his life, in varying degrees. You may be happy to know that I will not bore you with all the historical and philosophical sources of our popular notions of truth. As I mentioned earlier and have written about elsewhere, they stem from some readings of ancient Greek (Hellenistic) sources.9 However, they are also sustained and informed by many modernist writers and scholars, perhaps most popularly by my own field of psychology. What is this popular notion of truth? What are its characteristics, particularly those characteristics that are ultimately inconsistent with Lewis’s perspective on relationships? Two Types of Truth

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The Five Characteristics of Impersonal (Secular) Truth A. Propositionality: truth exists as a set of abstract propositions. B. Contextlessness: truth cannot exist in any particular location or era. C. Necessity: truth cannot be any other way than it is—unchangeable. D. Passivity: truth propositions wait for us to discover them. E. Comprehensibility: truth can ultimately be rationally understood. The Five Characteristics of Personal (Christian) Truth A. Concreteness: Truth is real and “objective.” B. Contextuality: Truth resides in our particular context. C. Agency: Truth could choose to act otherwise than it does. D. Activity: Truth takes the initiative and seeks us as much as we might seek it. E. Irreducibility: Some of the Truth can only be fathomed by the heart. The first characteristic of impersonal truth is propositionality. That is, truth is thought to exist as a set of logical propositions or, more commonly, as a set of principles. This aspect of popular truth is readily seen in our culture’s rendition of ethical codes. Most professional organizations, for instance, represent their ethics in written propositions, because propositions are thought to be sufficiently abstract and impersonal to be applicable to all the situations in which professionals might encounter ethical questions. In this sense, the abstract and impersonal nature of propositions makes them ideal for the universal nature of ethics. You may remember Lewis’s analogy of the multiplication tables—his exemplar of impersonal, abstract, and universal propositions. The propositional nature of multiplication tables seemingly allows them to be applicable to any situation. The problem is, as all elementary teachers (and Lewis) know, the mere memorization of these tables (or any set of abstract propositions) does not mean that they will be applied correctly, or used at all. In other words, propositions may be universal but their abstract and impersonal nature gives them no necessary connection to concrete situations, where all people live. This suggests the second characteristic of secular truth: its contextlessness. By “contextlessness” I mean that the propositions of truth cannot reside in any particular context or situation. Although multiplication tables and ethical codes can be represented on a particular piece of paper, the truth of these propositions does not exist in any special location or era, because it must be applicable to all locations and eras. Truth, then, is not in any particular context; it lies in some metaphysical realm outside all contexts. It only enters particular contexts when it is translated and tailored to the special situation at hand, so it

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cannot already be part of the situation in the first place. In this sense the truth of the multiplication tables must be translated and tailored to particular contexts, because the logic of these mathematical propositions is thought to be utterly contextless. The third characteristic of our popular notion of truth is its necessity. This characteristic implies that truth is the way it is, because it is the way it has to be—necessary. It must be as it is, and it cannot be any other way. The propositional nature of truth can, again, illustrate this. Logical propositions are considered to be necessary in this same way: If Socrates is a man, then Socrates must (of necessity) be mortal. There is no other way. Multiplication tables and all the relationships they represent must be the way they are; they cannot be otherwise. They have no free will and they are unchangeable—carved in stone. In this sense the truth is already and forever determined, and its nature and all things that might be associated with it also have to be the way they are—of necessity. The fourth characteristic of Western, secular truth is its passivity. That is, truth is not something that acts on its own accord. As I mentioned, it has no will of its own, nor any means of extending itself to others. Multiplication tables do not teach themselves to us, nor do they care whether they are taught by others. Rather, truth propositions, such as multiplication and morality, lie “out there” uncaringly, waiting for us to discover them. In much the same sense that truth is necessary and already and forever determined, it is also passive and does not intervene in our affairs or reach out to us on its own. This is not to say that when we do discover this form of truth it will not change us or suggest important implications for our lives; it is merely to say that we must discover and comprehend this truth for it to have these effects. It does not discover and comprehend us; we must discover and comprehend it. This need for comprehension relates directly to our fifth and final property of Western truth —its comprehensibility. Because truth is propositional, determinate, and passive, it is something that is perfectly comprehensible. Our rationality permits us to comprehend the rationality of truth. This is not to say that truth is not deep or complex, perhaps even a bit obscure and esoteric. The point is, however, that secular truth is ultimately comprehensible. Given enough time and enough study, we will be able to wrap our minds around every bit of its wisdom, every one of the mathematical relationships represented by the multiplication tables. This, of course, has been the guiding premise of science since it was formulated over three centuries ago—namely, that the mathematical laws and truths of nature will eventually surrender themselves to us completely. These five characteristics, then, are the characteristics of truth that I believe many people in the Western world would affirm. Lewis’s familiar example of the multiplication tables evidences this popularity, because we do not have to go to the rarefied realms of theology or philosophy to show the commonness of these characteristics; we can see them being taught in our elementary schools every day. Although few people would articulate these characteristics in the fashion I have here, and probably would not use the labels for these characteristics that I have provided today, I would argue that most people of our popular culture would affirm these characteristics as the way in which truth is.

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THE ATTRACTION OF CHRISTIAN TRUTH How then does Christianity violate these characteristics from Lewis’s perspective? To even imply that it violates these familiar and, in some sense, cherished notions of truth may be provocative. Many of us may have applied these characteristics of popular truth, knowingly or unknowingly, to Christian truth. However, the singular nature of Christianity is easily evidenced by Christ’s astounding pronouncement: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Notice that Christ does not say that He knows the truth, or that He carries with Him the propositions of truth, or that He exemplifies these propositions. Christ says that He is the truth. Jesus Christ is the Word or Truth made flesh. Needless to say, this concrete, embodied truth is a radical departure from Hellenistic and thus Western traditions of a propositional truth, and it is in this radical departure that this embodied truth violates all the characteristics that I just outlined. Concreteness. Lewis was very aware of the concrete nature of Christian truth in his early days as a Christian. In The Screwtape Letters, for example, Lewis describes the divine presence as “completely real” and there “in the room” with us.10 Of course, this concrete truth is not a Newtonian materiality, with the concrete having to be a sensory experience. However, as Lewis shows, this truth is an “objective” presence nevertheless,11 one that allows us to converse and form a relationship with it. We have, declares Lewis in Surprised by Joy, “a commerce with something which, by refusing to identify itself with any object of the senses, or anything whereof we have biological or social need, or anything imagined, or any state of our own minds, proclaims itself sheerly objective. Far more objective than bodies, for it is not, like them, clothed in our senses.”12 Such a claim should not be too surprising for a Christian. Christians consider the historical Christ, as the Truth Made Flesh, to continue to live, so that a real relationship can be formed with an objective and divine presence, even today. One cannot form a personal relationship with an abstract set of propositions. Some of us may have enjoyed learning the multiplication tables. However, few of us, I would wager, would consider this a personal relationship with the tables themselves. This is because, at least in part, the tables are abstractions and thus do not have the necessary concreteness with which to form a relationship. It is this concreteness of Christ or God that Lewis felt himself moving inexorably toward throughout his life. As Lewis writes in Surprised by Joy, “Every step I had taken, from the Absolute to ‘Spirit’ and from ‘Spirit’ to ‘God,’ had been a step toward the more concrete, the more imminent, the more compulsive.”13 Of course, another way to understand this embodied truth is to understand ourselves as Christ’s “body.” In this sense the Truth of Christ is literally in and operating through us as concrete beings. Consider Lewis’s writings in Mere Christianity on this point: “And let me make it quite clear that when Christians say the Christ-life is in them, they do not mean simply something mental or moral [or propositional]. When they speak of being ‘in Christ’ or of Christ being ‘in them,’ this is not simply a way of saying that they are thinking about Christ or copying Him. They mean that Christ is actually operating through them [their bodies].”14 This aspect of Lewis’s theology, the realness and concreteness of Truth, is part of

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the appeal that Lewis has for many Latter-day Saints, because Latter-day Saints believe not only in an embodied Christ but in an embodied God as well. Contextuality. Of course, an embodied truth, even if it is the Christian church as “Christ’s body,” cannot very well be a contextless truth. Recall that our impersonal notion of truth puts it outside our lived experience and into some metaphysical realm. This was the Greek way of making propositional truth available to, though not locatable in, all contexts. The tables of multiplication can be represented on paper, but they do not literally exist there; they exist in some transcendent realm of mathematics or logic that is outside any particular context. The effect of this contextlessness on conceptions of God, or what Lewis called the Absolute, is quite dramatic. As Lewis phrased it in Surprised by Joy: “We could talk religiously about the Absolute: but there was no danger of Its doing anything about us. It was ‘there’; safely and immovably ‘there’. It would never come ‘here,’ never (to be blunt) make a nuisance of Itself. This quasi-religion was all a one-way street. . . There was nothing to fear; better still, nothing to obey.”15 The problem with this quasi-religion—this attempt to cast Christ into some transcendental realm, “out there,” according to Lewis—is that the historic Jesus was the truth, and the truth, in Jesus’ case, existed in a particular time and a particular place. That is, Jesus was a fully contextual being who claimed to be truth. As Lewis notes so persuasively in The Problem of Pain, “Either [Christ] was a raving lunatic of an unusually abominable type, or else He was, and is, precisely what He said [—the truth].” 16 And, as I said a moment ago, Jesus lives, from the Christian perspective. If Jesus was a fully contextual and divine Being historically, why would we presume that He can no longer be such a being following His resurrection? We have already heard how Lewis considered this divine presence to be real and concrete. As Lewis notes in Miracles, “If God is the ultimate source of all concrete, individual things and events, then God Himself must be concrete, and individual in the highest degree.” 17 Doesn’t Christ promise us that He is with us in our particular contexts? His truth is not some abstraction, which we then have to translate into a particular context; His truth is part of the context itself—through the Holy Spirit and through the people who have Him in their hearts. I should note that Lewis’s early Christianity had many propositional and contextless qualities. His conversion was initially to theism and not to the Incarnation, as biographers Green and Hooper show.18 However, Lewis soon came to realize that if Christian truth provides us only with abstract principles or abstract divinities, then we are truly lost, because the details of how these principles get applied are crucial to what is right and wrong in a particular context. As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” You can be sure that Wormwood, Lewis’s demon in The Screwtape Letters, would have been happy to exploit these details. Christian truth, however, is not a set of contextless abstractions, but a personal and concrete presence with which we can truly form a relationship, because He is literally part of our context. As Lewis notes in The Problem of Pain, “the intimacy between God and even the meanest creature is closer than any that creatures can attain with one another.”19 Agency. What other quality of Christian truth is required for such a personal relationship? So far, a truly personal relationship for Lewis requires some type of objectivity or embodiment and some type of contextuality or specificity. Could humans form a relationship with a being

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of necessity? What would such a being be like? If Christ is the truth, as He claimed and as Christians believe, and the truth is necessary, as modern notions of truth assume, then Christ Himself would have had to act out of necessity. That is, the historical Jesus had to do—of necessity—whatever He did. All His actions were predetermined. He had to follow unchangeable and necessary natural laws, or be constituted in some unchangeable and necessary way. In either case, as Lewis painstakingly shows in his book Miracles, He could not have performed any miracles, because miracles are, by definition, violations of necessary and unchangeable laws. Jesus also could not have been moved by the pain and suffering of others—which He was—and He could not have been tempted by sin—which He was. Christians, of course, believe that Christ made all the right choices, despite these temptations. However, Christians also believe that Christ could have done otherwise; He could have sinned; He just didn’t. This agency of Christ, this ability to do otherwise, is central to relationship, because Christ (and God) have made certain commitments to us, such as a pledge to love us. What would His love mean if Christ were not able to do otherwise? That is, how meaningful would your spouse consider your pledge of love, if you could not do otherwise? How meaningful would the phrase “I love you” be if you were determined, out of necessity, to say it? Similarly, how much stock would we put in Jesus’ healing of the sick, or His compassion for the poor, when every action and attitude were determined out of necessity—He had to do and be what He did and was. His agency—His ability to change, even when He did everything correctly—is crucial to the meaning of His actions. God is no different. Why would we praise God if, of necessity, He has to do whatever He does? What would His love mean for us, if He has to love us? Why would we pray to Him? Is prayer merely for our sake, or is it possible that we are trying to move God, just as the sick and the suffering moved Jesus? Lewis does not consider the agency of God to be inconsistent with His changelessness. As he says in Miracles, “The living fountain of divine energy. . ., does in fact, for us, commonly fall into such and such patterns. But to think that a disturbance of them would constitute a breach of the living rule and organic unity whereby God, from his own point of view, works, is a mistake. If miracles do occur, then we may be sure that not to have wrought them would be the real inconsistency.”20 The key is that agency and, indeed, the ability to change one’s own actions and attitudes do not preclude commitment and covenant. That is, God and Christ can be unchanging without having also to be unchangeable. Another way to put this is that the trustworthiness of God and Christ is unchanging, because these divine beings will always choose to be trustworthy, not because They are made to be trustworthy out of necessity. What kind of relationship would we have if They were made to be trustworthy? Again, we have many “relationships” with inanimate and perhaps trustworthy objects, for example, cars, bank accounts, multiplication tables. However, we usually use the term “impersonal” for such relationships and reserve the term “personal” for relationships among embodied beings that possess agency. Activity. This agency raises another question about the characteristics of secular truth: How passive is the Truth Made Flesh? Recall that popular notions of truth assume it just lies there

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—in some metaphysical realm—until it is discovered. This passivity means that some type of method is necessary to dig it out. This passivity was, of course, the impetus for scientific method—to discover the truth. Because the truth wasn’t looking for us, we had to go looking for it. But is this the case with Christian Truth—the Word Made Flesh—from Lewis’s perspective? Absolutely not. As Lewis describes the moment of his conversion in Surprised by Joy: “You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed.”21 In this sense, as Lewis realized, the Truth is seeking us as much as we are seeking it. It is— or rather, He is—not waiting around for us to come up with certain methodologies. He is not waiting to be discovered in this passive Western sense. As Lewis put it in Mere Christianity: “When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him.”22 From Lewis’s perspective, Christ and God, via the Holy Spirit, are alive and active. God has intervened through His Atonement and is continuing to intervene in our particular lives, whether we know Him— the Truth—or not. Indeed, none of us would know the truth without this activity, this dynamic intervention, because no human-made method would ever reveal this truth without revelation by the Truth itself. Certainly, none of us could form a personal relationship with this Truth without its reaching for us as we reach for it. This activity, then, was again one of the attractions of Christianity and, indeed, of all relationships for Lewis. Irreducibility. My discussion, at this juncture, has begun to shade into Christianity’s final violation of the impersonal and secular notion of truth, according to Lewis—its violation of truth’s comprehensibility. Although all the characteristics of personal truth are important to Lewis and his attraction to Christianity, I will attempt to show how this particular violation of comprehensibility was especially important to him. For now, remember that impersonal truth—through the various methods of science, etc.—is presumed to be ultimately comprehensible. The necessary propositions of truth should be able to be discovered and completely understood by a nimble and patient rationality. However, it was this characteristic of popular truth, as evidenced in his “long night talk” 23 with Henry Dyson and J. R. R. Tolkien, that proved so central to Lewis’s conversion. Before this talk, Lewis saw the truth as a set of logical propositions that were ultimately graspable by the intellect. Unfortunately, this perspective made little sense of many aspects of the Truth Made Flesh. For instance, Lewis could not wrap his fertile mind around the Atonement: “What I couldn’t see,” he was to write, “was how the life and death of Someone Else (whoever he was) 2000 years ago could help us here and now—except in so far as his example helped us.”24 In other words, Lewis could not make logical or propositional sense out of the Atonement; it was not comprehensible and thus could not be truth. Christ could only be modeling the truth, through His example, because then Christ would be exemplifying some separate truth.

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In their long night talk, however, Tolkien and Dyson argued persuasively that the incomprehensibility of the Atonement story was not a problem with the story, but a problem with Lewis. When Lewis read stories about other “gods,” such as Adonis or Bacchus, Lewis was prepared to “feel the myth as profound and suggestive of meanings beyond my grasp even tho’ I could not say in cold prose ‘what it meant.’” 25 The point of Tolkien and Dyson was that Lewis laid aside his ability to appreciate myth when it came to Christianity, and became rigidly narrow and propositional. Lewis should understand, instead, that “the story of Christ is simply a true myth; a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened: and one must be content to accept it in the same way.”26 It was in this way, then, that Lewis was able to justify to himself the irreducibility of the Truth Made Flesh. The Word of the Lord, incarnate in Jesus Christ, was too large and too all-embracing for the finite mind to absorb.27 Indeed, this irreducibility was attractive to Lewis in the same way that his medieval studies were attractive. Although there is no doubt that much of Christ and His Heavenly Father are comprehensible, there is also little doubt that Christ and His Father are not completely reducible to intellectualisms. As Lewis put it in A Grief Observed, perhaps the most mature expression of his Christianity: “My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not say that this shattering is one of the marks of His presence?”28 Lewis realized that God is not merely a proposition to be comprehended; He is a Being to be held in “awe” and loved.29 If Christ were totally comprehended, then we would no longer need Him, because we could depend upon what we had comprehended. If God could be fully captured by our intellect, then we would be God ourselves. This does not mean, however, that we are caught in some mere mysticism as Christians. If Lewis’s writings show us nothing else, they show us how much of Christian doctrine can stand up to the criteria of rationality. And whatever we cannot wrap our minds around intellectually, we can wrap our hearts around spiritually. In fact, Lewis’s realization of the importance of myth for understanding Christianity was the main impetus for his foray into mythical writings, such as the Chronicles of Narnia and the Space Trilogy. Lewis formulated stories and myths that could convey the truth of Christianity when his propositional apologetics could not. Aslan, for example, in his land of Narnia, was able to embody the Truth, as a Christ figure, in ways that no rational argument could ever provide.

CONCLUSION Why, in conclusion, was Lewis attracted to Christianity? My answer is deceptively simple, despite the circumlocutions of my presentation today. The answer is that Lewis was drawn to and drawn by the Word Made Flesh—a combination of both the Truth and the Relationship. That is, Lewis was inexorably and inevitably drawn by the peculiar nature of Christianity, replete with its concreteness, contextuality, agency, activity, and irreducibility. However, his formal academic training initially steered him toward a completely dissimilar

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form of truth, making him suspicious, if not completely skeptical of Christian truths; they were myths, not propositions or facts. This impersonal notion of truth led Lewis away from Christianity for a time. Indeed, even after his formal conversion he continued to mix elements of Hellenism with Christianity.30 However, I believe we see this mixture lessening in his later works, such as A Grief Observed, and a fairly complete personal relationship occurring with Truth. This relationship occurs in spite of, or perhaps because of, the terrible grief he suffered as a result of his wife’s death. As he said of his marriage, “The most precious gift that marriage gave me was this constant impact of something very close and intimate yet all the time unmistakably other, resistant—in a word, real.”31 In this sense it was the resistant, irreducible other of his wife, Joy, that drew him to her, and it is my contention that it was the irreducible, but inviting, Other of God that drew him into a personal relationship with Him. Why was Lewis able to move toward this personal truth? How was he able to move away from the impersonal truth that has seemed to capture so many other Western thinkers? This is where, I believe, Lewis’s relationalism was to win out over his loyalty to secular truth. Ultimately he realized that the greater profundity lay with the personal rather than the impersonal. His scholarly training initially prevented this personal truth from being intellectually acceptable. This is, in part, why he worked so hard at his apologetics—to make Christianity intellectually acceptable—acceptable in the Hellenistic mold. However, when he converted, and as he matured in his Christianity, he allowed the Truth Made Flesh to mold him. He stopped trying to make God into his Hellenistic image and allowed God to make him into His image. This means that we cannot overlook the power of God in Lewis’s conversion. It is not the case, for example, that Lewis was psychologically attracted to the “truth flavor of the month” or the challenge of a truth that held mystical as well as rational elements. Rather, Lewis was selected and nurtured by God in much the same way that Lewis might have selected and nurtured one of his own students. We, in this symposium, can only be grateful that Lewis yielded to that nurturing. We can only hope that we will similarly yield. Brent D. Slife is professor of Psychology at Brigham Young University. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University. He is the author of numerous publications, including What’s Behind the Research? Discovering Hidden Assumptions in the Behavioral Sciences. This lecture was produced with the assistance of Melinda Petersen and Jenith Larsen. Notes 1. See A. N. Wilson, C. S. Lewis: A Biography (New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1990), p. 41. 2. C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1996), p. 7.

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3. M. W. Lewis, Lewis Papers, 4 (London: Curtis Brown, 1982); see also Wilson, C. S. Lewis: A Biography, p. 41. 4. Wilson, C. S. Lewis: A Biography, p. 11. 5. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, p. 33. 6. Ibid., p. 130. 7. Wilson, C. S. Lewis: A Biography, p. 37. 8. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 38; emphasis added. 9. See B. D. Slife, “Values of Christian Families: Do They Come from Unrecognized Ideals?” BYU Studies, in press; see also B. D. Slife, Time and Psychological Explanation (Albany, New York: SUNY Press, 1993): see also B. D. Slife, C. Hope, and S. Nebeker, “Examining the Relationship Between Psychological Science and Religious Spirituality,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, in press. 10. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 30. 11. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, p. 221. 12. Ibid.; emphasis added. 13. Ibid., p. 237. 14. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 64-65. 15. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, p. 210. 16. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 21. 17. C. S. Lewis, Miracles (New York: Touchstone, 1996), pp. 115-16. 18. See R. L. Green and W. Hooper, C. S. Lewis: A Biography (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1974), pp. 103-4. 19. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 37. 20. Lewis, Miracles, pp. 129-30. 21. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, p. 228. 22. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 144.

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23. They Stand Together: The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves 1914-1963, ed. W. Hooper (New York: Macmillan, 1979), p. 425 24. Wilson, C. S. Lewis: A Biography, pp. 125-26. 25. Ibid. 26. They Stand Together, p. 427. 27. See Wilson, C. S. Lewis: A Biography, p. 126. 28. C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 284. 29. See Lewis, Surprised by Joy, p. 220. 30. For example, the dualism of spirit and matter in his book Miracles; see also Wilson, C. S. Lewis: A Biography, p. 213. 31. Wilson, C. S. Lewis: A Biography, p. 260.

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3

GOING TO HELL C. S. LEWIS STYLE: His Views on Sin, Temptation, and the Devil Andrew C. Skinner IF POPULARITY OF A PARTICULAR VOLUME can be taken as any indicator of what people have thought were the most significant insights offered by Clive Staples Lewis, then perhaps we may say that readers have felt that Lewis was at his best, or at least most engaging, when discussing evil—specifically, sin, temptation, the devil, and hell. Lewis once wrote in a letter to one of his many young admirers and correspondents that his most popular work was The Screwtape Letters.1 This is a book that rings true to actual human experience and, because of that, has enjoyed a long shelf life. It describes the eternal battle for the souls of humans from the point of view of a senior devil named Screwtape, who writes a series of letters to his nephew, Wormwood, a junior devil and tempter. The letters are filled with a sophisticated, cunning, diabolical logic and cynical humor that reveals the aims, goals, and methods the Satanic minions try to employ to capture “converts.” While The Screwtape Letters have been regarded as some of the wittiest and most brilliant pieces of writing in the twentieth century, there are at least three other volumes that also offer keen insights on sin, temptation, hell, and the devil, and that must be considered when describing and analyzing Lewis’s conception of these topics. These works include Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, and The Great Divorce. Out of all four works come ideas that expand and inform our understanding of God’s plan of salvation, help us to make greater sense of our mortal experience, and, as Latter-day Saints, cause us to refine our thinking about our own doctrines and truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me outline what I think are the fundamental beliefs held by Lewis regarding the nature and significance of temptation, sin, hell, and the devil. These “foundation stones” of the great apologist’s thought allow us to see his logical and persuasive mind at work. Lewis’s theology subtly communicates the idea that where you start from determines where you end up. On this point I think Lewis may well have agreed with Joseph Smith’s statement: “If we start right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we start wrong, we may go wrong, and it be a hard matter to get right.”2 I would categorize along the following lines the foundational beliefs held by C. S. Lewis regarding sin, temptation, and hell: 1.The Significance of Choice, Consequences, and Personal Accountability 2.The Nature of Our Fallen World 3.The Effects of Pride 4.The Nature of the Devil and Hell 5.The Diabolical Strategy of Temptation 6.The Lure of Subjectivism, Scientism, and Reductionism 7.Christ and Temptation

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This is not an exhaustive list, but a fundamental one. These aspects of Professor Lewis’s Christian worldview are interrelated, and they match up in an interesting way with Latterday Saint beliefs and doctrines. Studying them reminds me that many good men and women not of my faith conduct their lives by the light of true principles and gives me renewed appreciation for the little couplet that helps dispel my narrowness of mind: Truth is truth where’ere it’s found, On foreign or familiar ground. CONCEPT 1: CHOICE, CONSEQUENCES, AND PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY C. S. Lewis taught that the eternal destiny of each person resides in his or her own hands. This is a fundamental concept with him. By exercising the right of personal choice, individuals eventually become souls fit for either heaven or hell. We become what we choose to become through many choices, great and small, over time. In Lewis’s view heaven or hell is an “either-or” proposition; there is no “marriage” between the two, no in-between status, no middle ground.3 Lewis firmly believed that from God’s point of view it is not possible to cultivate within one’s soul aspects of both heaven and hell if one desires to obtain heaven. Lewis illustrates this principle, as well as the closely related affliction from which some of us suffer, in his short but profound little book entitled The Great Divorce. You will remember that Lewis crafts his story in the form of dream-vision, where the narrator, Lewis himself, takes a bus ride from hell to the outskirts of heaven and witnesses a series of vignettes that teach important lessons. At one point along the way the narrator’s guide and teacher, George MacDonald, offers this stunning comment in reply to the narrator’s question as to whether everyone has a chance to get on the bus (that is to say, whether everyone has the opportunity to obtain heaven): “Everyone who wishes it does. Never fear. There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.”4 No one who desires to “get on” the bus will miss it—this is an important and appealing idea. Unfortunately, the sad affliction from which some of us suffer, also highlighted by Lewis in The Great Divorce, is tragic indeed because it is so crippling. It is the thing that does prevent us from reaching our final destination or, sometimes, even getting on the bus. Many of us know we don’t want hell, but we cannot, or will not, fully commit to heaven. Yet, says Lewis, if we insist on keeping even a little bit of hell (or worldliness, perhaps), “we shall not see heaven: if we accept heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of hell.”5 In other words, we will not be able to keep even our favorite little sin, pet peeve, pettiness, selfishness, or self-pity if we are fully and completely committed to obtaining heaven. Take, for example, one of the last vignettes depicted in The Great Divorce, where a selfpitying ghost named Frank appears as a dwarf who leads around, by a chain, a projection of

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his sinful self called a Tragedian. Frank has made the journey from hell to the outskirts of heaven not in order to obtain heaven, but for the purpose of gaining pity for his wretched condition. In the end, Frank chooses self-pity over heaven, and thus his real self, his better self, continues to shrink until nothing is left except the projection of his sin, the Tragedian, which then vanishes back to hell. Clearly, for Lewis, if one does not fully and completely choose heaven, whatever else is chosen in the end will bring no lasting joy. By choosing what he has, Frank has perverted his true self and thus become the very sin he has continued to embrace.6 Contrast Frank with another of the ghosts at the outskirts of heaven. This is the man whose plaguing sin is lust. In a wonderful use of symbolic imagery, Lewis describes this sin as a red lizard (could this be the embodiment of Satan himself who is described in Rev. 12 as a red dragon?). This red lizard sits on the shoulder of the man as a kind of alter ego, always ready to prod his host. An angel meets the man and desires of him, indeed coaxes the man, to give the angel permission to slay the lizard. In spite of the fear that such an act may mean the very death of the man himself (lust has become so intertwined with the man), the man finally consents. In a painful process, the man has chosen to give up that which is keeping him from heaven and real happiness (not the counterfeit happiness promoted by the lizard). Miraculously, the lizard is transformed into a beautiful white stallion (horses always symbolize victory in the scriptures), which the man then rides into heaven.7 Here one detects shades of the Apostle Paul, who taught that we are transformed when the old man or woman of sin dies and Christ lives in us (see Gal. 2; Rom. 6). However, the point is that the man with the lizard had chosen to be helped. In fact, everyone who had taken the bus ride had chosen it. Others bailed out of the experience while waiting in line at the bus stop in hell. But choice was the operant function. It makes no difference what weaknesses we mortals possess. If we choose God our weaknesses can and will be turned into strengths. In sum, we may get a clear picture of what Lewis believed to be the fundamental relationship between the principle of choice and the options of heaven or hell, happiness or misery, by quoting from his book, The Problem of Pain: “Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.”8 Conversely, hell is also self-chosen: “I willingly believe,” says Lewis, “that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.”9 CONCEPT 2: THE NATURE OF OUR FALLEN WORLD One of the dangers of implementing a system where freedom of choice is upheld is that some will choose evil. “God created things which had free will,” says Lewis. “That means [you have] creatures which can go either wrong or right.” “You make a thing voluntary and then half the people do not do it.”10 Lewis goes on to say that God may not have wanted them to choose incorrectly, but that is what is possible, that is what God’s will has made possible.11 Thus, freedom of choice can lead to bad choices and sinful behavior, which results in our present circumstance—a fallen world. Owing to the Fall our world is, to put it colloquially, messed up. Again, in The Problem of Pain, Lewis states:

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According to that doctrine [the Fall], man is now a horror to God and to himself and a creature ill-adapted to the universe not because God made him so but because he has made himself so by abuse of his free will. . . . He made all things good and for the sake of their goodness; that one of the good things He made, namely, the free will of rational creatures, by its very nature included the possibility of evil; and that creatures, availing themselves of this possibility, have become evil.12 In other words, “the natural man [fallen man] is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam” (Mosiah 3:19). Lewis emphasized that the Fall came as a result of rebellion. “Fallen man,” states Lewis, “is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.”13 That which unregenrate or natural man is rebelling against is not simply an intangible, amorphous thing called goodness or rightness. When humans commit sin they are rebelling against their creator, which, as Lewis implies, is a doubly stupid and injurious thing to do. Not only is the sinner hurt by the sin, but says Lewis, “A creature revolting against a creator is [a creature] revolting against the source of his own powers—including even his power to revolt. . . . It is like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower.”14 Hence, for Lewis, “The Fall is simply and solely Disobedience—doing what you have been told not to do.”15 Lewis points out that no one escapes the effects of the Fall. We are all in a hole, he says; “We are all fallen creatures and all very hard to live with.” However, there is good news. The hole we are in is not a permanent situation, not irreparable. As one scholar notes, one of Lewis’s works of science fiction, entitled Out of the Silent Planet, introduces a very helpful word to describe our fallen condition. The word is bent. When the good scientist, Ransom, attempts to describe the dangerous motives of other space travelers to the inhabitants of the planet Malachandra, he uses the word bent. This is so apt a term because it suggests the possibility of correction or redemption. Something that is bent is only distorted rather than being completely broken.16 That possibility of correction, we could even say transformation, resides in Christ and requires repentance. Through Christ, who pays our penalty, all may find a way out of the “hole” described by Lewis. Latter-day Saints put the doctrine this way: “We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” (A of F 1:3). Lewis believed that the effects of our fallen condition were so pervasive and invasive that it would be dangerous even for us to travel in space. Were we to stumble upon an “unfallen” race, assuming that were possible, we would carry our spiritual contagion to that other world. However, this is not to say that Lewis believed in the total depravity of man. Rather, it makes the need for a Savior greater. In his Problem of Pain, Lewis stated, “This chapter will have been misunderstood if anyone describes it as a reinstatement of the doctrines of Total Depravity. I disbelieve that doctrine, partly on the logical ground that if our depravity were total we should not know ourselves to be depraved, and partly because experience shows us much goodness in human nature. Nor am I recommending universal gloom.”17

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Lewis allows not only for moral improvement in humans but also for increased selfknowledge as a result of that moral progress: “When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. . . . Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.”18 I like this statement very much for two reasons. One is a corollary teaching given by the Prophet Joseph Smith: “We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin.”19 A second reason why I resonate to Lewis’s statement is that such explanations about our capability to be sensitive to the Spirit of God, which is what I think Lewis is talking about, is also reflected in the teachings of scriptural prophets like the Apostle Paul, who said in his first recorded letter to the Corinthians: “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God. . . . But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man” (2:11, 15). CONCEPT 3: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PRIDE In Lewis’s scheme the Fall is directly tied to the sin of pride. “The Fall is simply and solely disobedience . . . and it results from Pride—from being too big for your boots, forgetting your place, thinking that you are God.”20 Here one cannot help but think of that passage in what Latter-day Saints call the Pearl of Great Price, the book of Moses 4: 1-4, which lays out the problem in unique detail as it recounts the hubris of Satan when he sought to dethrone God. And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor. But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.

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Satan is the epitome of pride, and it is this fact that is at the core of what Lewis is trying to tell us: “it was through Pride that the devil became the devil.”21 Lewis has also pointed out that “the devil is a liar,” just as the above passage in the book of Moses has stated. Thus the ugly truth is made plain: pride and dishonesty go together because those who possess pride are not being honest about their true standing before God and their fellowmen. As Terry Glaspey says in summarizing the views of Lewis: “Pride, at its root, is self-centeredness. It is the desire that everything and everyone revolve around our own perceived needs and wants, the refusal to see things through the eyes of others. Pride is . . . a purely spiritual sin, birthed in Hell itself. It is the sin that made Satan who he is, for he refused to bow to God’s rightful authority as Creator. When we are proud, we cut ourselves off from God and from others.”22 The effects of pride are unbounded and far-reaching. Said Lewis: “It is pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people and unchaste people. But pride always means enmity—it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God.”23 Pride is a topic on which Lewis has offered some of his most brilliant insight and exposition. He believed it was the source of all other sins, “the essential vice, the utmost evil.”24 “Pride leads to every other vice,” he wrote in Mere Christianity.25 The worst thing about pride is that it keeps one from God; “it is the complete anti-God state of mind,” said Lewis.26 Continuing with his words: “As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” 27 As Lewis pointed out in a section of dialogue he crafted as occurring between the protagonist in The Great Divorce and the protagonist’s guide, those who chose hell over God try to justify their actions precisely because they cannot get rid of the primal sin—pride. Here is that portion of dialogue: “Milton was right,” said my Teacher. “The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words ‘Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.’ There is always something they prefer to joy—that is, to reality. Ye see it easily enough in a spoiled child that would sooner miss its play and its supper than say it was sorry and be friends. Ye call it the Sulks. But in adult life it has a hundred fine names—Achilles’ wrath and Coriolanus’ grandeur, Revenge and Injured Merit and Self-Respect and Tragic Greatness and Proper Pride.”28 The truth of the matter is that there is nothing proper about pride in any form it takes, because it keeps us from God. With pride, the devil has a constant, unrelenting, powerful built-in tool through which he tries to ensnare us and make us his own. To wit, even though we may accept Christ and profess to turn away from evil, we then become susceptible to self-righteousness, which in Lewis’s view was one of the worst manifestations of the greatest sin. “A man is never so proud as when striking an attitude of humility.”29 Thus, as Lewis said in one of his letters,

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pride is truly the “perpetual nagging temptation.”30 The only way to diminish pride is to constantly hammer away at the competitive spirit: “Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.”31 Had we the time, we could list a dozen scriptures in the Book of Mormon on the disastrous effects of pride. We could talk about the essential ingredients of a Zion society, each of which is a manifestation of the exact opposite of pride, and is, rather, the total immersion of self in a sense of community, each individual person seeking the interest and welfare of his or her family members, friends, neighbors, and—yes—even seeking the interest of strangers and foreigners. CONCEPT 4: THE NATURE OF THE DEVIL AND HELL Pride naturally leads us to talk about the nature of the devil and hell since, as we have already noted, “it was through Pride that the devil became the devil.”32 Lewis believed unequivocally in the devil, and in devils. “I believe in angels, and I believe that some of these, by the abuse of their free will, have become enemies to God and, as a corollary, to us. These we may call devils. . . . Their nature is depraved.”33 The logical extension of that view is that they are different from humans who do not possess a thoroughly depraved nature and are redeemable. Lewis also believed that Satan, the leader or dictator of these devils, was the opposite, not of God, but of Michael. We may compare this notion with revealed truth found in D&C 29:36-38. “And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency; and they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels; And, behold, there is a place prepared for them . . . which place is hell.” Lewis’s ideas compare with this revelation in an interesting way, especially when we remember that Lewis also believed that Satan’s fall was due to rebellion brought about by pride. In fact, it is again pride that Lewis believed is the essential characteristic, even atmosphere, that permeates hell. “We must picture Hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.”34 Further playing on the theme of pride, Lewis sees the realm of the devils as “official society held together entirely by fear and greed. . . . For of course ‘Dog eat dog’ is the principle of the whole organization. Everyone wishes everyone else’s discrediting, demotion, and ruin.”35 Here again we see the competitive spirit in full force, working its destruction. Perhaps that is why the devils are called, in LDS parlance, “sons of perdition” (D&C 76:32) —from the Latin root perditus, meaning “ruin” or “destruction.” Devils are motivated by what Lewis calls “spiritual cannibalism”36—a “passion to dominate, almost to digest, one’s fellow.”37 But it is a passion which is never satisfied. By reading C. S. Lewis the profundity of father Lehi’s words in the Book of Mormon are made ever so much greater: “And because he [the devil] had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought

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also the misery of all mankind. . . . For he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Ne. 2:18, 27). Thus, hell, the abode of the devils, is based on hatred. For, as Lewis observes, “A being which can still love is not yet a devil.”38 Lewis is well known as a master of metaphor, and he uses this gift to describe glimpses of hell that we see displayed far too often in “respectable” persons. “Over all this their good manners, their expressions of grave respect, their ‘tributes’ to one another’s invaluable services form a thin crust. Every now and then it gets punctured, and the scalding lava of their hatred spurts out.”39 Logically, we would have expected hell and hatred to go together in Lewis’s scheme of things. We have already seen how pride is the foundation of hell; and pride, as Lewis defined it for us, is purely and simply enmity, or hatred, toward God! The biblical writer James provided another equation which seems to apply here: “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” (James 4:4). Sometimes the modern world and hell seem awfully close together. CONCEPT 5: THE STRATEGY OF TEMPTATION While Latter-day Saints would likely have an interesting discussion with Lewis on the differences and similarities between various understandings of heaven and hell versus kingdoms of glory and outer darkness, there is much in Lewis’s writings about the devil and how he works that is magnificent. Lewis stated that when it comes to devils there are two equal and opposite errors into which the human race can fall. “One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, [but] to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”40 However, Lewis takes very seriously the idea that we are engaged in a struggle of cosmic proportions between the forces of good and the forces of evil. In The Screwtape Letters Lewis uses his knowledge of human nature to lay out a series of strategies that the devils use to tempt people, thwart the forces of good, manipulate human souls to diabolical ends, and “convert” the human family to ranks of the underworld. I highlight some of the arresting strategies articulated by Screwtape, the undersecretary of the Department of Temptation: 1. Emphasize, or overemphasize, the body, especially physical or bodily needs. Have the real world, the sensory perceptions, intrude on one’s spiritual life, like hunger, thirst, heat and cold, and physical urges. Says Screwtape, “Whatever their bodies do affects their souls.”41 Significantly, there is the underlying premise in The Screwtape Letters that humans do possess an advantage in this monumental struggle for souls. It is the fact that God Himself became mortal, acquiring a body, and thus knows how to better succor the rest of the human family. But, at the same time, this also assumes that the physical body is a weak point for the devil to attack. Screwtape says: “Remember, he [the human being] is not, like you, a pure spirit. Never having been a human (oh, that abominable advantage of the Enemy’s!) you don’t realise how enslaved they are to the pressure of the ordinary.”42 2. Exploit habits. “All the habits of the patient, both mental and bodily, are still in our favour,” says Screwtape.43

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3. Work to magnify disappointments and foster discouragement. 4. Keep the subject turned toward himself and thus away from God,44 even if it is to have him focus on introspection, self-examination and the “inner life.” This will keep him (or her) turned away from God’s true desires for the individual. 5. Make sure that the subject is concerned with “spirituality” (i.e., one’s abstract thoughts about spiritual ideals) over and above, or, better yet, to the exclusion of, practical religion or concrete action—the “mundane,” simple, daily tasks of Christian living. At one point Screwtape advises his nephew, Wormwood, to “Make sure that . . . [Wormwood’s subject] is always concerned with the state of [his mother’s] soul and never with her rheumatism.”45 In other words, make sure the subject thinks in abstract terms and not in practical terms, lest he actually shows his faith by his works (really helping others, for example). Thus the worst, most damaging kinds of sins are not those associated with outward, overt actions: The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting; the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worst of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute.46 6. Promote the kind of fanatic religiosity that will encourage one to offer impassioned prayers for the soul of a loved one, but allow that person to think that he or she has enough latitude to beat a child or insult a spouse without a qualm because it’s done in the name of righteous indignation, chastisement, or correction.47 7. Promote hypocrisy. Most of us have witnessed the tendency to be kind to strangers, but turn around and vent our frustration and anger on family and friends where it does the worst damage. Screwtape says it this way: “The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbors whom he meets everyday and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary.”48 8. Encourage and exploit a person’s oversensitivity to others’ actions and comments so that he or she deliberately looks for offense. After all, he is now the truly spiritual one among lesser souls. Says Screwtape about Wormwood’s subject: “Your patient must demand that all his own utterances are to be taken at their face value and judged simply on actual words, while at the same time judging all his mother’s utterances with the fullest and most oversensitive interpretation of the tone and context and the suspected intention.”49 9. Hold out the lure of power. “For fallen humanity, the temptation of power . . . is almost irresistible.”50

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10. Promote “the delusion that the fate of nations is in itself more important than that of individual souls.”51 Latter-day Saints will recognize that this certainly seems contrary to the Lord’s decree that the worth of individual souls is great in the sight of God, that the Lord suffered the Atonement for individuals, and that His joy is great in the soul that repents (see D&C 18:10-15). 11. Encourage constant, even slavish, devotion to modern trends, worldly fashion, peer acclaim, and self-centeredness. As Screwtape says: “All is summed up in the prayer which a young female human is said to have uttered recently: ‘O God, make me a normal twentieth century girl!’ Thanks to our labours, this will mean increasingly, ‘Make me a minx, a moron, and a parasite.’”52 To his nephew, Wormwood, Screwtape had previously offered this note of optimism: “I see few of the old warnings about Worldly Vanities, the Choice of Friends, and the Value of Time. All that, your patient would probably classify as ‘Puritanism.’”53 12. Promote the importance of outward religiosity, meetings, and programs, over prayer and inward devotion. Best of all is to keep a person from praying altogether. From two separate letters of Screwtape’s we read the following: “Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours—and the more ‘religious’ (on those terms), the more securely ours. I could show you a pretty cageful down here.”54 “The best thing, where it is possible, is to keep the patient from the serious intention of praying altogether.”55 13. If a person does pray, the best strategy for tempters is to convince their subjects that petitionary prayer is ineffective. Again, Screwtape says: “But since your patient has contracted the terrible habit of obedience, he will probably continue such ‘crude’ prayers whatever you do. But you can worry him with the haunting suspicion that the practice is absurd and can have no objective result.”56 14. Encourage the reinstitution of “historical Jesus” studies. (Here one cannot help but add the observation that if there was ever a concept about which C. S. Lewis appears prophetic, it is this one; as our own day and age has witnessed the proliferation of such “scholarly” endeavors.) Says Screwtape: Now, this idea must be used by us to encourage once again the conception of a “historical Jesus” to be found by clearing away later “accretions and perversions” and then to be contrasted with the whole Christian tradition. In the last generation we promoted the construction of such a “historical Jesus” on liberal and humanitarian lines; we are now putting forward a new “historical Jesus” on Marxian, catastrophic, and revolutionary lines. The advantages of these constructions, which we intend to change every thirty years or so, are manifold. . . . The documents say what they say and cannot be added to; each new “historical Jesus” therefore has to be got out of them by suppression at one point and exaggeration at another, and by that sort of guessing (brilliant is the adjective we teach humans to apply to it) on which no one would risk ten shillings in ordinary life.57

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15. Help one to look beyond the mark. This devilish tool is well illustrated in The Great Divorce when Lewis’s guide, who is ushering him through the outskirts of heaven, says the following: There have been men before now who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God Himself . . . as if the good Lord had nothing to do but exist! There have been some who were so occupied in spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to Christ. Man! Ye see it in smaller matters. Did ye never know a lover of books that with all his first editions and signed copies had lost the power to read them? Or an organizer of charities that had lost all love for the poor? It is the subtlest of all the snares.58 And the list goes on and on. However, I think one sees a quintessential pattern begin to emerge. In short, Satan’s aim is to promote excess, exaggeration, and extremes in all things. We see this again and again in The Screwtape Letters. As Screwtape so aptly puts it, “All extremes except extreme devotion to the Enemy are to be encouraged.”59 Indeed, one of the greatest temptations we all face in almost every activity we undertake is intemperance. 60 By way of illustration Screwtape outlines the following strategy. “Now, just as we pick out and exaggerate the pleasure of eating to produce gluttony, so we pick out this natural pleasantness of change and twist it into a demand for absolute novelty.”61 In yet two more letters we read the following comments from Screwtape: “Some ages are lukewarm and complacent, and then it is our business to soothe yet faster asleep. Other ages, of which the present is one, are unbalanced and prone to faction, and it is our business to inflame them.”62 “It all depends on whether your man is of the desponding type who can be tempted to despair, or of the wishful-thinking type who can be assured that all is well.”63 For Latter-day Saints the connection here with 2 Ne. 28:20-21 is immediate: “For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.” Against this backdrop, we note Lewis’s firm (and insightful) belief that the devil will never tempt humans to commit a major sin when a minor one will do the job. As Screwtape further instructs his nephew: “Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”64 CONCEPT 6: THE REDUCTIONISM

LURE

OF

SUBJECTIVISM,

SCIENTISM,

AND

As I read Lewis it seems to me that he assumes that the modern trends of subjectivism, scientism, and reductionism are an outgrowth of pride—the confidence of humans in their own abilities to understand everything and manipulate everything to their own ends and desires. Lewis saw subjectivism as the first great danger to modern civilization.65 Subjective

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reasoning and its results diminish our ability to find the real truth and, hence, to know God. As Lewis argued so forcefully, it is folly for humans to believe that we know what’s best for us (especially when we’re under the influence of the temporary prince of this world—the Prince of Darkness). It is folly for the creations to think that they have no creator who knows more than they do—that humans can decide truth on the basis of personal and selfish preferences. Lewis says that in former times we humans believed that what was truly significant, what really counted, was not the result of our own whims but that which was in harmony with the reality of God’s plan and purposes. Without ultimate objective truth, living in a situation where moral and religious values are based only on what we prefer and not what God has established, we would have no moorings. We are subject to the devil without protection; we are liable to be cast about with every wind of doctrine, to be held hostage by the decisions of oligarchies.To the critic who has argued that modern social science has proven that ethics and values are culturally determined, in his work entitled The Abolition of Man Lewis has responded by demonstrating the universality of basic human ethical values. These things point to God in Lewis’s mind.66 If subjectivism was the first great danger to modern civilization because it can rob us of our spiritual heritage, then scientism is the second great danger in Lewis’s view. Lewis is not opposed to true science, but to the misuse of science that ends in reductionist thinking—the tendency to posit as reality only that which we can quantify or explain on the basis of what we see, touch, taste, or smell. Says Lewis: “You cannot go on ‘explaining away’ for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on ‘seeing through’ things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it.”67 CONCEPT 7: CHRIST AND TEMPTATION C. S. Lewis’s faith was built on the reality that God became man in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was not a great moral teacher. This is not an option Jesus left open to us. In one of the most well-known passages from Mere Christianity, Lewis says there are really only three possibilities: I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.68

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Thus, the intention of Jesus was not to point people to His teachings, but rather to point people to Himself as God and Savior. Our commission is not so much to believe in Him as to trust Him completely. We can trust Him because He lived a perfect life and knows how hard life can be. Here we may be tempted to say that Jesus cannot know what it’s like because He was perfect. However, as Lewis explains, it is precisely because Jesus was perfect, and thus never succumbed to temptation, that He was and is the only being who fully understands and appreciates the challenging nature of temptation. While this may seem a paradox, it makes perfect sense after Lewis explains it to us in an intellectually expanding and spiritually inspiring passage from Mere Christianity: No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have always lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it; and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation really means—the only complete realist.69 This is Lewis at his best, providing practical help for the constant challenge of life, while at the same time putting Christ at the center of the discussion. Because of Lewis’s insightful logic, we can more fully appreciate the profundity and real significance of Paul’s statements in the book of Hebrews about the nature of the Savior we worship. He teaches us that Christ’s own perfect life in the face of every kind of temptation in mortality is ultimately turned to our good, and ministers to our weak and fallen condition. “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (2:17-18). “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (4:14-15). CONCLUSION It seems to me that Lewis’s intent in all of his writing, in all of his explication, was to aid the Christian in his or her daily living by pointing them to God’s love and redemptive power and warning them of Satan’s pitfalls. For this, good people everywhere ought to be grateful. Though the battle with Satan and his minions is a deadly serious one, and at times may seem hopeless, Lewis tells us we need not despair. In one of his letters, Lewis proffers one of his greatest statements of hope. “No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are already, the towels put out, the clean clothes in the

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airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to loose ones temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us: it is the very sign of His presence.”70 Lewis was a keen observer of the human condition and an astute social critic. From the standpoint of LDS doctrine we have good reason to trust many of his insights. It is something of a marvel that Professor Lewis had both the desire and the ability to appeal to persons from all walks of life, not simply the well-to-do, the high-born, those from one confessional background or another, or those who claim to be educated—especially not those who attend the university. In this setting today (at Brigham Young University) it seems appropriate to point out that when it comes to understanding evil (sin, temptation, and the devil) no university training is required to be an expert. In fact, I think Lewis would agree with a passage from the Book of Mormon that explicitly and unequivocally states that those who have the most to worry about when it comes to salvation are the proud who are rich and the proud who are learned (see 2 Ne. 9:42). Let us try to follow the lead of all truly great disciples of the Savior, men and women the very likes of C. S. Lewis, by becoming learned through our humility. Andrew C. Skinner is chair of the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. He holds graduate degrees from the Iliff School of Theology, Harvard University, and the University of Denver, and is the author of numerous publications. Notes 1. See Lyle W. Dorsett and Marjorie Lamp Mead, eds., C. S. Lewis: Letters to Children (New York: Touchstone, 1995), p. 113. 2. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1970), p. 343. 3. See C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 9. In fact, Lewis says in the preface to The Great Divorce that he chose the title to contradict William Blake’s idea found in his title “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” which is a satirical working of Milton. 4. Lewis, The Great Divorce, p. 72. 5. Ibid., p. 10. 6. See ibid., pp. 107-17. 7. See ibid., pp. 96-101. 8. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 130. 9. Ibid., p. 114. 10. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 52.

P á g i n a | 44 11. See ibid. 12. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 61. 13. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 59. 14. C. S. Lewis, A Preface to Paradise Lost (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1942), pp. 96-97. 15. Ibid., pp. 70-71. 16. See Terry Glaspey, Not a Tame Lion (Nashville: Cumberland House Publishing, 1996), pp. 18889. 17. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 59. 18. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 88. 19. Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 51. 20. Lewis, Preface to Paradise Lost, pp. 70-71. 21. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 110. 22. Glaspey, Not a Tame Lion, pp. 210-11. 23. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 111. 24. Ibid., p. 109. 25. Ibid., p. 110. 26. Ibid. 27. Ibid., p. 111. 28. Lewis, The Great Divorce, p. 69. 29. C. S. Lewis, Christian Reflections (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1967), p. 14. 30. C. S. Lewis, as quoted in Glaspey, Not a Tame Lion, p. 213. 31. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 110. 32. Ibid. 33. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 6. 34. Ibid., p. 7.

P á g i n a | 45 35. Ibid., p. 8. 36. Ibid., p. 9. 37. Ibid., p. 8. 38. Ibid. 39. Ibid. 40. Ibid., p. 15. 41. Ibid., p. 29. 42. Ibid., p. 20. 43. Ibid., p. 22. 44. See ibid., pp. 29-30. 45. Ibid., pp. 25-26. 46. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 95. 47. See Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, p. 26. 48. Ibid., pp. 35-36. 49. Ibid., p. 26. 50. Glaspey, Not a Tame Lion, p. 205. 51. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, p. 127. 52. Ibid., p. 124. 53. Ibid., p. 47. 54. Ibid., p. 39. 55. Ibid., p. 28. 56. Ibid., p. 98. 57. Ibid., pp. 85-86. 58. Lewis, The Great Divorce, p. 71.

P á g i n a | 46 59. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, p. 38. 60. See Glaspey, Not a Tame Lion, p. 195. 61. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, p. 92. 62. Ibid., p. 38. 63. Ibid., p. 44.64. Ibid., p. 54. 65. See Glaspey, Not a Tame Lion, p. 166. 66. See ibid., p. 165. 67. C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1965), p. 3. 68. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 56. 69. Ibid., p. 126. 70. C. S. Lewis, as quoted in Glaspey, Not a Tame Lion, p. 189.

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4

C. S. LEWIS: Self Love and Salvation Daniel K Judd THROUGHOUT HISTORY THE LORD has entrusted men and women from a variety of religious backgrounds and diverse political and philosophical perspectives to accomplish His work. In a statement issued by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints in 1978 we read: “The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God’s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals. . . . We believe that God has given and will give to all peoples sufficient knowledge to help them on their way to eternal salvation.”1 In the Old Testament we read of the inspired leadership of Cyrus, King of Persia, who was not privileged to hold priesthood keys yet was directed by the Lord to assist the captive Jews in both returning to Jerusalem and rebuilding the holy temple. In the book of 2 Chronicles it states: “That the word of the Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying. . . . All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem” (36:22-23). While the restoration of the Jews to Israel and the rebuilding of the temple was accomplished under the Lord’s direction and through His authorized servants, the unendowed Cyrus was also an important part of the Lord’s plan.2 Even during our day—”the dispensation of the fulness of times” (D&C 112:30)—when the Lord has established His Church upon the earth in its fulness, the Lord continues to work through those who are not covenant members of the kingdom. Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Quorum of the Twelve stated that “perhaps the Lord needs such men on the outside of His Church to help it along.”3 Many of us who are Latter-day Saints bear testimony that “salvation in the world to come is dependent upon accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,”4 but we also know that the world has been greatly blessed by the lives of great men and women outside of the Church as well. One of the purposes of this volume (and the symposium that preceded it) is to honor just such an individual: Clive Staples Lewis. While the writings of C. S. Lewis have found acceptance and gained reputation among a wide variety of Christians, his popularity has not been gained by teaching “some new thing” (Acts 17:21) his success has come in making the “unknown God” (Acts 17:23) known to people like you and me. And as we can observe in Elder Maxwell’s essay in this volume, C. S. Lewis, like Cyrus of old, is assisting the prophets of our day in liberating modern Israel from spiritual Babylon.

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GIVE UP YOURSELF, AND YOU WILL FIND YOUR SELF While Professor Lewis’s writings contain a multitude of ideas that are expressive of Christian theology in general and Latter-day Saint doctrine in particular, one of the central themes of his writing is concerned with the place of “Self” in relation to God. In an age when “Self” has displaced God as the object of our devotion, Lewis’s writings on “Self” have served as a powerful and articulate second witness of the Lord’s admonition to place the will of God before our own. The Savior taught: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:2324; emphasis added). C. S. Lewis concludes Mere Christianity with the following admonition: Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.5 THREE KINDS OF MEN In an article entitled “Three Kinds of Men,” first published in London’s Sunday Times, C. S. Lewis described how many of us, while acknowledging the importance of our duty to serve God, equate our service to Him much like the paying of our taxes, for we hope that “what is left over will be enough for [us] to live on.”6 In other words, while recognizing the importance of the “will of God, the categorical imperative, or the good of society” 7 we want to serve God, the church, the community, or our families only as much as we absolutely have to—hoping there will be some time left for ourselves. While recognizing that those persons who are attempting to balance their needs with the will of God are at least attempting to be more virtuous than “those who live simply for their own sake and pleasure,”8 Professor Lewis’s “third kind of man” is a person whose life is, without exception, centered on Christ: “These people have got rid of the tiresome business of adjusting the rival claims of Self and God by the simple expedient of rejecting the claims of Self altogether. The old egoistic will has been turned round, reconditioned, and made into a new thing. The will of Christ no longer limits theirs; it is theirs. All their time, in belonging to Him, belongs also to them, for they are His.”9 Those familiar with Latter-day Saint theology will recognize Lewis’s “three kinds of men” (selfish, conflicted, and selfless) as being roughly compatible with the descriptions of the inhabitants of the “three degrees of glory” whose lifestyles are described in D&C 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants. While Lewis’s descriptions of the “three kinds of men” have to do with the moral conditions of mortal man and not his condition in the life to come, he argues for the superiority of a threefold judgment rather than seeing them only in the more traditional judgment of heaven or hell: “And because there are three classes, any merely

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twofold division of the world into good and bad is disastrous. It overlooks the fact that the members of the second class (to which most of us belong) are always and necessarily unhappy. The tax which moral conscience levies on our desires does not in fact leave us enough to live on. As long as we are in this class we must either feel guilt because we have not paid the tax or penury [impoverished] because we have.”10 C. S. Lewis teaches us that the only way through this apparent dilemma of guilt and exhaustion is to stop seeing life in terms of “Time for my Self” and “Time for God,” but to allow God’s will to become our own: “To become new men means losing what we now call ‘ourselves.’ Out of ourselves, into Christ, we must go. His will is to become ours and we are to think His thoughts, to ‘have the mind of Christ’ [1 Cor. 2:16]. . . . The more we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become.”11 While Lewis does provide some commentary on how one goes about making God’s will one’s own, it was his observation and experience that the obstacles, challenges, and disappointments of life are designed as invitations to help us comprehend the inadequacies of self and discover—sometimes in desperation—our dependence upon God: “The price of Christ is something, in a way, much easier than moral effort—it is to want Him. It is true that the wanting itself would be beyond our power but for one fact. The world is so built that, to help us desert our own satisfactions, they desert us. War and trouble and finally old age take from us one by one all those things that the natural Self hoped for at its setting out.”12 BECOMING WHO WE REALLY ARE While “losing one’s Self” is a central theme of C. S. Lewis’s writings, he is not calling for an annihilation of self. In fact, he reasons that giving ourselves to God is the only way we can come to discover who we really are: “Our real selves are all waiting for us in Him. The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and natural desires. . . . It is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to His Personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”13 THE GREAT SIN C. S. Lewis’s recognition of the legitimacy of a “self” that is grounded in Christ also comes with a warning: “The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first—wanting to be the centre—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race.”14 Perhaps the most meaningful counsel given in all of his writings is contained in Lewis’s warnings about pride: “The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”15

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On 30 January 1930 Lewis wrote to his friend Arthur Greeves and told him that though he felt he was being supported in overcoming anger and immorality, he was alarmed concerning his own pride. Lewis wrote: I have found out ludicrous and terrible things about my own character. Sitting by, watching the rising thoughts to break their necks as they pop up, one learns to know the sort of thoughts that do come. And, will you believe it, one out of every three is a thought of selfadmiration: when everything else fails, having had its neck broken, up comes the thought, ‘what an admirable fellow I am to have broken their necks!’ I catch myself posturing before the mirror, so to speak, all day long. I pretend I am carefully thinking out what to say to the next pupil (for his good, of course) and then suddenly realize I am really thinking how frightfully clever I’m going to be and how he will admire me. . . when you force yourself to stop it, you admire yourself for doing that. It’s like fighting the hydra. . . . There seems to be no end to it. Depth under depth of self-love and self-admiration. . . Pride. . . is the mother of all sins, and the original sin of Lucifer.16 Latter-day Saints will remember President Ezra Taft Benson’s landmark address entitled, “Beware of Pride,” wherein our dear prophet quoted C. S. Lewis in warning the membership of the Church concerning “the sin of pride.”17 Though President Benson and Professor Lewis both described the manifestation of pride where we look “down on things and people,”18 President Benson articulated another: “Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves. Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us (see 2 Ne. 9:42). There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up.”19 Lewis alluded to the bidirectional nature of pride when he taught that Satan always delivers heresy in pairs: “He always sends errors into the world in pairs—pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one.”20 Elder Dallin H. Oaks shares this challenging insight on “pride from the bottom looking up” in his life: A few months after my calling to the Council of the Twelve, I expressed my feelings of inadequacy to one of the senior members of my quorum. He responded with this mild reproof and challenging insight: “I suppose your feelings are understandable. But you should work for a condition where you will not be pre-occupied with yourself and your own feelings and can give your entire concern to others, to the work of the Lord in all the world.” Whenever we focus on ourselves, even in our service to others, we fall short of the example of our Savior, who gave himself as a total and unqualified sacrifice for all mankind. Those who seek to follow his example must lose themselves in their service to others.21

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Pride from the bottom looking up and the top looking down. Lewis taught that if we think ourselves not guilty of pride “it means [we] are very conceited indeed.” 22 Lewis further taught: “The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.”23 BE YE THEREFORE PERFECT Professor Lewis’s writings underscore the doctrine that God can do more with our lives than we can, but that in our giving up of self, with our grandiosity and/or our despair, our submission must be complete: Christ says “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.”24 Again, Lewis’s words are echoed by President Ezra Taft Benson: “Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life (see Matt. 10:39).”25 Not only does turning our agency over to God and living our lives “in Christ” (see 2 Cor. 1:21; Moro. 10:32-33) help us in living a more abundant life, but as President Benson taught, doing so is the essential key to eternal salvation as well. C. S. Lewis articulates a doctrine that is taught in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, that salvation is not a product of the goodness of self, but is completely based upon the righteousness of the Redeemer, even Christ the Lord. The Prophet Lehi taught his son Jacob: “Wherefore, thy soul shall be blessed, and thou shalt dwell safely with thy brother, Nephi; and thy days shall be spent in the service of thy God. Wherefore, I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer; for thou hast beheld that in the fulness of time he cometh to bring salvation unto men” (2 Ne. 2:3; emphasis added). Perhaps C. S. Lewis’s best example of mankind’s fallen nature and our inability to save ourselves is found in his classic illustration of “rats in the cellar:” When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected: I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. . . . Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best

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evidence for what sort of man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an illtempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. . . . Now that cellar is out of reach of my conscious will. I can to some extent control my acts: I have no direct control over my temperament. And if (as I said before) what we are matters even more than what we do—if indeed, what we do matters chiefly as evidence of what we are—then it follows that the change which I most need to undergo is a change that my own direct, voluntary efforts cannot bring about. . . . But I cannot, by direct moral effort, give myself new motives. After the first few steps in the Christian life we realise that everything which really needs to be done in our souls can be done only by God.26 This statement has had more influence on me and my own personal conversion to Christianity than anything else C. S. Lewis ever expressed. As a young missionary I once felt wearied by those of other faiths who continually wanted to discuss the grace of Christ. Invariably, these individuals would want to discuss the Apostle Paul’s teachings concerning grace found in the books of Ephesians and Romans; while my companions and I would counter their arguments by stressing the importance of works taught in the general epistle of James. We even had a name for our born-again Christian opponents—Gracers. Though some of these people had a distorted view of the doctrine of grace and believed that salvation would be theirs even if they were living lives full of sin, I have come to believe that many of them had a much more godly view of grace than did I. It was the writings of C. S. Lewis that first inspired me to more carefully read the Book of Mormon and come to a better understanding that my salvation is found, “in the righteousness of the Redeemer” (2 Ne. 2:3). C. S. Lewis commented on the works-versus-grace debate in the following: “Christians have often disputed as to whether what leads the Christian home is good actions, or Faith in Christ. I have no right really to speak on such a difficult question, but it does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary. A serious moral effort is the only thing that will bring you to the point where you throw up the sponge. Faith in Christ is the only thing to save you from despair at that point: and out of that Faith in Him good actions must inevitably come.”27 As the Apostle Paul recorded, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). As we live in Christ and allow Him to work within us we will eventually become like Him. Lewis clearly taught that this process of sanctification will eventually lead us to becoming like God: The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were “gods” and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or

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goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.28 How blessed we are that C. S. Lewis sought to understand, to live, and to teach what the Savior taught: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:23-24). While Professor Lewis believed that “self-renunciation is thought to be, and indeed is near the core of Christian ethics,”29 he understood that what was at the very core was Christ: “The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ.”30 Daniel K Judd is associate professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. He received his Ph.D. from BYU in counseling psychology, and is the author or editor of several publications, including Religion, Mental Health, and the Latter-day Saints. Notes 1. Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, and Marion G. Romney. Statement of the First Presidency regarding God’s love for all mankind, 15 February 1978. As found in James E. Faust, “Communion with the Holy Spirit,” Ensign, May 1980, p. 12. 2. See Ezra Taft Benson, “Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints,” Ensign, July 1972, p. 59; and History of the Church 4:257 for a more detailed Latter-day Saint commentary on the contributions of Cyrus the Great. 3. Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, April 1928, p. 59. 4. James E. Faust, “Communion with the Holy Spirit,” Ensign, May 1980, p. 12. 5. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 191. 6. C. S. Lewis, “Three Kinds of Men,” in W. Hooper (ed.), Present Concerns: Essays by C. S. Lewis (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986), p. 21. Originally found in The Sunday Times, no. 6258 (21 March 1943), p. 2. 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid., p. 2.

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11. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 189. 12. Lewis, “Three Kinds of Men,” in W. Hooper (ed.), Present Concerns: Essays by C. S. Lewis, p. 21. 13. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 190. 14. Ibid., pp. 53-54. 15. Ibid., pp. 109-10. 16. Roger L. Green and Walter Hooper, C. S. Lewis: A Biography (New York: Harcourt Brace), pp. 105-6. 17. Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989, p. 4. 18. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 111. 19. Benson, “Beware of Pride,” p. 5; emphasis added. 20. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 161. 21. Dallin H. Oaks, Pure in Heart (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988), p. 45. 22. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 114. 23. Ibid., p. 112. 24. Ibid., p. 169. 25. Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988), p. 361. 26. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 165-66. 27. Ibid., p. 131. 28. Ibid., p. 176. 29. C. S. Lewis, “Two Ways with the Self,” in Walter Hooper (ed.), God in The Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Erdmans, 1970), p. 193. 30. C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 25.

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C. S. LEWIS ON FAMILY AND SELF-DECEPTION Terrance D. Olson THE DOCTRINE OF SELF-DECEPTION is both illustrated and assumed in many scriptural incidents and is illustrated implicitly in the works of C. S. Lewis. I will identify two examples from Lewis’s work where certain kinds of human troubles qualify as incidents of self-deception. I will analyze these incidents with scriptural comments on the meaning of self-deception. My purpose is to show the harmony between Lewis’s work and the features of self-deception described in scriptural examples. The examples I present from Lewis and the scriptures also imply how destructive self-deceptions are to family relationships and verily to our eternal salvation. I also will summarize how to escape self-deception and the destructive consequences that attend it. Specifically, I will address four issues: what it means to be self-deceived, how those who are self-deceived experience life, how self-deception is presented in the scriptures, and the impact of self-deception on family relationships. WHAT IT MEANS TO BE SELF-DECEIVED In the seventh volume of C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, the heroine, Lucy, is on her way to meet Aslan, the Lion (the Savior figure in the allegory), because the forces of evil have been conquered. But she is concerned about the predicament of a band of Dwarfs. During the last battle, the Dwarfs had been only for themselves. Lucy convinces her friends to come and see the Dwarfs. She finds them on a beautiful day in the midst of sunshine, but in a very odd condition. As Lucy and her group approach, they see that the Dwarfs are sitting in a very close circle with their eyes closed tight. They take no notice of Lucy’s approach until she and King Tirian are quite near. Then, in the words of Lewis, “the Dwarfs all cocked their heads as if they couldn’t see anyone but were listening hard and trying to guess by the sound what was happening. “ ‘Look out!’ said one of them in a surly voice. ‘Mind where you’re going. Don’t walk into our faces!’ “ When asked if they are blind, the Dwarfs respond, “ ‘Ain’t we all blind in the dark!. . . . How in the name of Humbug can I see what ain’t there? And how can I see you any more than you can see me in this pitch darkness?’”1 It turns out that the Dwarfs think they are in a pitch-black, smelly stable. Lucy tries to get them to open their eyes. They insist they are not blind, but just in the dark, and that Lucy’s entreaties to get them to see they are in the midst of flowers and trees on a bright day are just attempts to trick them and make fools out of them. Even an offered flower is rejected as filthy stable litter.

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Then, in a bright flash, Aslan appears. After the Lion greets and praises his loyal subjects, Lucy approaches him: “‘Aslan,’ said Lucy through her tears, ‘could you—will you—do something for these poor Dwarfs?’ “‘Dearest,’ said, Aslan, ‘I will show you both what I can, and what I cannot, do.’ He came close to the Dwarfs and gave a long growl: low, but it set all the air shaking. But the Dwarfs said to one another, ‘Hear that? That’s the gang at the other end of the Stable. Trying to frighten us. They do it with a machine of some kind. Don’t take any notice. They won’t take us in again!’ “Aslan raised his head and shook his mane. Instantly a glorious feast appeared on the Dwarfs’ knees: pies and tongues and pigeons and trifles and ices. . . . But it wasn’t much use. They began eating and drinking greedily enough, but it was clear that they couldn’t taste it properly. They thought they were eating and drinking only the sort of things you might find in a Stable. “. . . But very soon every Dwarf began suspecting that every other Dwarf had found something nicer than he had, and they started grabbing and snatching, and went on to quarreling, till in a few minutes there was a free fight and all the good food was smeared on their faces and clothes or trodden under foot.” At the end of it all, the Dwarfs comforted each other with this telling testimony: “Well, at any rate there’s no Humbug here. We haven’t let anyone take us in. The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs.” And what is Aslan’s response to all this? He says, “You see, . . . They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.”2 HOW THOSE WHO ARE SELF-DECEIVED EXPERIENCE LIFE The significant meaning of the Dwarfs’ condition includes two truths. First, they are absolutely in the dark and absolutely deceived about where they are—about reality itself. Second, their blindness is of their own making. They are not imprisoned by anything other than their refusal to see; their refusal to open their eyes. Attempts to offer them knowledge, facts, evidence are dismissed. Attempts to entreat them with love are discounted and perverted in meaning. This is what it means to be self-deceived, according to C. S. Lewis. Have you ever had a friend who seeks help from you with a problem and then dismisses your suggestions as unrealistic? As he explains the problem to you, you see a simple and obvious solution and offer it. The friend looks at you as if you are from another planet (perhaps even Narnia), and says, “Haven’t you been listening to me? That won’t work because. . .” You then retreat, briefly, but another idea comes to mind which you think is a viable solution and so you make that suggestion. By now the friend regards you

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incredulously and, shaking his or her head, mutters, “You just don’t understand what I am up against or how deep the problem goes.” At this point perhaps you retreat, with a faint realization that your friend is more interested in being trapped in a problem than in acting on simple starting points or solutions to that problem. His behavior is one symptom of being self-deceived about the meaning of a situation, circumstance or experience he is in the midst of. It is as if he has been mentored by the Dwarfs. HOW SELF-DECEPTION IS PRESENTED IN THE SCRIPTURES The most explicit scriptural presentation of the idea of self-deception is in 1 Jn. 1. John begins by bearing witness of the Father and the Son and invites all to fellowship with the Lord. Then John pleads for obedience to the gospel, with an explanation of what disobedience produces. Verses four through ten are as follows: And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. This is a remarkable passage in that it describes the condition of sinners when claiming they are sinless. When people are walking in darkness, the truth is not in them; they do not the truth (emphasis mine). The only escape from this condition is to walk in the light, to follow the Savior. The doctrine here seems to be that in our disobedience we suffer a self-inflicted blindness to the truths we are rejecting. It is an illustration of the admonition, “What doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him and he receive not the gift?” (D&C 88:33). In fact, such a man doesn’t rejoice in the gift nor does he have any appreciation for the giver of the gift. When that gift is salvation, and the giver of the gift is the Savior, then he who rejects the gift indeed walks in darkness. C. S. Lewis illustrates the doctrine of self-deception with the situation of the Dwarfs. They refuse to receive the gift, even when it is offered by the ultimate gift-giver. They are blind and don’t know that they are. They have produced their own blindness and don’t know they are the cause of their lack of vision. They are so self-deceived that they don’t even believe

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the problem is that they are blind to the truth. The truth, in short, is not in them. They behave and live exactly as those do who “do not the truth.” In this self-inflicted condition, they cannot find the truth, no matter how “deeply” they might try to look to find it. They only see the truth falsely. This scriptural view of self-deception so well illustrated by Lewis challenges a popular notion of what is going on with someone who is “in sin.” We often hear it said of someone who is engaged in wrongdoing, “deep down, he knows what is right.” According to the doctrine of self-deception, no he doesn’t. According to John, if we profess Christ while resisting the light of Christ, “the truth is not in us” (1 Jn. 1:8). We are not “doing” the truth (v. 6). If we were doing the truth, or if the truth were in us, we would not be deceived. This is evidently because it is precisely the truth, the light and knowledge we have, which we, in our self-deception, are refusing to acknowledge. James supports this interpretation in his call to us to “receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save [our] souls” (James 1:21). He then issues a warning and explains the consequences of ignoring it: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. . . . If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (vv. 22-26). A classic mortal example of being self-deceived (as John describes it) is Korihor, that Book of Mormon walker in darkness who ridiculed the Savior and the Atonement; who rejected the greatest gift-giver and the greatest gift. Korihor’s condition was not just as a deceiver of the people. He was a self-deceiver. That is, he believed the lies he had been taught by Satan. He believed that the dark way offered by Satan was the way, because the truth was no longer in him. It is one thing to deceive another and supposedly know the truth. It is a more morally desperate situation to come to believe the lies you are living. As Terry Warner points out, there is a difference between telling a lie and living a lie. To live a lie is to be self-deceived. 3 Korihor lived the lie he taught. He was “sincere” in his belief, but his belief was a lie; his sincerity was a self-deception. Alma asks Korihor a question and then answers it himself. Alma testifies to Korihor about the reality of God and Christ: “But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true: and will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are true? “Behold, I know that thou believest, but thou art possessed with a lying spirit, and ye have put off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but the devil has power over you, and he doth carry you about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God” (Alma 30:41-42). Alma’s question and answer teach an important doctrine about how we can become selfdeceived. When we are possessed of a lying spirit, or that is to say when we have put off the

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Spirit of God, that it has no place in us, we become subject to the devil. We do help bring upon ourselves our belief in the lies. That is why our condition in sin is self-deception and not just bad perception or lack of knowledge. It is the knowledge we already have but are refusing to honor that leaves us in darkness, without truth in us, with no place for the Spirit of God in us, and where we do not the truth. If this were not the case, we could not be held accountable for our willful disobedience. In self-deception we are blind to the truth, but being self-deceived is produced in the first place by refusing to receive the greatest of all gifts from the greatest gift-giver. After having been struck dumb in response to his insistence on a sign, Korihor writes to the chief judge, “I know that nothing save it were the power of God could bring this upon me;” then he says something that seems to contradict Alma’s earlier testimony about the truth not being in Korihor. Korihor says, “And I always knew that there was a God” (Alma 30:52). But he follows this, regarding the lies Satan taught him, with the admission that “I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me” (Alma 30:53). So, significantly, Korihor could not see nor admit the truth of his false motives until after he had given up those motives. That is, while the truth was not in him, he could not “see the truth.” And the reason why he became blind to the truth was, in his own words, because, with a desire to please the carnal mind, he “withstood the truth.” This is an echo of the Dwarfs who squint their eyes tightly against the light so readily available and of the warnings of James and John regarding one’s own heart and walking in darkness. This is an illustration of the meaning and condition of those who are self-deceived that is consistent with the biblical scriptures and the Lewis example presented thus far. THE IMPACT OF SELF-DECEPTION ON FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS Lewis illustrates this theme of self-deception extensively in his work, and nowhere does he more explicitly show the implications of self-deception on family relationships than in The Great Divorce. In that book Lewis uses the device of a bus ride from hell to heaven to illustrate how people take with them, to new surroundings, who they are. On this trip to heaven—sort of a holiday for the damned4—Lewis boards the bus as unaware as everyone else of its destination. After some initial observations and wandering, Lewis ends up being escorted by a spirit resident. These spirit escorts are solid, in contrast to the bus visitors, who are virtually transparent ghosts. (Incidentally, Lewis’s escort is George MacDonald, complete with Scottish accent.) In a series of illustrative chapters, Lewis describes the various predicaments of the ghosts. What they have in common is no sensibility of where they are or of the fact that what they are clinging to regarding their pleasures, or their identities, or their reputations, is all foolishness in the face of what heaven can offer. It seems that the fate of the ghosts is in their own hands, yet they know it not. They take the temporary world they have lived in, which is actually hell, and make it reality. To do that is to eclipse the only true reality: heaven. The examples Lewis presents are prototypes of the condition of the Dwarfs in Narnia and of the scriptural descriptions of self-deception offered in James, John, and Alma. Typically, these deceptions include an inordinate concern for self and of being wrapped up in self-preservation.

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For example, a woman is incredulous to discover that her deceased husband, Robert, is in heaven. She presumes that the solid spirit escorting her is going to have her see him, though such an idea has not been proposed in any way by her escort. After a diatribe of complaints of how pitiful and selfish Robert was on earth, the ghost, who has been conducting a “dialogue of one,” asking and answering her own questions and then offering commentary after commentary on the pitifulness of her husband, abruptly announces: “I believe I have changed my mind. I’ll make them a fair offer. . . . I will not meet him, if it means just meeting him and no more. But if I’m given a free hand I’ll take charge of him again. I will take up my burden once more. But I must have a free hand. . . . He’s not fit to be on his own. Put me in charge of him. He wants firm handling. . . . I was only beginning [with him on earth]. . . . There’s lots, lots, lots of things I still want to do with him. . . . I’m so miserable. I must have someone to—to do things to.”5 At the heart of self-deception then is a view of others that renders them as things to be done unto. As more than one author has pointed out, we go astray when we begin to love things and use people instead of love people and use things. To love someone is to give up trying to use that person. To be united in a marriage relationship or to offer children wisdom and example requires love. It requires the self-forgetful love demonstrated by the Savior and called for by the prophets, and illustrated in simple ways by C. S. Lewis. Self-deception seems to be characterized by self-absorption, self-concern, self-pity, selfaggrandizement, self-centeredness. It is the pursuit of self as a substitute for bowing to the truth about ourselves that seems a constant feature of self-deception. And it is with this perverted focus on something called self that we blind ourselves to the solution to our troubles. Such oblivion to the way things really are may look like personality, or even just mistaken perception. But it is more likely to be symptoms of blindness born of resistance to the light. It is more likely to be the concoctions of a spirit whose way of being in the world is to resist the giving and receiving of love. When we misrepresent the way “things really are,” we are ruining relationships. It is likely a condition of the spirit, a self-deceptive condition produced by one’s refusal to love others as ourselves. At least that description would be consistent with Lewis’s presentation of a group of people living in ways that put them in hell, and, we assume, accountably so. What do we bring to our loved ones when we are self-deceived? Blindness, as that of the Dwarfs; resentment, as that of Korihor; self-centeredness, as that of the ghost demanding the return of her husband for more tinkering that only she can provide; and alienation and resentment over how we are treated, and feelings of not being appreciated, and even a sense of cynicism or despair. To be self-deceived is to be miserable. In the words of the philosopher Berkeley, “We raise the dust and then complain we can not see.” Whether we are Dwarfs who squint against the light, or spouses who busily carry out distorted missions with others, or are among those who qualify for the criticisms and warnings of James and John about doing not the truth, how are we to escape the blindness of self-deception? If it involves being blind to the truth and being blind to the fact that we are

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the source of our blindness—if, in other words, the truth is not in us—how are we to find it, or find our way to it? Features of Being Self-Deceived • Being blind to the truth • Being the source of that blindness • Being blind to being the source of that blindness • Deceiving one’s own heart • The truth is not in us A STARTING POINT FOR ESCAPING SELF-DECEPTION In The Great Divorce, Lewis offers hope in the form of losing self, that we may find ourselves. That includes giving up the idea that we have reputations, images, or embarrassments to nurture. It includes committing ourselves to the well-being of the people we love, rather than using them for our selfish purposes. One ghost, who is horrified at his own nakedness, is self-deceived about things eternal. The ghost sobs, “I wish I’d never been born, . . . What are we born for?” The answer offered by the spirit is “For infinite happiness,. . . you can step out into it at any moment.”6 The ghost’s response is classic selfdeception. “But . . .” and then, “I can’t, I just can’t.” 7 These refusals are followed by rationalizations and excuses and justifications so typical of those who are self-deceived. There is no question that without faith, without honoring whatever light we have been given, we do not see the infinite happiness, the simple possibilities, the realities of what life is like when we live in the truth, in the light, as compared to what life is like for us when we cling to the dark. But if we take the call of James and John seriously, and if we see the call of the solid spirits in The Great Divorce, we can escape self-deception if we will: confess our sins (see 1 Jn. 1:9), receive the word in meekness (see James 1:21), be doers of the word (see James 1:22), walk in the light (see 1 Jn. 1:7), and obey the commandments (see 1 Jn. 2:3). Specifically, John affirms that while our self-deception is an expression of walking in darkness—virtually in hell—alternatively, when “we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7).

Escaping Self-Deception • Confess our sins • Receive the word in meekness

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• Be doers of that word • Walk in the light • Obey the commandments Thus, escaping self-deception, we would truly be opening our eyes; we would abandon being manipulative of spouses; we would become self-forgetful; we would quit fighting against God and would receive in our hearts the assurance that the reality of the light is preferable to the burdens of darkness. It is the doctrine of James, John, and Alma; is illustrated in Narnia, in The Great Divorce, and in our own everyday experience. With so many witnesses, scripturally and practically, we are left without excuse. And what a blessing it is that we have the ability to give up our excuses, our blindness, and our self-deceptions! Terrance D. Olson is a professor of Family Science in the School of Family Studies at Brigham Young University. He received his Ph.D. from Florida State University, and is the author of several important publications on the family. Notes 1. C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle (New York: First Collier Books, 1970), p. 144. 2. Lewis, The Last Battle, pp. 146-48. 3. See C. Terry Warner, The Oxford Papers (Salt Lake City: Arbinger, 1997). 4. See C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 66. 5. Ibid., p. 87. 6. Ibid., p. 61. 7. Ibid., p. 62.

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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TEMPTATION IN PERELANDRA AND PARADISE LOST: What Lewis Learned from Milton John S. Tanner DURING THE LATE 1930s AND EARLY ‘40s C. S. Lewis composed a space trilogy set on Mars, Venus, and Earth, respectively. In the middle novel, Perelandra, he imagines a new myth of the Fall, only this time there is no Fall. Instead, through their obedience, Lewis’s primal pair achieve for themselves and their posterity a more glorious, exalted mode of life than the fallen existence occasioned by “Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit / Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste / Brought death into the world, and all our woe.”1 Perelandra thus works out an unfulfilled possibility hinted in Paradise Lost, which glimpses of what might have happened had our first parents been obedient. “If ye be found obedient, and retain / Unalterably firm his [God’s] love entire,”2 an angel tells Milton’s Adam and Eve: Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit, Improv’d by tract of time, and wing’d ascend Ethereal, as we, or may at choice Here [i.e., in Eden] or in Heav’nly Paradises dwell.3 Similarly Tor, Lewis’s Adam-figure, explains that, having not fallen, he and his regal consort, Tinidril, will “fill this world with our children,” “know this world to the centre,” “make the nobler beasts so wise that they will . . . speak,” and understand the “Deep Heaven” until, at last, “our bodies will be changed, but not all changed. We shall be as the eldila [angels], but not all as eldila. And so will all our sons and daughters.”4 Perelandra is an ingenious novel. Its most arresting feature lies in the subtle way it reimagines the Temptation. Lewis’s Eve-figure is a magnificent green lady who lives on floating islands on the planet Venus, a beautifully fluid world called Perelandra. Lewis devotes most of the novel to the Lady’s temptation, tracing her growth from a condition of immediacy to self-reflectiveness. Her maturation is modulated through an intricate series of psychological stages initiated by dialogues with two beings from earth: Ransom, a humanist professor like Lewis; and Weston (later called the Unman), an evil physicist whose body becomes demonically possessed. These figures become the Lady’s good and bad angels. Ransom attempts to defend the Lady, the Unman to tempt her. The Lady resists temptation, but is made “older” in the process and is worn down by it. In the end she must be rescued, which Ransom does by destroying the Unman.

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The novel imposes a delicate and difficult challenge for Lewis. He must accommodate the Lady’s increasing consciousness of evil, which seems to move her ever closer to transgression, without compromising her innocence. This is no easy task, but Lewis carries it off brilliantly. Lewis’s achievement may be appreciated by situating his novel in the critical controversy over the way Milton motivates the Fall. Placing Perelandra in the context of this critical crux in Paradise Lost highlights the novel’s theological and artistic ingenuity. It also reminds us that in Perelandra Lewis works within a literary and philosophical tradition stretching from early church fathers like Augustine to contemporary Christian philosophers like Paul Ricouer.5 In this paper I will show how Lewis develops sophisticated solutions to the problem of how a sinless being could be tempted and fall without having been created evil—a problem that perplexed not only Milton and Lewis but also Christian thinkers through the ages. The crux in Milton criticism that illuminates Perelandra is known as the problem of a fall before the Fall. This controversy heated up shortly after Lewis published, in rapid succession, A Preface to Paradise Lost and Perelandra. In the mid-forties, critics began to take Milton to task for the way he makes the Fall seem plausible by inventing a series of preliminary events foreshadowing it—such as when, Narcissuslike, Eve admires her beauty in a pool;6 or when she dreams about eating the forbidden fruit; 7 or when she insists on working alone as a way of asserting her independence.8 There was no way for Milton of making the transition from sinlessness to sin perfectly intelligible, according to E. M. W. Tillyard: “Under the terms of the story these two realms must be separated by a definite and dimensionless frontier: there cannot be a no-man’s-land between.” Therefore Milton “resorts to some faking. . . . He anticipates the fall by attributing to Eve and Adam feelings which, though nominally felt in the state of innocence, are not actually compatible with it.” 9 Milton’s critics charge that to make the transgression seem credible, the poet surreptitiously introduces fallen motives into Adam and Eve before they fall. As A. J. A. Waldock observes in a book aimed largely against Lewis’s reading of Milton, “It is obvious that Adam and Eve must already have contracted human weakness before they can start on a course of conduct that leads to their fall: to put it another way, they must already be fallen (technically) before they can begin to fall.”10 Such remarks fueled a critical controversy over the poem’s account of prelapsarian psychology. For some, the literary task of rendering the Temptation psychologically plausible seemed insuperable. Thus writes Millicent Bell: The temptation, [is] an event which could not understandably occur before the Fall, an event which must actually be explained by motivations characteristic of men as we find them now —ambition, curiosity, vanity, gluttony or lust. It is a bridge built of the material of fallen human nature, that is, from the substance of only one bank of the chasm, the one nearer us. From the farther bank, the anterior condition of unfallen perfection, the bridge takes nothing at all. For there is nothing in the Paradisal state that can furnish cause for man’s lapse from perfection.11 Indeed? I believe—and have argued at length elsewhere—that the way Milton motivates the Fall largely escapes his critics’ censure of faking.12 The same is true, a fortiori, for Lewis, whose intricate account of temptation in Perelandra surely supplies plausible causes which could lead to a lapse but which are compatible with perfection, as well as human

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“motivations characteristic of men as we find them now” which are precarious but blameless. Indeed, I suspect that it was from Milton that Lewis learned how to think about unfallen motives for evil and indeterminate causes of sin. By this, I do not intend to imply that in Perelandra Lewis deliberately sets out to respond to the critical controversy over a fall before the Fall in Paradise Lost, a skirmish in the Milton controversy that largely postdates the publication of both Perelandra and A Preface to Paradise Lost.13 But I do wish to argue that Lewis’s meticulous depiction of the Green Lady’s growth is deeply informed by Milton’s imagination of Eden. Perelandra both adapts and refines what he learned from Paradise Lost about the psychology of temptation in an innocent mind and, in the process, addresses the very questions that would soon preoccupy Milton criticism. To support these assertions, let me turn again to the novel and focus on three Miltonic elements in Perelandra: (1) fallen language, (2) the “alongside” or self-reflection, and (3) the “might be.” Other commentators have identified many more similarities between Perelandra and Paradise Lost than these, but none has focused in detail on how Milton helped Lewis conceptualize an innocent psychology of temptation, which I regard as the principle Miltonic legacy in the novel, as well as its preeminent literary achievement.14 1. LANGUAGE: “WHATE’ER DEATH IS” How does an innocent being, having no experience of evil, understand the fallen realities expressed in language about evil? This is a dimension of unfallen consciousness that intrigued both Milton and Lewis. It is a problem that is implicit but inconspicuous in Genesis, explicit but unobtrusive in Paradise Lost, and central in Perelandra. In the Bible, God couples the prohibition with a threat. He warns Adam, “Thou shalt not eat of [the fruit]: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). But the punishment alludes to a reality beyond Adam’s ken. For what can “die” mean to Adam in a garden where there is no death? The dread voice of prohibition introduces an alien word, which presumably communicates the notion of something fearful, without imparting the full understanding of death as a concrete reality. It raises the specter of a fearful future, which momentarily disturbs Adam’s and Eve’s blissful existence and points to dreadful but unimaginable potentialities. The same could be said of the name of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Deposited in the name is a distinction between good and evil whose full significance awaits the transgression. Milton highlights these linguistic dilemmas implicit in Genesis by greatly multiplying the number both of the fallen realities brought to the attention of unfallen Adam and Eve and of the voices which warn them. Milton’s Adam and Eve hear not only about death but also about a rebellious angel’s pride and envy and hate; about a war in heaven; and about their own potential to disobey. And their garden is full of warning voices of God and an angel. All this knowledge, however, remains somehow distant and alien to unfallen mankind. Abstract knowledge of evil remains enveloped by Adam and Eve’s existential ignorance of its reality.

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Milton makes this point memorably when his Adam attempts to explain the prohibition to Eve. Repeating God’s interdiction, Adam tells Eve that they may eat of all the Trees In Paradise that bear delicious fruit So various, not to taste that only Tree Of Knowledge, planted by the Tree of Life, So near grows Death to Life, whate’er Death is, Some dreadful thing no doubt.15 Adam’s aside, “whate’er death is,” speaks volumes. The aside reminds us, as readers, that unfallen beings may wield words of woe which they do not fully grasp. A Milton critic illustrates Adam’s predicament as follows: “To understand the full impact of what God has imposed upon Adam, we might render the situation in the following terms: Do not touch the tip of-your left ear with your right forefinger, or else you will squibbledydib. Our response, like Adam’s, would appropriately be, ‘whate’er squibbledydib is, / Some dreadful thing no doubt.’”16 Similarly, Kierkegaard observes that “death” does not have concrete meaning for Adam, but merely imparts a “notion of the terrifying.” Thus unfallen Adam and Eve employ a lexicon that they cannot fully fathom. To be sure, they can speak of death and of a tree whose name figures forth the knowledge of good and evil. Yet, “from the fact that Adam was able to talk [about death and evil], it does not follow in a deeper sense he was able to understand what he said.”17 The full significance of these realities are not available to Adam and Eve until after they fall. Lewis, too, is fascinated by the problem of how an innocent being apprehends the alien reality of evil. Indeed, this is a major motif in Perelandra, much more so than in Paradise Lost. The Green Lady is constantly puzzled by words which refer to concepts outside of her experience. Indeed, one of the charms of the trilogy is watching Ransom, who like Lewis has a gift for metaphor, translate the fallen condition into language that unfallen beings on Mars and Venus can understand. My favorite metaphors are “bent” to describe evil and “old” to describe how the Lady feels every time she gains new understanding. Ransom must constantly respond to language questions from the Lady such as these: “What is peace?” “What is home?” “What is alone?” and “What is dead?”18 After Ransom explains death the woman says, “I wonder if you were sent here to teach us death.”19 Each new word that Ransom explains widens her world and makes the Lady older. It also, ironically, prepares her for temptation. As soon as Weston (or the Unman) arrives on Perelandra, he exploits the Lady’s growing knowledge to fix her mind on the alien possibility of transgression. Weston hammers on strange new words, filling them with halfapprehended content: “some meaning for the words Death and Sorrow—though what kind of meaning Ransom could not even guess—was apparently being created in [the Lady’s] mind by mere repetition.”20 Thus, like Milton’s Adam and Eve, the Green Lady comes to both know yet not fully understand fallen realities. These realities portend strange

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possibilities, which suffuse Lewis’s paradise, like Milton’s Eden, with anxiety and seem to move the protagonists ever closer to the brink. As the narrator observes when Ransom skins his knee, “This led him to try to explain to her what was meant by pain, which only made her more anxious to try the experiment.”21 This remark echoes a deep irony about the psychology of temptation that Lewis may have learned from Milton. In Paradise Lost, God sends his archangel Raphael to warn Adam and Eve of their danger. But the more Adam and Eve are warned, the more concrete sin becomes and, consequently, the nearer (rather than further) they seem to danger. Thus Raphael functions much like Ransom: both unwittingly nudge innocent beings away from blissful ignorance by warning them about sin, which becomes an increasingly concrete and alluring possibility the more it is forbidden. This irony may remind LDS readers of Elder Boyd K. Packer’s counsel against going into explicit details about what not to do when one teaches the law of chastity. As Elder Packer observes, telling the child not to go into the pantry and put a bean up his nose increases, rather than decreases, the likelihood of such behavior. 22 Likewise, by the time Raphael leaves Eden, paradise brims with anxiety. Food, knowledge, love, and freedom have all been singled out as sites of possible danger, whereas before that they were simply aspects of immediate pleasure in Eden. Similarly, by the time the Unman arrives on Perelandra, the Lady is more susceptible to temptation than she was previously, owing, ironically, to the admonition against sin Ransom had given her. THE ALONGSIDE: “WHAT THERE THOU SEEST, FAIRE CREATURE, IS THYSELF” When Ransom first meets the Green Lady, she abides in a state of blissful immediacy. Her face is human, but “unearthly, despite the full humanity of every feature.”23 Ransom inaugurates her into a more human mode of existence by introducing her to what Lewis calls the “alongside.”24 This wonderful metaphor for self-consciousness describes our fundamental capacity for stepping outside ourselves and “looking before and after,”25 which perhaps best defines what separates human from animal consciousness. In their first extended dialogue, Ransom says something that causes the Lady to think in an entirely new way—self-reflectively. “I see that you come from a wise world,” says the Lady to Ransom, “if this is wise. I have never done it before—stepping out of life into the Alongside and looking at oneself living as if one were not alive. Do they all do that in your world, Piebald?”26 Ransom thus sets the Lady’s foot on the path of self-reflectiveness. It is a path that can lead to much mischief—such as narcissism, hypocrisy, and pride. Yet it is also an enabling condition of freedom. This paradox is developed by both Milton and Lewis. Milton describes a similar movement from immediacy to self-reflection for Adam and, more ominously, for Eve. Adam’s self-reflection is described largely in terms of a growing sense of his own condition and how it compares to the rest of creation. When he awakes from creation he says, “I move and live, / And feel that I am happier than I know.” 27 Subsequently, he comes to know his blessed condition. At the same time, he also comes to use his capacity for ratiocination to justify disobedience.28

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A growing sense of the “alongside” is an even more conspicuous element in Eve’s maturation. In an episode that surely influenced Lewis’s characterization of the Green Lady, Milton descibes Eve’s first moments of self-consciousness in terms that recall the myth of Narcissus. Eve sees her reflected image in a pool, admires her beauty, and is tempted to prefer her “wat’ry image” over the companionship of Adam.29 This episode recalls the mirror scene in Perelandra in which the Unman exploits the Lady’s newfound ability to enjoy the “alongside” to tempt her to vanity. He offers her a mirror, and tempts her to indulge in self-love: “We call this thing a mirror. A man can love himself, and be together with himself. That is what it means to be a man or a woman—to walk alongside oneself as if one were a second person and to delight in one’s own beauty. Mirrors are made to teach us this art.”30 The mirror temptation is followed by the temptation to indulge in a “dramatic conception of the self”31—both episodes enact temptations made possible by our capacity for the “alongside.” The Unman knows that if he can encourage theatrical self-regard, he might be able to induce the Lady to think of herself as a tragic figure. This, in turn, could be used to get her to disobey Maledil (God) out of a false sense of self-sacrifice, or out of an inflated view of injured merit. And in fact the Lady begins to indulge in precisely such theatrical self-regard. She begins to relate to her own emotions histrionically; she begins to assume, “however slight,” the hint “of a role.” Like Eve at the pool, the Green Lady is not fallen, but her characterization is touched by the tincture of self-regard which has the potential of turning into vanity. To engage “alongside” self-consciousness, whether by means of a mirror or by indulging in role playing, is not per se evil. The Lady is not sinfully vain or hypocritical any more than is Milton’s Eve. It is no sin to admire beauty or to be curious about one’s appearance. But these are modes of self-reflection that can be exploited for baleful ends. We fear this outcome in Perelandra, and see it fulfilled in Paradise Lost when Milton’s Eve at last succumbs to sin. At this moment she acquires the sort of theatrical self that the Unman was trying to induce in the Lady. Eve’s first speech after her transgression contains a newly theatrical mode of self-reflection: “But unto Adam, in what sort / Shall I appear?”32 For the first time her self-reflection is about masks and specifically is born of a desire to manipulate Adam’s reactions. Similarly, Eve’s fallen speeches are highly theatrical; the narrator signaled this by introducing them using the language of stage directions like “prologue,” “apology,” and “prompt.”33 Furthermore, Eve conceives herself and Adam as noble victims caught up in a fateful tragedy—very much the way the Unman wanted the Green Lady to think of herself. In short, fallen Eve becomes a hypocrite—a word that etymologically derives from the notion of an actor’s mask. In so presenting Eve, Milton reveals sinful possibilities of “the alongside,” possibilities that Lewis recognizes pose a clear danger to the Lady, even though they define an aspect of human consciousness that separates rational beings from the beasts.

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THE MIGHT BE: “EVIL INTO THE MIND. . . UNAPPROV’D” The “alongside” serves as a metaphor for self-reflection. Related to this is the novel’s metaphor for freedom: the “might be.” Ransom inaugurates the Lady’s consciousness of her own freedom by teaching her that she has a choice whether or not to obey Maledil’s prohibition not to sleep on fixed land. To which she says: “When will this end? . . . . I have grown so old in these last few hours that all my life before seems only like the stem of a tree, and now I am like the branches shooting out in every direction. They are getting so wide apart that I can hardly bear it. . . . To have learned that I walk from good to good with my own feet.”34 Subsequently, the Unman teaches the Lady to nurture thoughts of her own freedom, for God “has not forbidden you to think about dwelling on the Fixed Land.” In fact, he continues, perhaps God has forbidden one thing “so that you may have a Might Be to think about.” This expands the Lady’s world even wider: “This is more than I ever thought of. The other [i.e., Ransom] . . . has already told me things which made me feel like a tree whose branches were growing wider and wider apart. But this goes beyond all. Stepping out of what is into what might be and talking and making things out there . . . alongside the world. I will ask the King what he thinks of it.35 As the temptation progresses, the “might be” looms larger and larger in the Lady’s imagination, to the point that Lewis says she begins to “fondle the idea of disobedience.” 36 She is not yet (or ever) fallen, Lewis insists, but certainly she is teetering on the brink, which deeply worries Ransom: “What made him feel sure that the dangerous element was growing [in the Lady] was her progressive disregard of the plain intellectual bones of the problem. It became harder to recall her mind to the data—a command from Maledil. . . . She was still in her innocence. No evil intention had been formed in her mind. But if the will was uncorrupted, half her imagination was already filled with bright, poisonous shapes.”37 Lewis’s conception of the “might be” is surely drawn from Milton’s portrait of Eve, most notably from her anxiety dream. In a demonically inspired dream, Eve imagines a story of what might be if she violates the taboo.38 It is a thrilling fantasy, but also one of chilling horror to Eve. And the dream leads to something like remorse, as Eve sheds a tear from each eye because she “fear’d to have offended.”39 Yet what she feels cannot, technically, be remorse because she has not sinned. Thus Adam assures her that “evil into the mind of God or Man / May come and go, so unapprov’d, and leave / No spot of blame behind.” 40 This passage draws on the same distinction between the imagination and the will that Lewis exploits above: Even though the Lady’s “imagination was already filled with bright, poisonous shapes,” she was still innocent because “her will was uncorrupted”; “no evil intention had been formed in her mind.”41 Milton’s Eve, like Lewis’s Lady, is fascinated by the seductive allure of the taboo—by the “might be.” As her tempter says in the dream, the fruit is “Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt, / Forbidd’n here.”42 Eve experiences the same fascination with the forbidden in the actual temptation. Nonetheless, we also are told that she remains “yet sinless” through it all.43 Likewise, Lewis says of the Green Lady just before Ransom

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resolves that “this can’t go on” and decides to rescue her by force, “Up to this point the Lady had repelled her assailant. She was shaken and weary, and there were some stains perhaps in her imagination, but she had stood.”44 Lewis then remarks that the events had cast Ransom beyond anything he knew from the Bible: “In this respect the story already differed from anything that [Ransom] certainly knew about the mother of our own race. He did not know whether Eve had resisted at all, or if so, for how long.” Nor did he know if he should attempt to stop the temptation by force: this, too, “was a problem to which the terrestrial Fall offered no clue.” 45 Ransom was in the dark about these matters. But Lewis assuredly was not. He knew that the Lady’s soul on the brink of her rescue—innocent yet gripped by growing anxiety—closely resembled that of Milton’s Eve, just as he knew from Milton something of the psychology of temptation that led the Lady to this predicament. Likewise, Lewis doubtless knew that Milton adumbrated how the story might have been different had Adam and Eve not fallen. He knew these things because he was a student not only of the Bible but of Paradise Lost, having just published a booklength commentary on Milton’s great epic retelling of the Fall. Clearly Lewis adapted Milton to compose his own version of the Temptation, which he called Perelandra. He might, however, in tribute to Milton have added a subtitle: “Paradise Not Lost,” or “Paradise Retained.”46 John S. Tanner is a professor and chair of the Department of English at Brigham Young University. A former vice president of the university, he is the author of numerous publications, and a well-recognized scholar on the life and thought of John Milton. Notes 1. John Milton, Paradise Lost, 1.1-3. All citations to Paradise Lost are to John Milton: Complete Poems and Major Prose, ed. Merritt Y. Hughes (New York: Odyssey, 1957). Hereafter abbreviated as PL. 2. PL 5:501-2. 3. Ibid., 5.497-500. Cf. PL 7:157-61. For a discussion on how Milton envisages the possibility of growth had Adam and Eve not fallen, see Dennis Danielson’s chapter on “soul-making,” esp. pp. 177-79, in Milton’s Good God: A Study in Literary Theodicy (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1982). 4. C. S. Lewis, Perelandra, p. 211. All citations to Perelandra are made to the Scribner Paperback edition (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996). 5. See, for example, Augustine’s The City of God, Book XIV, chs. 10-13; and Ricoeur’s The Symbolism of Evil, Part II, ch. 3, esp. D&C 2 and 3. 6. See PL, 4.449 ff. 7. Ibid., 5.28 ff.

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8. Ibid., 9.205 ff. For a summary of the critical controversy over the fall before the Fall in Paradise Lost, see ch. 2 of my book Anxiety in Eden (New York: Oxford UP, 1992), esp. pp. 19-28. 9. E. M. W. Tillyard, Studies in Milton (London: Chatto & Windus, 1951), pp. 10-11. (This is the same Tillyard with whom Lewis crossed swords in The Personal Heresy.) 10. A. J. A. Waldock, Paradise Lost and Its Critics (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1966), p. 61. 11. Millicent Bell, “The Fallacy of the Fall in Paradise Lost,” PMLA 68 (1953): 863. 12. See Anxiety in Eden, esp. chs. 3, 4, 5. 13. For a discussion of C. S. Lewis’s relationship to the Milton controversy, see the bibliographic essay by Sam McBride: “C. S. Lewis’s A Preface to Paradise Lost, the Milton Controversy and Lewis Scholarship,” 52:4 Bulletin of Bibliography (1995): 317-31. 14. The two critics who have explored most extensively possible connections between Perelandra and Paradise Lost are Margaret P. Hannay, “A Preface to Perelandra,” The Longing for Form: Essays on the Fiction of C. S. Lewis, ed. Peter J. Schakel (Ohio: Kent State UP, 1977), 73-90; and Inger Christensen, “‘Thy Great Deliverer’: Christian Hero and Epic Convention in John Milton’s Paradise Lost and C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra,” Excursions in Fiction: Essays in Honour of Lars Harveit on His 70th Birthday (Oslo: Novus Press, 1994) pp. 68-88. 15. PL 4.421-26. 16. Michael Lieb, “Paradise Lost and the Myth of Prohibition,” Milton Studies 23 (1987): 242. 17. See Kierkegoard, The Concept of Anxiety, trans. Reidar Thomte and Albert B. Anderson (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1980), p. 45. 18. See Perelandra, pp. 57-67. 19. Ibid., p. 67. 20. Ibid., p. 125. 21. Ibid., p. 80. 22. Boyd K. Packer, “Solving Emotional Problems in the Lord’s Own Way,” Ensign, May 1978, p. 93. 23. Perelandra, p. 56.

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24. Ibid., p. 60. 25. Hamlet 4.4.37. 26. Perelandra, p. 60. 27. PL 8.281-82. 28. Cf. PL 9.896 ff. 29. See PL 4.449 ff. 30. Perelandra, p. 137. 31. Ibid., p. 139. 32. PL 9.816-17. 33. Ibid., 9.853-54. 34. Perelandra, p. 75. 35. Ibid., p. 104. 36. Ibid., p. 131. 37. Ibid., pp. 133-34. 38. PL 5.28-93. 39. Ibid., 5.135. 40. Ibid., 5.117-19. 41. Perelandra, p. 134. 42. PL 5.68-69. 43. Ibid., 9.659. 44. Perelandra, p. 145. 45. Ibid. 46. McBride suggests these titles for the novel (in C. S. Lewis’s A Preface to Paradise Lost, the Milton Controversy and Lewis Scholarship, p. 328). He also notes Robert Boenig’s

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similarly whimsical suggestion that Perelandra could have been titled “What Lewis Really Did to Milton” (p. 331).

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7

C. S. LEWIS AND THE ROMANTIC DECADE Paul E. Kerry I WANT YOU TO FACE CERTAIN questions that Lewis tried to answer in his creative writing up until the publication of The Great Divorce: A Dream (1945). In this story the protagonist has, revealingly, a dream in which he learns that heaven and hell are completely divorced. With this thesis Lewis overcomes Blake’s “Marriage of Heaven and Hell” and presents us, and himself (for the protagonist does have a bit of a biography interwoven) with the Kierkegaardian “Either-Or.” Indeed, he writes in the preface, “If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven, we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.” 1 The main figure in The Great Divorce has a mentor who, like Beatrice in Dante’s Divine Comedy or, to a lesser extent, Gretchen in Goethe’s Faust, serves to guide him to heaven. This guide is George MacDonald (1824-1905), a Scottish writer who significantly influenced Lewis with his work Phantastes (1858), a book that Lewis asserts baptized his imagination. 2 MacDonald was in turn directly indebted to the Early German Romantic poet, Friedrich von Hardenburg, better known as Novalis.3 The Great Divorce marks the end of Lewis’s quest, or, more softly said, his experiment in literature to discover a third option, another way, if not to heaven, at least a bypass of hell. Do not confuse what I am saying with his fantasy literature, his children’s literature, or even his sharing the Tolkeinian idea of a “subcreation,”4 or what M. H. Abrams calls a “heterocosm,” the other world that literature provides. Indeed, it may be said that Lewis, with Novalis, held that “poetry is creation.”5 Even a quick read through Lewis’s brilliant and mature essay “An Experiment in Criticism,” published in 1961, reveals that Lewis continued to hold literature as a medium to another world, an ability to enter into the world of others. 6 Or, as Novalis wrote, “Poetry dissolves alien existence into one’s own.”7 Interestingly, the glimmers of this approach to Lewis’s literary criticism already appear in his essay “The Personal Heresy: A Controversy,” jointly authored with Cambridge critic E. M. W. Tillyard and published in 1939. The third option, the way that lured Lewis in his earliest poetic work, is Romanticism. What did Romanticism mean to C. S. Lewis? In 1933 he published a book that he had dashed off in two weeks while vacationing in Ireland; it was the literary prelude to his autobiographical conversion story that he would detail twenty years later in 1955 in Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. This exceptional and compelling personal account, written many years after his conversion, has come to dominate the way many Lewis readers understand Romanticism, that is, a longing which is in itself a kind of joy. Yet the hurriedly scribbled literary account of his conversion, written as it were in the wake of battle—The Pilgrim’s Regress—shines a brighter light on Lewis’s intellectual preoccupations during the early 1930s than does any other book. Telling is the oft-forgotten subtitle, “An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism.” As to allegory, Lewis was keenly

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interested in it, himself an admirer of Bunyan’s famed The Pilgrim’s Progress, upon which Lewis modeled his own story. Furthermore, at the time he was writing The Pilgrim’s Regress he was in the midst of completing an important academic book on the Middle Ages, The Allegory of Love, published just three years later in 1936. Moreover, in 1938 Lewis would publish the first installment of his semi-allegorical science fiction trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet. It is the decade of the 1930s, then, that may be named “The Romantic Decade.” The intriguing part of the subtitle, “An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism,” is the bit about Romanticism. Others felt intrigued—actually confused—so Lewis included a decade later, in the 1944 edition of the book, a preface expressing his apologies for using the term and another twelve pages trying to define exactly what he meant by it. Such difficulty with a concept was a rarity for Lewis, whose later career reflects a tremendous sensitivity and exactness with words and concepts, as evidenced in his Studies in Words (1960), a book published after he had become the Professor of Renaissance and Medieval Literature at Cambridge University. Making matters more complicated, two years before the explanatory 1944 edition of The Pilgrim’s Regress Lewis had written his A Preface to Paradise Lost, in which conventional Romanticism, as it was understood at the time, receives somewhat of a black eye. Lewis writes of romantic primitivism8 and the rebellion and pride of the romantic age,9 and he impugns romantic manipulation of emotions as against true poetic sincerity.10 Nevertheless, he defends certain romantic literary conventions against Eliot’s “mud on rubberoid” approach.11 But the preface to the 1944 edition of The Pilgrim’s Regress features Lewis’s most extended treatment of what he means by Romanticism. And, in typical Lewis fashion, he begins by telling us what Romanticism does not mean to him: 1. It is not exclusively romantic love, though desire and passion are important. 2. It is not a nostalgic re-presentation of the Middle Ages a la neo-gothic architecture or Sir Walter Scott or even titanic adventure stories. 3. It is not solipsism or Weltschmerz of the kind suffered by Werther, in Goethe’s bestselling novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. 4. Neither is it hubris, rebellion, or a revolt against civilization. 5. And it is not hypersensitivity to sublime scenes in nature, although nature can be a doorway to Lewis’s Romanticism. Rather, for Lewis, Romanticism is what the German Romantics called—and Lewis explicitly uses the German word—Sehnsucht, a special kind of longing. In a 1950 preface to a verse story he wrote in 1926 called “Dymer,” Lewis describes it thus: “From at least the age of six romantic longing—Sehnsucht—had played an unusually central part in my

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experience. Such longing is in itself the very reverse of wishful thinking: it is more like thoughtful wishing.”12 As a youth, Lewis read Maeterlinck, Yeats, and Goethe, all poets of the Romantic Age. He knew his Wordsworth and Coleridge (the expositors of English Romanticism since their publication of Lyrical Ballads in 1798) and wrote a poem defending them against modern criticism.13 Lewis also wrote articles rehabilitating Shelley and William Morris as Romantic poets.14 As stated earlier, Lewis loved and revered George MacDonald, and MacDonald was influenced by Novalis. Novalis was a member of the early German Romantic Movement active in Jena from about 1798 to 1804. He is perhaps most recognized for his development of the Blaue Blume symbol. The Blaue Blume, a precious blue flower that one may see with the eye of imagination yet never attain, occurs in Novalis’s novel, Heinrich von Ofterdingen (1802); Lewis actually cites the term Blue Flower in his afterword to the third edition of The Pilgrim’s Regress. It is the quintessential symbol of Sehnsucht. Lewis’s Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (1955), a very late piece, is well written, and the narrative has but one overarching goal—to show how he came to accept that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Although Lewis’s descriptions of each step he takes towards Christianity and each station he passes through enthrall, the knowledge of What is coming inevitably, inexorably comfort and confirm the reader. Lewis may have been surprised by Joy, but the readers are not, for in this particular human drama, written retrospectively with the sure and skilled hand of an Oxford don, we know the end from the beginning. The delight in reading Surprised by Joy is akin to the challenge of putting a puzzle together after we have the picture of it in completed form on the front cover of the puzzle box. There is a certain security that every piece will fit, that every element no matter how incongruous will dovetail ultimately with the whole. Yet conversion is a very delicate process. Surprised by Joy, then, ends at the beginning of Lewis’s conscious acceptance of the Father and the Son, between 1929 and 1931. I believe we can come to understand the struggles of the conversion of Clive Staples Lewis better by exploring three narrative poems, nearly the first poetic works of Lewis’s creative oeuvre, written precisely during this crucial period of Lewis’s conversion. Lewis did not publish these poems during his lifetime. Fortunately they escaped the fire, and Walter Hooper, his personal secretary, was able to edit a posthumous edition of the narrative poetry in 1969. One reason why Lewis was reticent to publish these poems is revealed in A Preface to Paradise Lost. There, Lewis declares his belief that narrative poetry was no longer accessible to the modern reader.15 The modern reader, holds Lewis, waits for the immediate impact of a poem, the cute rhyme, or the clever play on words, usually within the first few stanzas. Lewis maintains that narrative poetry spreads its effects in a cumulative way and demands engaged and sustained reading. A second reason for Lewis’s reluctance to publish these works may reside in the fact that they were written during this intense period of spiritual transition and they expose a Lewis who has not yet found the mature, insightful, and encouraging voice of the radio broadcasts that would later bolster the faith of his fellow citizens during the Blitz.16

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Launcelot was written in the 1930s. In a way, this narrative poem is precisely what Lewis rejects in his later definition of Romanticism: it utilizes some rather worn cliches. It also reflects the dark side of Romanticism: King Arthur is weary and aged; the Queen is described as haggard; the knights of the Round Table, returning from an unsuccessful quest to find the grail, are retiring. These are not the halcyon days of Camelot, but the decline and long moan of the Age of Chivalry. We find Launcelot the last and most recently returned knight of the grail quest, narrating to the weeping queen he no longer loves what befell him as he sought the grail. On one occasion, in a hot and humid land, he had discovered a bed of flowers at the foot of a shrine, and there a beautiful damsel called out to him: ‘Here, when the Wasted Country is no longer dry, The three best knights of Christendom shall come to lie.’ Launcelot remembers often to have heard them named And guesses who is one of them: so half ashamed, He asks her, with his eyes cast down, ‘What knights are these?’ And waits; and then lifts up his eyes again, and sees No lady there: an empty shrine, and on the grass No print of foot, where in grey dew the blackbirds pass. Then came on high a disembodied voice and gave Solitude tongue. ‘A grave for Bord,’ it cried, ‘A grave for Percivale, a grave for Galahad: but not For the Knight recreant of the Lake, for Launcelot!’ (Lines 205-16)17 Disturbed, but unable to investigate, Launcelot rides further. By and by the weary knight meets a woman riding on a mule, who presents herself as The Queen of Castle Mortal. Launcelot thinks to recognize a glimmer of Morgan the Enchantress in her or perhaps Guinever but he, tired and hungry, cannot tell. She offers him lodgings for the night. They change into soft evening clothing and her servants are sent away; strong blood-red wine flows freely. Eventually, she takes him to a chapel in the manor house in which are hundreds of burning candles whose scent, mingled with the sickly sweet fragrance of flowers, begins to make Launcelot feel dizzy. Suddenly, he comes upon three coffins whose heads pass beneath arches in the wall, She whispers him, ‘The three best knights of earth shall lie Here in my house’; [. . .] She laughed aloud—’A coffin for Sir Lamorake, For Tristram; in the third lies Launcelot du Lake.’ He crossed himself and questioned her when these should die. She answered, ‘They shall all be living when they lie Within these beds; and then—behold what will be done To all, or even to two of them, or even to one, Had I such grace.’ She lifts her hand and turns a pin Set on the wall. A bright steel blade drops down within The arches, on the coffin-necks, so razor-keen

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That scarce a movement of the spicey dust was seen Where the edge sank. (Lines 274-89)18 Before the poem breaks off, Lewis breaks another rule of his later definition of Romanticism, for the woman reveals to Launcelot, whose head probably feels heavier than ever, that she will do this for “endless love.” So the woman suffers romantically for love and turns out to be psychotic, far worse than Werther ever would or could be. It is weak, but it is one of Lewis’s only remaining works from his short-lived but intense phase of early experimenting with Romanticism. Launcelot is supposed to long for the grail, but his vision is not sustained; we do not believe he really wants the grail. From the context, Launcelot appears to wish for a romantic encounter. In other words, he longs for carnal things. The woman, on the other hand, a typical mystery woman out of the romantic literary spare parts garage, longs for love, but in a pathological way. She wants to possess the knights even if it means murdering them. In this poetic fragment Lewis flirts with love, desperate and demented, but this does not inhabit his mature definition of Romanticism. Unrefined elements of Sehnsucht are there, and this raw form is a far cry from Lewis’s later mastery of these elements. The flip side of Romanticism fascinated the poets Tieck and E. T. A. Hoffmann and attracted the younger Lewis, who writes retrospectively of his youth: “I had already been waist-deep in Romanticism; and likely enough, at any moment, to flounder into its darker and more evil forms, slithering down the steep descent that leads from the love of strangeness to that of eccentricity and thence to that of perversity.”19 Launcelot was found on the back of some Renaissance literature lecture notes, which probably saved it from Lewis’s fireplace. The next narrative poem we will examine is entitled “The Queen of Drum” and is dated, based on internal evidence, around 1933-34, thus just after Lewis’s conversion. It is told in five cantos, or songs, and has five main characters, the Archbishop, the King, the General, the Chancellor, and the Queen. The poem is motivated by the Queen’s inexplicable night wanderings, the topic of debate within the upper echelons of the kingdom during a morning meeting. Arriving unexpectedly during this meeting, she challenges the other four as to whether or not they will acknowledge their own metaphorical or real wanderings by night. She chastises: ‘What? Nothing yet? No answer? . . . can it be you do forget? Did the gates shut so quickly? Could you not bear One small grain back to light and upper air? Must I go down like Orpheus and retrace The interdicted ford—out of that place, Step by step, hand in hand, hale up what lies Buried in you, and teach your waking eyes To acknowledge it? I thought we had all known

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What spends us in the dark, and why we groan To feel the light return and the limbs ache, Even in our slumber fighting not to wake. . . I thought you, being but the husks of men All the drab day, remembered where and when The ripe ear grows—where are the golden hills It waves on, and the granaries it fills. Call it again. Dive for it. Strain your sight, Crack all your sinews, heaving up to light What’s under you. Thou sunken wreck, arise!, Sea-gold, sea-gems that fill the hollow eyes Of admirals dead; out of thy smothering caves Where colour is not, up, to where the waves Turn emerald and the edge of ocean-cold Is yielding, and the fish go slashed with gold, Up!, ‘gainst thy nature, up!, put on again 106 Colour and form and be to waking men Things visible. Heave all! Softly . . . it rears Its dripping head. What, Lords? At Last? Your ears Remember now that song, those giant words, Louder than woods that thundered, scattering birds Like leaves along the sky, and whose the throats Louder than cedars there whipt flat oats. . . Birds tumbled . . . the sky dipped. . .’ The Queen’s voice broke. (Lines 265-97)20 The Archbishop attempts to reason with the Queen; however, upon her rebuttal, he admits that he too has dreamed and wandered by night and sensed this other world, that is neither heaven nor hell. But, he tells her, such things are not for mortals to know. Meanwhile, the General overthrows the King and Chancellor and locks them in a dungeon, and his thugs beat the Archbishop to death after he refuses to aid the General’s putsch. The Queen escapes and runs for her life. As she flees, she meets the Elf King, who offers her food and directions: ‘Keep, keep,’ he bade her, ‘On the midmost moss-way, Seek past the cross-way to the land you long for. Eat, eat,’ he gave her of the loaves of faerie. ‘Eat the brave honey of bees no man enslaveth. Heed not the road upon the right—’twill lead you To heaven’s height and the yoke whence I have freed you; Nor seek not to the left, that so you come not Through the world’s cleft into that world I name not. Keep, keep the centre! Find the portals That chosen mortals at the world’s edge enter.

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Isles untrampled by the warring legions Of Heaven and Darkness—the unreckoned regions That only as fable in His world appear Who seals man’s ear as much as He is able. . . Many are the ancient mansions, Isles His wars defile not, Woods and land unwounding The want thereof did haunt you; Asked for long with anguish, They open now past hoping —All you craved, incarnate Come like dream to Drum-land.’ (Lines 199-220)21 The Queen recognizes, or thinks she does, a spirit in the form of a bearded man wearing a gown, who looks like the martyred Archbishop. He warns: ‘Quick. The last chance. Believe not the seducing elf. Daughter, turn back, have pity upon yourself Go not to the unwintering land where they who dwell Pay each tenth year the tenth soul of their tribe to Hell. Hear not the voice that promises, but rather hear His who commands, and fear. We have all cause to fear. Oh draw not down the anger, which is far away And slow to wake. Turn homeward ere the end of day. You would not see if you looked up out of your torment That face—only the fringes of His outer garment Run to it, daughter; kiss that hem.’ She answered, ‘No. If you are with Him pray to Him that He may go, Or pray that He may rend and tear me, But go, go hence and not be near me.’ (Lines 255-68)22 Her decision made, the lengthy narrative poem concludes enigmatically, She has tasted elven bread And so, the story tells, she passed away Out of the world: but if she dreams to-day In fairy lands, or if she wakes in Hell, (The chance being one in ten) it doesn’t tell. (Lines 290-94)23 Lewis experiments most clearly with the question about another realm, a way between heaven and hell. He writes in Surprised by Joy about an earlier phase in his life when he thought to have found “perhaps,” a third way. “Perhaps (oh joy!) there was, after all, ‘something else’; and (oh reassurance!) perhaps it had nothing to do with Christian Theology.”24 Lewis was attracted to the notion of a “world behind, or around, the material world.”25 In a poem that appears at the end of The Pilgrim’s Regress, the question is put:

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“Therefore, among the riddles that no man has read, I put thy paradox [. . .] Where is Prince Hamlet when the curtain’s down? Where fled Dreams at dawn, or colours when the light is sped?”26 The final narrative poem we will examine is written in Old English alliterative line. Lewis appears to have left it without a title, so Walter Hooper has called this nameless poem, “The Nameless Isle.” Interestingly, it does have an exact date, August 1930. A shipwrecked Sailor awakes to find himself the only survivor of his crew on an uncharted island. After regaining his senses he sees a figure in the moonlit enchanted forest where trees are taller than cathedrals. He guides the reader further: There stood, breast high, In flowery foam, under the flame of moon, One not far off, nobly fashioned. Her beauty burned in my blood, that, as a fool, Falling before her at her feet I prayed, Dreaming of druery, and with many a dear craving Wooed the woman under the wild forest. She laughed when I told my love-business, Witch-hearted queen. ‘A worthy thing, Traveller, truly, my troth to plight With the sea villain that smells of tar Horny-handed, and hairy cheeked.’ Then I rose wrathfully; would have ravished the witch In her empty isle, under that orb’d splendour. But she laughed louder [. . .] (Lines 99-113)27 The Queen then calls out to the animals of the forest and nurtures them all. Her sign was not sent to the sea-wanderer: Others answered. From the arch’d forest Beasts came baying: the bearded ape, The lion, the lamb, the long-sided, Padding panther, and the purring cat, The snake sliding, and the stepping horse, Busy beaver, and the bear jog-trot, The scurrying rat, and the squirrel leaping On the branch above. Those beasts came all. She grudged no grace to those grim ones. [. . .] I saw that she smiled, softly murmuring As if she hushed a child. How long it was These marvels stood, memory holds not —All was gone in a glance. (Lines 119-41)28

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This Queen of the Night is also the Queen of Nature. She is primal as both Ur-mistress of the woods and Ur-mother of the animal kingdom, combining images of threatening Lilith, wanton and proud, and that of nurturing Eve, the mother of all. The Queen informs the Sailor that half her island is in the power of a Wizard who turns living things into marble images. She promises the Sailor the hand of her fair daughter, who has been turned into marble, if he can rescue her. But before the Sailor departs, he is told the history of this Wizard who, like himself, was spat from the sea: Out of the ocean in an hour of storm, Humble and homeless. At my hearth, kneeling, Sweetly he besought me to save his life, And grant him ground where he might grow his bread. All that he asked for, ill-starred I gave, Pleased with pity, that I have paid dearly, And easily won. But for each acre That my bounty gave to the beggar, soon He stole a second, till as a strong tyrant He holds in his hand one half of the land. My flute he has stolen. (Lines 191-201)29 So the Wizard, Adamlike, dresses the Garden Isle and maintains dominion over the half of it. The Nature Queen gives the Sailor a sword and commands him to cut off the Wizard’s head. Journeying to the center of the Island in search of the Wizard, the Sailor stumbles upon a golden flute, but finds he cannot play it. He also comes across a Dwarf, who informs him that he is the last survivor of another shipwreck that occurred on the Wizard’s side of the Island; all his mates were transformed into marble by the sorcerer. The Dwarf relates that although his companions are more beautiful, of fairer faces and nobler form, even proud and princely, the cost was death. The Dwarf further informs the Sailor that the other half of his shipmates met the witch, the very Queen that the Sailor met, who turned them into animals. Eventually the Sailor and the Dwarf discover the marble statue of the daughter, and the Sailor is enchanted. The Wizard, who emerges from the high, dry moorlands, appears. The Sailor throws down the flute, which the Dwarf snatches up, and draws his sword. The Wizard announces that he is the rightful ruler of the Island and he claims that the witch has misled the Sailor. Furthermore, he claims that the maiden is truly his daughter and that he designed the flute, which was subsequently stolen by the witch-Queen, who cannot play it. The Wizard invites the sailor to drink of the “chalice of peace” and join the maiden in chaste perfection: Eager lover, Not even the art of this old master Can wake, as you want, this woman here. Chaste, enchanted, till the change of the world, In beauty she abides. Nor breath, nor death,

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Touches nor troubles her. You can be turned and made Nearer to her nature; not she to yours Ever. Only your own changing, Boy, can bring you, where your bride waits you, If you are love-learned to so large a deed. You think, being a thrall, that it is thorough death To be made marble and to move no limb. [. . .] It was your loins told you, And your belly, and your blood, and your blind servants Five, who are unfaithful. Fear had moved them. Death they were in dread of. Death let them have; For their fading and their fall is the first waking, And their night the noon, of a new master, Peace after Pleasure. [. . .] This child that I have changed with the chalice of peace, Was my own daughter. I, pondering much, Gave her the greatest of gifts I knew. Long she was in labour in a land of dread, Tangled in torments. The toils had her, And her wild mother, witch-hearted queen, Delayed her in that lair. Long since it was When the woman was my wife. (Lines 419-67)30 The Sailor, nearly persuaded to partake of the cup, is prevented by the Dwarf, who begins to play the golden flute. This causes the Wizard to weep; he remembers happier days and the Dwarf’s mates are freed from their marble incarceration and yet retain the splendid look of the Wizard’s carving. And the Dwarf himself develops a regal mien. The maiden becomes human again as well. The Wizard and the others rush to the other side of the Island, where the music changes the other sailors into men, but with the awesome qualities and strengths of the beasts they once were. The Queen joins with the Wizard-Lord and they sing a song of mutual praise, each extolling the qualities of the other, flying away in ying-yang unison. Lewis’s text gives them metaphoric names—the Wizard is called by the Latin “hic” meaning “he” and Queen by “illa” meaning “she.” Hence, they represent all of us as we respectively view ourselves as the primal masculine and feminine, as Adam and Eve, King and Queen, Lord and Lady. She praises his wisdom, valor, light, ability to shape forms and categorize, print, carve, and build. She calls him Tower, Sun, and Heaven. He praises her mothering, laughter, warmth, mildness, sparkling, gardening, and ability to create. He calls her Earth, Moon, and Stars.31 They thank the Sailor who has joined them in this place, which is neither heaven nor hell, and they create a way for his return to England, a parting of waters, compared in the poem to Israel coming out of Egypt into their own country.32

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Dichotomies such as masculine-feminine, nature-culture, and abstract-concrete, flow throughout the narrative and form the central paradigm of the poem. No matter how selfenclosed we perceive one part of a pair to be, we see that a need for reconciliation exists; that our state is one of incompleteness; that we are wanderers in a strange land, on a Nameless Isle, searching and longing (Sehnsucht) for the way back home. Novalis wrote: “In the beginning poets and priests were one; it was only in later times that they became separated. The true poet, however, has always remained a priest, just as the true priest has remained a poet. And will not the future restore this former state of affairs?” 33 Lewis would certainly not have agreed he was a priest in the strict sacral sense, but he sensed his responsibility as a professor of beliefs, beliefs that had to square with his faith, study, and experience. On one level, this is at the core of Lewis’s sense of personal responsibility and mission both as a scholar and a writer, as he writes about how a false understanding of Romanticism deluded him: But every one of these impressions [about Romanticism] is wrong. The sole merit I claim for [The Pilgrim’s Regress] is that it is written by one who has proved them all to be wrong. There is no room for vanity in the claim: I know them to be wrong not by intelligence but by experience, such experience as would not have come my way if my youth had been wiser, more virtuous, and less self-centred than it was. For I have myself been deluded by every one of these false answers in turn, and have contemplated each of them earnestly enough to discover the cheat. To have embraced so many false Florimels is no matter of boasting: it is fools, they say, who learn by experience. But since they do at least learn, let a fool bring his experience into the common stock that wiser men may profit by it.34 Romanticism, or “spilled religion,” a description Lewis accepted, may be a catalyst to or trace of religion, but it is not religion itself: “And I agree that he who has religion ought not to spill it. But does it follow that he who finds it spilled should avert his eyes? How if there is a man to whom those bright drops on the floor are the beginning of a trail which, duly followed, will lead him in the end to taste the cup itself? How if no other trail, humanly speaking, were possible?”35 So where does Hamlet go after the curtains go down? Could it be that the Prince’s wish is fulfilled, that he finds the undiscovered country? A scripture attached to the dedication page of The Pilgrim’s Regress reads, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country” (Prov. 25:25). In a sermon entitled “The Weight of Glory” delivered on 8 June 1941 in the Oxford University Church of St. Mary the Virgin—and with the Romantic fires under control at last—Lewis preached: In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. [. . .] I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts you so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for

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something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it. [. . .] Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things— the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.36 C. S. Lewis died in faith desiring a better country, that is a heavenly; he did not receive the promises, but having seen them afar off he was persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that he was a stranger and pilgrim on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country and look for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God (see Heb. 11:10, 13-16). Paul E. Kerry is assistant professor of History at Brigham Young University. He received his Ph.D. from Oxford University, England (Professor Lewis’s alma mater), where he was a member of the C. S. Lewis Society. This paper was conceived as an address to the Oxford University C. S. Lewis Society. After hearing it, Mr. Walter Hooper, with graciousness and reasoned persistence, recommended its publication. I would like to thank him for his encouragement over the past few years of my modest ideas regarding Lewis’s writings. Notes 1. C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce: A Dream (London: Fount, 1977), p. 8. 2. C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald: An Anthology (London: Fount, 1990), p. 34. 3. A quotation by MacDonald is found on the title page of The Great Divorce. See also MacDonald’s Lilith (1895) and his two essays, “The Imagination: Its Function and Its Culture” (1867) and “The Fantastic Imagination” (1882). Lewis was also influenced by the writer G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936). 4. Lewis and his friend J. R. R. Tolkien discussed these ideas in an informal literary group called The Inklings. Among its members were Charles Williams, Owen Barfield and Lewis’s brother, Major W. H. Lewis. Lewis also developed a friendship with Dorothy Sayers.

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5. Novalis, “Aphorisms and Fragments” translated by Alexander Gelley in German Romantic Criticism, ed. A. Leslie Wilson, The German Library, vol. 21 (New York: Continuum, 1982), pp. 62-83. 6. See C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 138-39. 7. Ibid., p. 70. 8. See C. S. Lewis, A Preface to Paradise Lost (London: Oxford University Press, 1942), p. 54. 9. Ibid., p. 129. 10. Ibid., p. 51. 11. Ibid., pp. 132-33. 12. C. S. Lewis, Narrative Poems, ed. Walter Hooper (London: Fount, 1994), p. 4. 13. Cf. “To Roy Campbell” and other poems in the volume Poems, particularly in the section, The Backward Glance. 14. See C. S. Lewis, Rehabilitations and Other Essays (London: Oxford University Press, 1939). 15. Lewis, A Preface to Paradise Lost, p. 1. 16. See C. S. Lewis, Broadcast Talks (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1942). 17. Lewis, “Launcelot,” in Narrative Poems, pp. 98-99. 18. Ibid., p. 100-101. 19. Lewis, George MacDonald: An Anthology, p. 33. 20. Lewis, “The Queen of Drum,” Canto I/vii, in Narrative Poems, pp. 137-38. 21. Lewis, “The Queen of Drum,” Canto V, in Narrative Poems, p. 170. 22. Ibid., pp. 171-72. 23. Ibid., pp. 172-73. 24. C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1956), p. 175.

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25. Ibid. 26. C. S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism in The Collected Works of C. S. Lewis (New York: Inspirational Press, 1996), p. 151. 27. Lewis, “The Nameless Isle,” Narrative Poems, pp. 107-8. 28. Ibid., p. 108. 29. Ibid., p. 110. 30. Ibid., pp. 116-17. 31. See ibid., pp. 122-23, lines 645-88. 32. See ibid., p. 125, lines 738-42. 33. Novalis, German Romantic Criticism, p. 66. 34. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress, p. 157. 35. Ibid., p. 159. 36. C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York: Touchstone, 1996), pp. 28-29. In the introduction Walter Hooper writes that Canon Milford, the Vicar of St. Mary’s, was motivated to invite Lewis to give a sermon after reading The Pilgrim’s Regress (p. 18).

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GOD’S MEGAPHONE TO A DEAF WORLD: C. S. Lewis’s Personal Sojourn to Understanding the Problem of Pain Brent L. Top “O LORD, HOW LONG SHALL I CRY, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!” the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk lamented (Hab. 1:2). Similarly, the prophet Jeremiah questioned God, “Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments. Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?” (Jer. 12:1). Even today such questions are heard—Why do bad things happen to good people? Why would a perfectly loving and just Father in Heaven allow His children to suffer all manner of tragedies, trials, and tribulations? Why would God create a world seemingly designed for the happiness and progress of man yet enveloped in crime and corruption, pain and poverty, sin and suffering? Great philosophers and theologians have wrestled with the apparent contradictions between the theology of a God of perfect love and beneficence and the reality of a world filled with Brent L. Top is associate dean of Religious Education and professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including Rearing Righteous Youth of Zion. inequities and injustices. Such contradictions often defy the best logic of both philosopher and theologian. Often we are left with more questions than answers. A few years ago I saw this situation profoundly demonstrated in a religion class I was teaching at Brigham Young University. We were discussing how belief in a perfect, allloving God can be reconciled with the reality of terrible suffering and injustices inherent in the world. There was much discussion among the students. I was impressed with their wellreasoned and well-articulated answers, as well as their knowledge of the scriptures. Virtually all of the students made comments that reflected their confidence that the gospel of Jesus Christ has the answers to the problem of pain in the world. With every difficult dilemma or tough question that I presented, a student had a gospel answer for or a theological reconciliation of the apparent inequities of life. After much class discussion, however, one student in the back of the class raised his hand to speak. He was older than most of the students. He had also been noticeably silent during our discussion. His voice cracking with emotion, he taught us all a lesson about questions and answers.

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“The things you have been saying are right,” he said, choking back the tears. “I have been taught those things from my youth. I have searched the scriptures, served a mission, and been active in the Church all my life. I have a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, and I have an understanding of the role of adversity in the plan of salvation, but. . .” At this point the tears began to flow from his eyes. Haltingly he continued: “But it didn’t make it easier to gather my three children around me and tell them that their mommy had just died. Even though I too know many of the answers to life’s difficult questions, I am still lonely, and I ask over and over again, Why? Why did she have to die? Why am I left alone?” As he spoke, my teary-eyed students were experiencing feelings that most of them had never had before. They were learning about unanswerable questions and unconsoling answers they had never before encountered. “You have the answers,” he told his fellow students. “But have you ever had to ask the questions?” As the bell rang ending the class period, sobered students, who had been so full of gospel answers before and during class, now filed out with more questions than answers. This father, who mourned the death of his wife and the mother of his young children, personifies the challenge that all of us have faced or will yet face as we encounter the trials and uncertainties of our mortal existence. Even when one possesses a profound trust in God, a firm testimony of the plan of salvation, and an extensive knowledge of the scriptures, when faced with the ironies and inequities of this fallen world, it is easy to cry out, “Why this?” “Why me?” “Why now?” Often within those moments when our personal pain crashes headlong into our professed beliefs and convictions, we may feel guilty for even questioning God. Sometimes we may erroneously view such questioning as a lack of faith or a wavering in our commitment to the gospel. There is comfort, however, in recognizing that those with the most insight and inspiration as to God’s will for mankind are often those who do the most poignant pleading and questioning. Prophets of God like Alma and Amulek, who experienced firsthand unjust persecution, unspeakable suffering, and the inhumanity of the wicked, cried out, “How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord?” (Alma 14:26). Even Joseph Smith—the prophet-head of this last dispensation, who had gazed upon the expanses of eternity, had received countless revelations, and had communed with and been taught by heavenly beings from the Eternal Presence—even he, in the agony of his own suffering had more questions than answers. “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea, thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them” (D&C 121:1-3). Not only have prophets, with their own unique spiritual perspectives, struggled through the ages to reconcile the reality of profound suffering and injustice in the world with their profound faith in an all-powerful and all-loving God. Even Jesus, when faced with the incomprehensible agonies of Gethsemane and Golgotha, cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). Given His divine nature, He knew all the right

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answers, yet His mortal nature questioned when He was confronted with pain and suffering that surprisingly surpassed His own understanding and expectation. “Imagine, Jehovah, the Creator of this and other worlds, ‘astonished’!” Elder Neal A. Maxwell declared. “Jesus knew cognitively what He must do, but not experientially. He had never personally known the exquisite and exacting process of an atonement before. Thus, when the agony came in its fulness, it was so much, much worse than even He with his unique intellect ever imagined! No wonder an angel appeared to strengthen him (see Luke 22:43)!”1 It is from this seemingly contradictory clash between answers and questions—between explanations and experiences—between knowledge we have in our heads and understanding that comes to the heart—that the greatest spiritual growth can occur. Those who have arrived at gospel answers to life’s difficult dilemmas merely by study and/or through reason alone will discover that those answers may not impact the soul so profoundly or permanently until forged by personal experiences—experiences that impel one to ask the hard questions of life. From personal “study” in the school of suffering there comes not only better understanding of the answers and the questions but also a preparation of our souls to receive more than mere comprehension. The true source of comfort and comprehension is not found in intellectual answers, but in Him who invites us: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29). C. S. Lewis’s rise to spiritual understanding of the problem of pain and the goodness of God came in the same manner—first the head, then the heart. While it may seem backwards to some, Lewis unexpectedly discovered that the rational answers he had long articulated in the defense of God’s designs brought him only so far down the path of his spiritual journey. He may have thought he had the right answers when he wrote the book The Problem of Pain in 1940, but those insightful answers may well have seemed quite empty in his own life after the death of his beloved wife, Joy Gresham Lewis, in 1960. From the depths of his broken heart came some of the most poignant questions—some filled with anger toward God, and others showing a vulnerable man desperately clinging to his faith when it seemed there was little reason to believe. From the questions and personal struggles Lewis recorded in the book A Grief Observed, we are able to see how he gained greater understanding of the role of evil and suffering in the world. From his personal loss came questions from the heart that resulted not only in a deeper understanding of the answers he had already found in his head but also in a comfort and peace that came from finding God. From his writings and personal experiences, from his questions as well as his answers, we can be strengthened spiritually and enlarged intellectually in our own efforts to reconcile the problem of pain. As Lewis demonstrates, it is not enough to just find answers. We must find God. HEAD KNOWLEDGE: HAVING THE “RIGHT ANSWERS” Prior to his conversion to Christianity C. S. Lewis felt that the strongest evidence for an argument against the existence of God was the existence of so much pain, evil, and injustice in the world. If God was both all-powerful and good, why would he not eliminate such things from the world and protect His children from the awful effects of such suffering? After his conversion Lewis once again encountered the seemingly irreconcilable problem of

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faith in the goodness of God despite the overwhelming reality of evil and suffering among God’s children. This time, with firm faith in the goodness of God and the wisdom of His purposes, Lewis attempted, as an apologist for Christianity, to suggest a reasoned yet faithful explanation. Such a reconciliation of the existence of God despite the reality of evil and suffering in the world is known as theodicy. Amidst the gathering storm clouds of World War II and the anxiety and worry it brought, C. S. Lewis was asked to write a book as a part of the “Christian Challenge” series of Centenary Press. The purpose of the series was to introduce the tenets of Christianity to people outside the faith. At first Lewis rejected the offer; then he agreed only if he could use a pen name rather than his own, for he felt it would be presumptuous as a non-theologian to write about such a serious philosophical topic. But there was no pen name. C. S. Lewis’s theodicy would stand on its own. In 1940 The Problem of Pain rolled off the press and was immediately received with much acclaim. In the preface Lewis modestly stated that he “believed himself to be [merely] restating ancient and orthodox doctrines.” Although he may have felt that he wasn’t “plowing any new ground” theologically or philosophically with this book, it was his genius for using well-reasoned, clearly articulated arguments, highlighted with brilliant analogies that all could relate to that made The Problem of Pain one of his most popular works. It is also what one scholar characterized as “faith seeking understanding” spoken in plain, everyday language, that makes Lewis so appealing to us today.2 “Any fool can write learned language,” Lewis wrote to a literary critic. “The vernacular is the real test. If you can’t turn your faith into it, then either you don’t understand it, or you don’t believe it.”3 Lewis firmly believed that people could not really understand a complex philosophical or theological issue until they could understand it in simple language. For Latter-day Saints in particular, C. S. Lewis has great appeal, but not so much because he teaches us anything new or dramatically different from that which is found in our own theology and scriptures. It is, rather, that he simplifies the complex with common sense and illustrates the philosophical explanations with understandable and relevant metaphors, which in turn helps us to understand our own doctrines and scriptures better. Lewis’s response to the “problem of pain” basically falls into two major categories: the free will of mankind and the goodness of God. Each of these explanations finds a complement in the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and each plays a significant role in helping us to better understand the causes and purposes of evil and suffering in the world. Free Will To Latter-day Saints the principle of free will, or what we would call agency, is a fundamental principle of the plan of salvation and for the divine purposes of life itself. “Free independence of mind which heaven has so graciously bestowed upon the human family,” the Prophet Joseph Smith declared,[“[is] one of [heaven’s] choicest gifts [to man].”4 The Book of Mormon—Another Testament of Jesus Christ—further states that “it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. . . . Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself” (2 Ne. 2:11, 16). In another

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passage, the Book of Mormon prophet Samuel testified that “whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free” (Hel. 14:30). In recent times, President David O. McKay declared: “Next to bestowal of life itself, the right to direct our lives is God’s greatest gift to man. Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give. It is inherent in the spirit of man. It is a divine gift to every normal being. . . . It is the impelling source of the soul’s progress. . . . Without this divine power to choose, humanity cannot progress.”5 Because of this supreme significance, agency is a protected principle. In order to safeguard the purposes of our mortal probation the Lord will not infringe upon the free exercise of agency. C. S. Lewis also taught this fundamental principle of Christianity not only in his religious apologetic works such as The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, Miracles, God in the Dock, and, of course, The Problem of Pain, but also as a recurring theme in some of his fictional books, such as Perelandra. “Free will is the modus operandi of destiny,” he wrote.6 In his classic work, Mere Christianity, he elaborated on this principle. God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata—of creatures that worked like machines —would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free. Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently He thought it worth the risk. . . . If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will—that is, for making a live world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings—then we may take it is worth paying.7 While this promotes the progression of humanity, it also carries with it certain “side effects” that may result in suffering and sorrow. Free will is linked to adversity: many times our suffering and sorrows in life come as a result of the use or misuse of agency. One cannot read the daily newspapers or watch world news on television without being graphically reminded of the crime and corruption and other social injustices that result from human choice. Some question the justice and goodness of God or even His existence. They may ask: “Why does God allow the wicked and the corrupt of the world to victimize the righteous and devout, the innocent and helpless?” The unsettling answer lies in the fact that free will is a divinely guarded principle. God does not cause the evil, but if there is to be agency, he must allow it. C. S. Lewis described this phenomenon in this manner: “Pain is inherent in the very existence of a world where souls can meet. When souls become wicked

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they will certainly use this possibility to hurt one another; and this, perhaps, accounts for four-fifths of the sufferings of men. It is men, not God, who have produced racks, whips, prisons, slavery, guns, bayonets, and bombs; it is by human avarice or human stupidity, not by the churlishness of nature, that we have poverty and overwork.”8 Lewis’s writings on the relationship between free will and the evil and suffering of the world resonate with Latter-day Saints, not only because of their similarities to the doctrinal and scriptural teachings of the Church but also because the early history of the Latter-day Saints is laced with many examples of how trials and tribulations follow the misuse of the divine gift of agency. Members of the Church who had settled in Jackson County, Missouri, became faced with enormous opposition and persecution. Over time many Church members were physically abused—beaten, tarred and feathered, driven from their homes and lands as judges and civic leaders repeatedly refused to administer justice or offer relief. In petitioning the Lord for guidance as to what to do, the Prophet Joseph Smith learned by revelation the reasons why God allowed His Saints to suffer. Verily I say unto you, my friends, behold, I will give unto you a revelation and commandment, that you may know how to act in the discharge of your duties concerning the salvation and redemption of your brethren, who have been scattered on the land of Zion; Being driven and smitten by the hand of mine enemies, on whom I will pour out my wrath without measure in mine own time. For I have suffered them thus far, that they might fill up the measure of their iniquities, that their cup might be full; And that those who call themselves after my name might be chastened for a little season with a sore and grievous chastisement, because they did not hearken altogether unto the precepts and commandments which I gave unto them. (D&C 103:1-4; emphasis added) It is clear from this revelation that because the wicked are accountable for their own actions, and their misuse of their agency will ultimately bring about their own condemnation, God allows them to inflict suffering on others. If He were to interfere with every negative action, creating what Lewis described as a “toy world” as opposed to a “real world,” He would not only violate the divine gift of agency but also would negate the law of the harvest. We could not “reap” if we were not allowed to “sow” (see Gal. 6:7-8). Similarly, we learn that the suffering and pain that come with the exercise of the will is two-edged—suffering as consequence of the actions of others and suffering that comes by reason of our own actions. “How could we learn about obedience,” Elder Neal A. Maxwell insightfully asked, “if we were shielded from the consequences of our disobedience?”9 As Lewis himself admitted, the free exercise of man’s agency cannot explain all the trials and tribulations of our mortal existence. “Free will,” Lewis wrote, may account “for fourfifths of the suffering of men. . . . But there remains, nonetheless, much suffering which cannot thus be traced to ourselves.”10 While to the unbeliever, it may seem a total contradiction in terms, Lewis contended that many of the trials and tribulations, pains and

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problems, and suffering and sorrows of life can be attributed to the goodness of God and His perfect love for His children. The Goodness of God The age-old questions about how an all-wise and all-loving God can allow bad things to happen to good people seemingly can only be satisfactorily answered if the terms are properly defined. It is a misunderstanding of the phrases “goodness of God,” “bad things,” and “good people” that leads some to reject either the entire notion of a Supreme Being or any divine “meaning in the madness” of the universe. It is through helping us to better understand the meaning of these terms that Lewis makes perhaps his greatest contribution to theodicy. First, let us examine the concept of the “goodness of God.” While it is true that the scriptures, both ancient and modern, often use terms such as kindness and tenderness as descriptors of God’s love and goodness, there is much, much more. And it is in those other traits that we see the goodness of God at work in the tribulations of life. Amidst the profound grief he felt at the death of his wife, Lewis was forced to tackle the seeming contradiction of God’s goodness and love for mankind and the terrible pain He allows. “What do people mean when they say ‘I am not afraid of God because I know He is good’?” Lewis wrote. “Have they never been to a dentist?”11 Years earlier Lewis had articulated so well with the pen what his heart was now painfully discovering. “By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively His lovingkindness; and in this we may be right,” Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain. And by Love, in this context, most of us mean kindness—the desire to see others than the self happy; not happy in this way or that, but just happy. What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, “What does it matter so long as they are contented?” We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven—a senile benevolence who, as they say, “liked to see young people enjoying themselves,” and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, “a good time was had by all.”. . . Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering. As Scripture points out, it is bastards who are spoiled: the legitimate sons who are to carry on the family tradition are punished. It is for people we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms. . . . If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt. He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.12 As any parent knows, love for one’s offspring requires, illustrate, much more than “senile benevolence” or kindness for that which is best for our children, for that which will merely fun, for that which develops character and not

as Lewis’s words profoundly at any cost. It requires seeking bring them happiness and not merely contentment. Lewis’s

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reference to “bastards who are spoiled” undoubtedly reflects the words of the Apostle Paul. “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” (Heb. 12:5-8). To Latter-day Saints this concept should be especially relevant, since we believe that God is literally our Heavenly Father, whose goodness and love are manifest as a perfect parent. In our day, the Lord reminded us by revelation through the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you. Wherefore, ye must needs be chastened” (D&C 95:1-2). God’s chastening is neither vengeance nor meanness. The root of the word is the same as for the word chaste—pure, clean, spotless, virtuous. The process of chastening may be long and extraordinarily painful at times, but the product of such chastening is a “new creature,” one in whom God’s image becomes engraven. How can God’s love and goodness be manifest in any greater way? This leads us naturally to an examination of two phrases in the oft-stated question—”Why do bad things happen to good people?” Just as the phrase “goodness of God” is often misunderstood, so are these phrases; and they are in need of definition and scriptural clarification. We often speak of good people, and without question there are many whose lives exemplify goodness. But even they are not without need for improvement by the chastening of a good God. Latter-day Saints are familiar with doctrinal statements from the Book of Mormon that help clarify the nature of man. King Benjamin declared that “the natural man is an enemy to God” (Mosiah 3:19), and the brother of Jared testified that “because of the fall our natures have become evil continually” (Ether 3:2). Without believing in the “total depravity of mankind,” C. S. Lewis clearly believed that human nature was naturally rebellious and, as a result, the suffering and pains of the world are directly related to God’s designs to help bring about an alteration in man’s evil and rebellious nature, replacing it with the “divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). “The human spirit will not even begin to surrender self-will, as long as all seems to be well with it,” Lewis wrote. This sentiment certainly complements Nephi’s warning regarding “carnal security” (2 Ne. 28:21). There is a natural yet often unrecognized tendency to embrace an “all is well in Zion” (2 Ne. 28:21) attitude, to become less dependent upon the Lord and more secure in self and in the things of the world, when life seems to be going smoothly. To expose the facade of self-suffiency and to break and bridle the rebellious spirit, God uses suffering and pain. “But the redemptive effect of suffering lies chiefly in its tendency to reduce the rebel will,” Lewis wrote. God uses pain, as “His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” No doubt Pain as God’s megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment. It removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.

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If the first and lowest operation of pain shatters the illusion that all is well, the second shatters the illusion that what we have, whether good or bad itself, is our own and enough for us. Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. We “have all we want” is a terrible saying when “all” does not include God. We find God an interruption. As St. Augustine says somewhere, “God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full—there’s nowhere for Him to put it.” Or as a friend of mine said, “We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it’s there for emergencies but he hopes he never has to use it.” Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as He leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call “our own life” remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but to make “our own life” less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness? It is just here, where God’s providence seems at first to be most cruel, that the Divine humility, the stooping down of the Highest, most deserves praise.13 Not only is the fallen man naturally rebellious but he is also naturally forgetful and shortsighted. For this reason, as Lewis pointed out, God’s megaphone of pain not only grabs our attention but also serves as a much-needed memory enhancer. The Book of Mormon prophet Mormon testified of the “unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men.” He wrote: Yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him. Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; . . . yea, and in fine doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity. And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him. (Hel. 12:1-3; emphasis added; see also Ps. 78:17-35) Just as we often understate the goodness of God and overstate the “goodness” of the natural man, so do we usually view adversity and affliction as “bad things.” In reality, these “bad things”—though the wounds they inflict hurt terribly and heal slowly—are beneficent tokens of divine love from our Father in Heaven. It may be difficult to see any good coming from evil and suffering, but such difficulty in understanding doesn’t alter reality. For example, if it were possible for a person who lived several centuries ago to travel in time to our day and witness modern heart surgery—either a bypass procedure or a transplant, that time traveller would undoubtedly be horrified. Not knowing what was actually happening and unable to perceive any positive benefit resulting, he would probably view the surgery as some sort of sadistic torture. It is this higher purpose of suffering—”hurting to heal”—that C. S. Lewis often spoke of and illustrated in his writings. “The more we believe that God hurts only to

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heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness,” he wrote in A Grief Observed. A cruel man might be bribed—might grow tired of his vile sport—might have a temporary fit of mercy, as alcoholics have fits of sobriety. But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t.14 As Lewis has so eloquently articulated, the very nature of God and His divine plan of salvation for His children requires such “hurting to heal.” Each of us is enrolled in the “school of hard knocks.” Adversity and suffering are essential elements of the curriculum that provides us with an education for eternity. “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us,” Lewis wrote in a personal letter to a friend, “we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”15 Long before C. S. Lewis learned it, the Prophet Joseph Smith was taught this valuable lesson amidst his own anguish. While suffering in Liberty Jail, he poignantly pleaded with the Lord for some degree of understanding and some degree of relief. God’s revelation provided comforting assurance to Joseph (and each of us) in one of the most beautiful and scripturally significant statements concerning the redemptive role of suffering. If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea; If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee;. . . And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. (D&C 122:5-7; emphasis added) Isaiah, in a prophecy regarding the ultimate redemption of Israel, used a most interesting phrase regarding the pains and afflictions that Israel would yet endure: “And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not [the Lord] be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers” (Isa. 30:20). To the ancients, bread and water were symbols of physical nourishment and sustenance. Perhaps Isaiah was teaching that adversity and affliction are as essential to our spiritual health and well-being as bread and water are to our physical health. Without the “bread of adversity” and the “water of affliction” there is neither spiritual life here nor eternal life hereafter. God’s “work and . . . glory [is] to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”

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(Moses 1:39), and suffering serves that end. “The job will not be completed in this life,” Lewis wrote, “but He means to get us as far as possible before death.” That is why we must not be surprised if we are in for a rough time. When a man turns to Christ and seems to be getting on pretty well (in the sense that some of his bad habits are now corrected), he often feels that it would now be natural if things went fairly smoothly. When troubles come along—illnesses, money troubles, new kinds of temptation—he is disappointed. These things, he feels, might have been necessary to rouse him and make him repent in his bad old days; but why now? Because God is forcing him . . . into situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary: but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us. To further illustrate this point, Lewis paraphrased a parable he had heard from his old friend and mentor, the great religious thinker George MacDonald, who compared the way God mercifully utilizes pain and suffering in our lives to a contractor’s remodeling of a house. Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.16 Every remodeling job has its accompanying cost and inconvenience. Spiritual remodeling is no different; it has its own cost in pain and sorrow, yet it may also yield a palatial enlargement of our souls, an enhancement of our spirituality, and a remaking of our very being in the image of Him who “descended below all things” (D&C 88:6). Just as Joseph Smith, Job, Jeremiah, and many others throughout history came to fully understand the real meaning and depth of the goodness of God through painful personal experience, so, too, did C. S. Lewis. Despite his impressive intellectual abilities—his logic and his philosophical astuteness, his rational theodicy—even despite his Christian conversion—he (like each of us) could not fully reconcile the “problem of pain” until he came to know the mind and will of God through his own painful experiences. The head can hold the “right answers,” but such answers are merely theory until they are engraven upon the heart by an ultimate trial of faith. HEART UNDERSTANDING: FINDING GOD THROUGH THE TRIAL OF FAITH “If you are writing a book about pain, then get some actual pain,” C. S. Lewis had mused among friends while working on the book The Problem of Pain. He had been concerned about writing on such a serious subject when his own life had been relatively free from suffering. Theodicy without real personal experience, he observed, “does not either, as the

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cynic would expect, blow the doctrine to bits, nor as a Christian would hope, turn into practice, but remains quite unconnected and irrelevant, just as any other bit of actual life does when you are reading or writing.”17 He clearly recognized the limitations of having “right answers” without having asked “hard questions.” Lewis also felt inadequate in addressing the problem of pain because he felt no great courage when it came to pain and he certainly did not want to minimize its hurtful nature in his attempts of rational explanation. In The Problem of Pain he wrote: All arguments in justification of suffering provoke bitter resentment against the author. You would like to know how I behave when I am experiencing pain, not writing books about it. You need not guess, for I will tell you: I am a great coward. . . . If I knew any way of escape I would crawl through sewers to find it. But what is the good of telling you my feelings? You know them already: for they are the same as yours. I am not arguing that pain is not painful. Pain hurts. That is what the word means. I am only trying to show that the old Christian doctrine of being made “perfect through suffering” is not incredible.18 In the preface to a book of collected essays of his friend Charles Williams, which he had edited, Lewis remembered being reminded by Williams that God had been displeased with Job’s friends. The so-called comforters—”the self-appointed advocates on God’s side, the people who tried to show that all was well,” Williams stated. They are the “sort of people,” Williams continued, “who wrote books on the Problem of Pain.”19 However, that situation—the “unconnectedness” or “irrelevance” of a thoughtful theodicy devoid of deep personal pain—dramatically changed with the death of his beloved wife, Joy, on 13 July 1960. “You have made me so happy,” she warmly assured Lewis. “I am at peace with God” were her last words. Her death brought with it an ironical turn of the tables. Joy may have found peace with her God at death, but Lewis found anything but peace and comfort. It was ironic indeed that C. S. Lewis—the internationally acclaimed Christian apologist, whose writings, lectures, and personal letters had done so much to increase faith in God, to bring souls to Christ, and to partake of His comfort—would face a crisis of faith in his own heart and mind. All of his eloquent arguments regarding the problem of pain had not adequately prepared him for his own trials. “Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God,” he wrote in his personal journal regarding the commingling of thoughts and emotions he experienced after the death of Joy. These personal notes, his selfprescribed treatment for his grief, were later published as A Grief Observed. “The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about [God]. The conclusion I dread is not, ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but, ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.’”20 His faith in the existence of God may not have been completely shaken, but his view of the goodness of God—which he had so faithfully defended and eloquently articulated time and time again—seemed battered and bruised. In the depths of his anguish Lewis was tempted to view God as a “Cosmic Sadist” who had “choked every prayer and every hope” with “false diagnoses” and “strange remissions.” He wrote, “Time after time when He seemed most gracious He was preparing the next torture.”21

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Undoubtedly Lewis was stunned by his own thoughts and feelings after the death of Joy. He may have expected deep sadness and loneliness, but certainly not the anger at God, the loss of reasonable explanations, and the wavering of his faith. He came to understand, however reluctantly, how prophets of God—endowed with great spiritual insight into the purposes of God though they are—could still question God and cry out in agony, “O God, where art thou?” (D&C 121:1). Each of us, to a greater or lesser degree, experience the same sojourn from superficial knowledge to divine wisdom. At first we naively believe we have all the answers, only to have them seemingly shattered in grief and suffering that may seem beyond our ability to endure. Then when our faith is sorely tried we rediscover in our hearts and souls the truthfulness of those “answers” we previously held only in our heads. It is at this point that we may ultimately gain true understanding of the divine purposes of life and recognize that all the while we have been cradled in the merciful arms of God. The Book of Mormon teaches us that “the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith” (Mosiah 23:21). To Brigham Young, the Lord declared in a revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants: “My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them” (D&C 136:31). Latter-day Saints understand that one of the fundamental purposes of life is to be tried and tested in order to demonstrate one’s faith in and faithfulness to the Lord. Pain, suffering, injustices, persecution, and all kinds of trials are utilized by God to truly test our faith and try our loyalty. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that in order for a person to fulfill the ultimate purpose of the plan of salvation and to have his calling and election made sure, he must be “thoroughly proved,” and God must find “that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards.”22 The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that above and beyond the natural bumps and bruises we experience as we travel the road of life, there are additional “individualized” troubles and tutorials, “thorns in the flesh” divinely designed to prove each of us personally. “In time each person will receive a ‘customized challenge’ to determine his dedication to God,” Elder Neal A. Maxwell stated.23 The exact nature of our “customized challenges” and saving tests of faith will not necessarily be the same, or perhaps not even remotely similar. We can rest assured, however, as the scriptures and prophets have testified, that the plan of salvation requires such trials of faith, but each will be adapted to individual circumstances, capacities, and needs. President George Q. Cannon declared: If we will be faithful to our God, He will redeem us, no matter what the circumstances may be through which we may be called to pass. We may wade through sorrow. We may have to endure persecution. We may have to meet with death. We may have to endure imprisonment and many other things that our predecessors had to endure. God may test us in this manner. Every human being that is connected with this work will have to be tested before he can enter into the Celestial Kingdom of our God. He will try us to the uttermost. If we have any spot more tender than another, He will feel after it. He will test all in some way or other. We have learned that there are plenty of trials and difficulties for all, if they will live faithful, to have their full share and all that are necessary to test them and their faith and their integrity to the fullest extent. Each generation may not have to pass through exactly the same scenes. They are apt to vary as the circumstances which surround each vary; but they

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will, nevertheless, accomplish the desired end. There is one thing certain, every Latter-day Saint who is faithful to the truth and who lives to the ordinary age of man will have all the opportunities of this kind he or she can desire to gain experience and to have his or her zeal, integrity, courage and devotion to the truth fully exhibited.24 Over time, C. S. Lewis discovered that he, too, was facing his own “customized challenge”—a test of his faith. Did he really believe all those things he had written and spoken or were they just empty words? His personal feelings and musings, recorded in A Grief Observed, provide us with a unique glimpse of the workings of God in testing the faith of His children. Where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be—or so it feels—welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as strong as this. What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?. . . You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?. . . Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief. . . Bridge players tell me that there must be some money on the game, “or else people won’t take it seriously.” Apparently it’s like that. Your bid—for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity—will not be serious if nothing is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high; until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world. Nothing less will shake a man—or at any rate a man like me—out of his verbal and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. . . But of course one must take the “set to try us” the right way. God has not been trying an experiment upon my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.25 As Lewis shows us, the test of adversity, often accompanied by the feeling of forsakenness, powerfully strips away all false faith and superficial spirituality. Of the soul-saving, faith-

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strengthening value of tests and trials, the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni declared, “For ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6). Only when we hang by the thread of our own convictions do we find out what we really believe, to whom we are really loyal, and what spiritual substance really fills our souls. Lewis experienced and powerfully described what each of us, if we remain devoted to the cause of righteousness, will experience in our own lives to some degree or another. After a long while of stumbling in the dark abyss of his personal grief, Lewis began to notice the light. “After much tribulation come the blessings,” the Lord declared in this dispensation (D&C 58:4). Lewis, likewise, began to discern the blessings that can come only after tribulation. He knew in his head long before that suffering and pain were part of the plan whereby God perfects and spiritually reshapes man. Now, however, Lewis obtained an understanding greater than the “right answers” he had had a generation earlier. “You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears,” he wrote as he began his journey out of the darkness of doubt. “You can’t in most things get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway you can’t get the best out of it. . . . And so perhaps with God. I have gradually been coming to feel that the door is no longer shut and bolted. Was it my own frantic need that slammed it in my face? The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just the time when God can’t give it to you: you are like the drowning man who can’t be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.”26 Lewis’s theology didn’t change through his experience. What he had written two decades earlier in The Problem of Pain was just as profound as ever, but he had changed. From A Grief Observed, we see ourselves to some degree in Lewis’s grieving experience. It is this personal attachment that we feel to him that makes his brutally honest observations and selfdiscovery so relevant to each of us. We learn, at least in our heads, what he learned in his heart—that knowing the right answers to the problem of pain may give insight and perspective, but not necessarily true understanding and comfort. Only God gives that. And we can receive it as we submit and yield to Him, “after [a] trial of [our] faith” (Ether 12:6). Suffering heartaches and tragedies in life, contended Lewis, allowed mankind to share, in some small measure, the sufferings of Jesus. “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you,” the Apostle Peter wrote. “But rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Pet. 4:12-13). As we partake of His sufferings, we can partake of His comfort in our sufferings. Elder Neal A. Maxwell stated: To those of you who so suffer and who, nevertheless, so endure and so testify by the eloquence of your examples, we salute you in Christ! Please forgive those of us who clumsily try to comfort you. We know from whence your true comfort comes. God’s “bosom” is there to be leaned upon. . . We can confidently cast our cares upon the Lord because, through the agonizing events of Gethsemane and Calvary, atoning Jesus is already familiar with our sins, sicknesses, and

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sorrows (see 1 Pet. 5:7; 2 Ne. 9:21; Alma 7:11-12). He can carry them now because He has successfully carried them before (see 2 Ne. 9:8)!27 CONCLUSION “‘Why did this happen to me?’ is not a question, but a cry of pain,” Rabbi Harold Kushner declared. “There is nothing you can do to change the why, so I urge people to turn around and instead ask, ‘What do I do now, and where do I find the strength, grace and courage to get over this and go on with my life?’ I believe those abilities come primarily from God. . . . He sends us the personal qualities to survive the tragedy.”28 From the contributions of C. S. Lewis we are able to gain answers to both questions—”Why?” and “What do I do now?” From his head we get rational answers in The Problem of Pain and other writings that make sense to us and help us to better understand the workings of our God. From his heart—from his personal experience of emerging from darkness to light—we gain not only insight into the painful process but also courage and strength to face it ourselves. Lewis helps us to understand the very essence of our belief. It seems only fitting that this great thinker and Christian apologist must have the truthfulness of his theodicy proven and refined by personal experience. Through his writings we appreciate him as a great Christian apologist, but from the triumph of his own faith in his struggle with the problem of pain he emerges as much more. We honor him as a great Christian. “The central Christian belief,” he wrote, “is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start.”29 This is as true with the problem of pain as it is with the fall of man. In Him rest all our hopes. John the Revelator beheld: These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Rev. 7:14-17) Notes 1. Neal A. Maxwell, “Willing to Submit,” Ensign, May 1985, pp. 72-73. 2. Thomas Talbott, “The Problem of Pain,” in The C. S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia, ed. Jeffrey D. Schultz and John G. West Jr. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing, 1998), p. 339. 3. George Sayer, Jack: C. S. Lewis and His Times (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 163.

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4. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), p. 49. 5. David O. McKay, “Man’s Free Agency—an Eternal Principle of Progress,” Improvement Era, December 1965, p. 1072. 6. Walter Martindale and Jerry Root, eds., The Quotable Lewis (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1989), p. 229. 7. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Touchstone, 1996), pp. 52-53. 8. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 79. 9. Neal A. Maxwell, “Patience,” 1979 Devotional Speeches of the Year (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1980), p. 220. 10. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 79. 11. C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1994), p. 61. 12. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, pp. 35-37. 13. Ibid., pp. 83, 85-86. 14. Lewis, A Grief Observed, pp. 60-61. 15. Letters of C. S. Lewis, 29 April 1959, p. 285; as quoted in The Quotable Lewis, ed. Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996), p. 469. 16. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 176. 17. Letter to Warren “Warnie” Lewis, 3 December 1939, as quoted by Walter Hooper, C. S. Lewis Companion and Guide (New York: Harper Collins, 1996), p. 295. 18. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, pp. 93-94. 19. Hooper, C. S. Lewis Companion and Guide, p. 295. 20. Lewis, A Grief Observed, p. 23. 21. Ibid., p. 47. 22. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 150. 23. Quoted in The Daily Universe, Brigham Young University, 7 October 1983, p. 11.

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24. George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truths, ed. Jerreld L. Newquist (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1987), pp. 301-2. 25. Lewis, A Grief Observed, pp. 21-22, 39, 54-55, 70. 26. Ibid., pp. 63-64. 27. Neal A. Maxwell, “Yet Thou Art There,” Ensign, November 1987, pp. 32-33. 28. Harold S. Kushner, in “‘The Best Advice I Can Give You,’“ comp. Ellen Byron, Redbook, August 1987, p. 68. 29. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 58.

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9

C. S. LEWIS ON THE TRANSFORMATION OF HUMAN NATURE Robert L. Millet AS THE PRESENTATIONS AT THIS conference attest, C. S. Lewis has rendered the Christian message a meaningful service. His conversion to Christianity was genuine and deep, and it entailed the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and God. His commitment to the Savior drove and directed his writings and certainly undergirded his daily life. There is so much that could be said in discussing Lewis’s thought on the preeminent place of Jesus Christ, but time constraints dictate that I be selective. MAN’S NEED FOR REDEMPTION C. S. Lewis was a Christian, and as such he was firm in his proclamation of the good news or glad tidings, the hope to be found in and through Jesus Christ. That hope, of course, is directly related to man’s plight as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve. “A recovery of the old sense of sin,” Lewis wrote, “is essential to Christianity. . . . And when men attempt to be Christians without this preliminary consciousness of sin, the result is almost bound to be a certain resentment against God as to one who is always making impossible demands and always inexplicably angry.”1 He maintained a belief in the Fall and in the fact that “fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.”2 In the language of the angel to King Benjamin, the natural man, meaning the unregenerated man, is an “enemy to God” and will remain so unless and until he puts off the natural man and puts on Christ through the Atonement (Mosiah 3:19). As the Apostle Paul explained, the natural man “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). Or, as C. S. Lewis put it, “The real trouble about fallen man is not the strength of his pleasures but the weakness of his reason.”3 At the same time, Lewis did not hold to a traditional Christian view of human depravity. For one thing, Lewis concluded that if people are depraved they cannot even decide between what is good and what is evil. “If God is wiser than we,” he stated, “His judgement must differ from ours on many things, and not least on good and evil. What seems to us good may therefore not be good in His eyes, and what seems to us evil may not be evil. On the other hand, if God’s moral judgement differs from ours so that our ‘black’ may be His ‘white,’ we can mean nothing by calling Him good.” This particular problem would affect our relationship to God, including our obedience to Him. “If He is not (in our sense) ‘good’ we shall obey, if at all, only through fear—and should be equally ready to obey an omnipotent Fiend. The doctrine of Total Depravity—when the consequence is drawn that, since we are totally depraved, our idea of good is worth simply nothing—may thus turn Christianity into a form of devil-worship.”4

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As John Tanner has suggested earlier in this volume, Lewis was affected by Milton’s notion of a “fortunate fall,” that there are things to be gained through redemption from the Fall that could not be enjoyed otherwise, as we teach in the LDS Church (see 2 Ne. 2:25; Moses 5:10-11; 6:48). Elder Orson F. Whitney observed that “The fall had a twofold direction— downward, yet forward. It brought man into the world and set his feet upon progression’s highway.”5 In Miracles Lewis addressed this matter in a most unusual way, but in a way that is particularly appealing to Latter-day Saints, who believe that the Savior’s atonement is indeed infinite and eternal (see D&C 76:22-24, 40-42; Moses 1:30-35). Lewis asked, essentially, What would be the state of things on other worlds that needed no redemption? He emphasized the Atonement as a means of not only righting the wrongs of life but of transforming and conforming us into the image of the New Being Himself. He explained, profoundly, that “God is not merely mending, not simply restoring a status quo. Redeemed humanity is to be something more glorious than unfallen humanity would have been, more glorious than any unfallen race now is. . . .The greater the sin, the greater the mercy: the deeper the death the brighter the re-birth. And this super-added glory will, with true vicariousness, exalt all creatures, and those who have never fallen will thus bless Adam’s fall.”6 While Lewis believed in the sovereignty of God, he also believed that men and women have the capacity to choose. Indeed, to choose Christ is to choose to be changed. The following expression, written by Lewis in a letter in 1942, is deeply comforting to the Latter-day Saints while at the same time supportive of our emphasis on the need to “endure to the end”: “No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us: it is the very sign of His presence.”7 Our sense of gratitude for the Lord’s mercies ought to create a ready acknowledgment of our utter ineptitude without him. “Every faculty you have,” Lewis taught, “your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you would not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already. So that when we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to its father and saying, ‘Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present.’ Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child’s present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction.”8 Does that sound a bit like Benjamin in the Book of Mormon? “I say unto you,” the righteous prophet-king declared, “that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants” (Mosiah 2:21).

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INSIDE OUT C. S. Lewis boldly refused to accept the impotent position of Jesus as merely a great moral teacher. Jesus of Nazareth, he declared, was either a God, a liar, or a madman.9 “Only two views of this man are possible,” he noted. “Either he was a raving lunatic of an unusually abominable type, or else He was, and is, precisely what He said. There is no middle way. If the records make the first hypothesis unacceptable, you must submit to the second. And if you do that, all else that is claimed by Christians becomes credible—that this Man, having been killed, was yet alive, and that His death, in some manner incomprehensible to human thought, has effected a real change in our relations to the ‘awful’ and ‘righteous’ Lord, and a change in our favour.”10 I have been stimulated over the years by Lewis’s discussions of Christ’s suffering and forsakenness in Gethsemane;11 the nature of repentance and how it is that Christ’s “advantage” allows him to “pay the debt”;12 and his provocative and memorable illustrations of how spiritual rebirth entails more than cosmetic or outward changes in behavior. 13 I want to refer to two of those metaphorical marvels. In speaking of the nature of spiritual rebirth, Lewis notes that we begin to become aware of changes taking place within us: We begin to notice besides our particular sinful acts, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are. This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected: I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an illtempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. . . . And if . . . what we are matters even more than what we do—if indeed, what we do matters chiefly as evidence of what we are—then it follows that the change which I most need to undergo is a change that my own direct, voluntary efforts cannot bring about. . . . I cannot, by direct moral effort, give myself new motives. After the first few steps in the Christian life we realize that everything which really needs to be done in our souls can be done only by God.14 The second literary/doctrinal gem begins with a discussion of the refinement of conscience and the putting off of the old self that accompany rebirth. “The terrible thing,” Lewis explains, “the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call ‘ourselves,’ to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be ‘good.’ We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way—centered on money or pleasure or ambition—and hoping, in spite

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of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do. As He said, a thistle cannot produce figs. If I am a field that contains nothing but grass-seed, I cannot produce wheat. Cutting the grass may keep it short: but I shall still produce grass and no wheat. If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface. I must be ploughed up and re-sown.”15 In other words, spiritual change is not merely a cosmetic alteration. It was President Ezra Taft Benson who taught: “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”16 GRACE AND WORKS From my reading of Lewis, I conclude that although there was no question in his mind that salvation was in Christ and that the renovation of men and women’s souls was the work of a God, that persons who chose to come unto Christ were expected to be more than grateful and passive observers of the changes taking place within them. “We profanely assume that divine and human action exclude one another like the actions of two fellow-creatures so that ‘God did this’ and ‘I did this’ cannot both be true of the same act except in the sense that each contributed a share.” He continued: “In the end we must admit a two-way traffic at the junction. . . . We have nothing that we have not received; but part of what we have received is the power of being something more than receptacles.”17 As Lewis stated elsewhere, “Christians have often disputed as to whether what leads the Christian home is good actions, or faith in Christ. I have no right really to speak on such a difficult question, but it does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary. . . . You see, we are now trying to understand, and to separate into water-tight compartments, what exactly God does and what man does when God and man are working together.”18 Latter-day Saints have often been critical of those who stress salvation by grace alone, while we have often-been criticized for a type of works-righteousness because we give work any significance at all. We believe that the gospel is, in fact, a gospel covenant. The Lord agrees to do for us what we could never do for ourselves—to forgive our sins, to lift our burdens, to renew our souls and re-create our nature, to raise us from the dead and qualify us for glory hereafter. Whereupon, we strive to do what we can do: have faith in Christ, repent of our sins, be baptized, love and serve one another, and do all in our power to put off the natural man and deny ourselves of ungodliness. In short, we believe that more is required of men and women than a verbal expression of faith in the Lord, more than a confession with the lips that we have received Christ into our hearts. Without question, the power to save us, to change us, to renew our souls, is in Christ. True faith, however, always manifests itself in faithfulness. Thus, the real question is not whether one is saved by grace or by works but rather, In whom do we trust? On whom do we rely? (See 1 Ne. 10:6; 2 Ne. 2:8; 31:19; Moro. 6:4).

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For us, few things would be more sinister than encouraging lip service to God while discouraging obedience and faithful discipleship. On the other hand, surely nothing could be more offensive to God than a smug self-assurance that comes from trusting in one’s own works or relying upon one’s own strength. What is perhaps the most well-known passage in LDS literature on this delicate matter is found in the Book of Mormon: “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23; see also 10:24; Alma 24:10-11). That is, above and beyond all we can do, we are saved by the grace of Christ; salvation is still the greatest of all the gifts of God (see D&C 6:13; 14:7). Further, the more we learn to trust the Lord and rely upon his merits and mercy, the less anxious we become about life here and hereafter. “Thus, if you have really handed yourself over to Him,” Lewis remarked, “it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way.”19 BEING CHRISTLIKE Let me turn now to Lewis’s teachings regarding our becoming like Christ. He wrote in The Problem of Pain that “We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the ‘intolerable compliment.’”20 From Miracles: “Christ, reascending from his great dive, is bringing up Human Nature with Him. Where He goes, it goes too. It will be made ‘like him’ (Philip. 3:21; 1 Jn. 3:1-2).” Lewis went on to say that eventually those who are redeemed in Christ will have the power to perform miracles, just as Christ did. “Christ’s isolation,” he continued, “is not that of a prodigy but of a pioneer. He is the first of His kind; He will not be the last.”21 From A Grief Observed: “Sometimes, Lord, one is tempted to say that if you wanted us to behave like the lilies of the field you might have given us an organization more like theirs. But that, I suppose, is just your grand experiment. Or no; not an experiment, for you have no need to find things out. Rather your grand enterprise. To make an organism which is also a spirit; to make that terrible oxymoron, a ‘spiritual animal.’ To take a poor primate, a beast with nerve-endings all over it, a creature with a stomach that wants to be filled, a breeding animal that wants its mate, and say, ‘Now get on with it. Become a god.’”22 From The Weight of Glory: “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 can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship. . . . There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations—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. . . . Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses.”23

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And from Mere Christianity: “Century by century God has guided nature up to the point of producing creatures which can (if they will) be taken right out of nature, turned into ‘gods.’”24 Being changed in Christ “is not a change from being brainy men to brainier men: it is a change that goes off in a totally different direction—a change from being creatures of God to being sons of God.”25 Now the point in Christianity which gives us the greatest shock is the statement that by attaching ourselves to Christ, we can ‘become Sons of God.’ Aren’t we Sons of God already? Surely the fatherhood of God is one of the main Christian ideas? Well, in a certain sense, no doubt we are sons of God already. I mean, God has brought us into existence and loves us and looks after us, and in that way is like a father. But when the Bible talks of our ‘becoming’ Sons of God, obviously it must mean something different. And that brings us up against the very centre of Theology. . . We don’t use the words begetting or begotten much in modern English, but everyone still knows what they mean. To beget is to become the father of: to create is to make. And the difference is this. When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. But when you make, you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, a man makes a wireless set. . . Now that is the first thing to get clear. What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God; just as what man makes is not man. That is why men are not Sons of God in the sense that Christ is. They may be like God in certain ways, but they are not things of the same kind. They are more like statues or pictures of God. . . And that is precisely what Christianity is about. The world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumour going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.26 We are not begotten by God, we are only made by Him: in our natural state we are not sons of God, only (so to speak) statues. . . . Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always has existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. We shall love the Father as He does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us. He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has.27 The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects

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back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.28 Latter-day Saints perk up and listen carefully to this kind of discussion. I honestly don’t know what Lewis meant fully (and certainly what he understood or intended) by these statements. The doctrine of the deification of man did not originate with Lewis, nor with the Latter-day Saints; it is to be found throughout Christian history. Whether Lewis would have agreed fully with the teachings of such notables as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr, Athanasius, and Augustine on deification I cannot tell. One of the tenets of our faith is that human spirits were born sons and daughters of God before this life, and if they will be born again now (see John 3:3) they can be empowered and transformed by Jesus Christ, becoming eventually as he is. B. H. Roberts, an early twentieth-century LDS Church leader wrote: “The term ‘father’ carries with it the notion of generation, begetting from one’s own person, springing from one’s own nature, and partaking of one’s own physical and mental qualities and perhaps likeness, but the term ‘creator’ does not necessarily convey that notion, since a created thing may be external to the nature of the being who created it; as, for example, when God created the heaven and the earth. In this case the heaven and the earth did not bear the image of God; nor was it made in his likeness, as the result was when God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness.’ So in relation to man; he begets a son or a daughter by act of generation; he is a father; and also, in a sense, a creator.”29 CONCLUSION C. S. Lewis was a practical theologian: he felt that men and women should find joy in living their lives today, here and now, and that they should not exist in a type of morbid fixation on happiness hereafter. “The world might stop in ten minutes,” he once declared; “meanwhile, we are to go on doing our duty. The great thing is to be found at one’s post as a child of God, living each day as though it were our last, but planning as though our world might last a hundred years.”30 Our Father in Heaven, who as Lewis taught is easy to please but hard to satisfy,31 will not allow those who come unto Him to remain as they are. “To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labor to make us lovable.”32 Jesus came to heal us with His love (see John 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:9; D&C 34:1-3) He came that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly (see John 10:10). Let me repeat: as C. S. Lewis observed, “that is precisely what Christianity is about. The world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumour going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.”33 That life, a new life in Christ, opens us to new feelings, new insights, and new perspectives on our existence here and hereafter. It enables us to see things as they really are. Thus Lewis confessed: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”34

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Robert L. Millet is dean of Religious Education and professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including The Mormon Faith: A New Look at Christianity. Notes 1. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 51. 2. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 59. 3. Cited in Terry W. Glaspey, Not a Tame Lion: The Spiritual Legacy of C. S. Lewis (Nashville: Cumberland House, 1996), p. 195. 4. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 33; see also p. 59; Christian Reunion and Other Essays (London: Collins, 1990), p. 60. 5. Cowley & Whitney on Doctrine , comp. Forace Green (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1963), p. 287. 6. C. S. Lewis, Miracles (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 162. 7. Letters of C. S. Lewis, ed. W. H. Lewis; rev. and enlarged ed., ed. Walter Hooper (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1993), p. 365. 8. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 126-27; see also p. 165. 9. See Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 55-56; The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, ed. Walter Hooper (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 105. 10. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 21. 11. See Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1992), pp. 42, 44. 12. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 59-61. 13. See ibid., pp. 165-66, 169-70. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid., p. 170. 16. Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, April 1985, p. 5. 17. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, pp. 49-50.

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18. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 131-32; see also Christian Reunion, p. 18. 19. Ibid. 20. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 38. 21. Lewis, Miracles, p. 178. 22. C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1994), p. 90. 23. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, pp. 39-40; emphasis in original. 24. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 188. 25. Ibid., p. 186. 26. Ibid., pp. 137-40. 27. Ibid., pp. 153-54. 28. Ibid., p. 176. 29. B. H. Roberts, The Seventy’s Course in Theology, Fifth Year (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1912), p. 47. 30. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 93. 31. See Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 174. 32. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 43. 33. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 140. 34. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, p. 106.

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10

SUMMING UP THE C. S. LEWIS CONFERENCE Andrew C. Skinner HOW DOES ONE SUM UP THE LIFE and thought of a Clive Staples Lewis, or even a brief conference about him—especially in just a few words? The first thing to say is “thank you” to all conferees, both those who spoke and those who listened. It was an interesting and insightful two days. A second thing to say is that our presenters—some of whom are genuine, bona fide experts on Lewis—truly educated us and reminded us of the depth and breadth of the great Christian apologist. The chapters in this volume reflect some of the finest thinking on Lewis. We express our special appreciation to Professor Christopher Mitchell of Wheaton College for an enlightening presentation on Lewis himself, and to Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who captivated us by capturing for us the essence of Christian discipleship from Lewis’s perspective as well as our own. It is something of a commentary on the wide-ranging thought of Lewis, as well as his wideranging influence, that our conference had thirteen different presentations, by twelve different presenters of three different Christian denominations, and only began to scratch the surface. The very fact that a conference was held to honor an Anglican churchman and Oxford don at Brigham Young University, an LDS Church-sponsored institution, is testimony to the fact that Lewis continues to have one of the broadest readerships of any twentieth century author. Our purpose in undertaking this conference was to both explore and explain Lewis’s thought, and try to understand why he has an LDS readership. Our purpose was not to canonize C. S. Lewis, but to appreciate him. As I hope was demonstrated at the conference, Latter-day Saints endorse the faith Lewis possessed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of us have enjoyed, and will continue to appreciate, and even cherish, many of Lewis’s insights. But we are not required to agree with everything Lewis has said. I think we are required to take him seriously. For, as the Book of Mormon teaches, Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil. . . But, behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. . . For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. (Moro. 7:12-13, 16)

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Surely, this describes the life and work of C. S. Lewis. Jesus as God incarnate was, for Lewis, the key doctrine of the Christian faith.1 It seems to me his whole-souled effort was to point us to the greatness of Christ and the salvific message of hope to be found in the doctrine of Christ. We see this effort reflected in his fiction, his didactic prose, and even in his correspondence. Lewis once received a letter from a woman in America (via the Macmillan Publishing Company) who wrote on behalf of her nine-year-old son because the young lad was concerned that he might be loving Aslan (the Christly lion of the Narnia chronicles) more than Jesus. The woman received a reply to her letter only ten days after Lewis got it, of which the following sentences are instructive: “Tell Laurence from me, with my love. . . . Even if he was loving Aslan more than Jesus (I’ll explain in a moment why he can’t really be doing this) he would not be an idol-worshipper. . . . But Laurence can’t really love Aslan more than Jesus, even if he feels that’s what he is doing. For the things he loves Aslan for doing or saying are simply the things Jesus really did and said. So when Laurence thinks he is loving Aslan, he is really loving Jesus: and perhaps loving Him more than he ever did before.”2 As we heard at the conference, part of Lewis’s genius was his ability to reduce the complex to the understandable. We admire his ability to act as a formidable advocate and champion of Christ and Christian values, for his ability to provide thoughtful reasons for the hope that is within us. Not only was he the champion of the common man but also he effectively dispelled the idea that Christianity was an intellectually inferior way of thinking. He was able to elucidate the gospel of Jesus Christ as he saw it from both his reading of holy scripture and from his own life experience. Lewis was a gifted communicator, a magnificent writer. And one of the things that built his prowess and made him a great writer was the fact that he was a great reader. He read constantly, he read widely, and he read with a pencil. Books were his love—good books, especially the classics. Lewis was opposed to reading commentaries and critiques on works before, and especially instead of, the primary works themselves. From the Magdalene College Magazine and Record of Cambridge University we find the following comment in a brief article entitled “In Memoriam: Professor C. S. Lewis”: There seemed to be nothing that he had not read—and everything that he had read seemed to be within his reach, ready to be recalled and put to use. . . . The enthusiasm and relish which C.L.S. brought to his reading, and that not only in fields where he was acknowledged master, were infectious. He did not regard himself as a scholar, but as a man of letters. The backgrounds of academic controversy, research and criticism were kept rigorously in their place. He spent his time reading texts rather than reading about them; and he annotated his own treasured copies with meticulous care—much to the profit of those to whom, with characteristic generosity, he was always willing to lend them. . . . It was this first handedness and deep original acquaintance with all the ‘great books’ of antiquity and the Middle Ages that made the privilege of reading with him a rare one indeed.3 Even at the end of his life, after Joy had died, after he had given up his post at Cambridge University and he and Warnie were alone at the Kilns, Lewis was busily engaged in reading. What he read was not fluff. He said in a letter toward the end of 1963, in the waning weeks

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of his life: “Don’t think I am not happy. I am re-reading the Iliad and enjoying it more than I have ever done.”4 One of the resolves that comes out of a conference like this one is to read, read, read; read more widely and more deeply; read the great works of history and literature. Perhaps, if we want to honor the memory of such men as C. S. Lewis and try to make their gifts our own, we can teach our students and children to love learning, and, of course, read to them. Interestingly, in his published writings Lewis doesn’t talk explicitly about purposeful personal Bible study. But his familiarity with the text, especially the New Testament, is evident in every one of his works. It is well known that he reread from all of the books he enjoyed the most, and biblical books were no exception. We know from personal letters and comments of his biographers that Lewis read the Bible devotionally every day, except when he was ill. He especially enjoyed the Psalms, the Gospels (particularly Mark), and the writings of Paul. In some of his letters he mentioned that he read the Latin Vulgate version of the New Testament, and encouraged his young correspondents to do the same. On one occasion he wrote, “By the way good easy Latin reading to keep one’s Latin up with is the New Testament in Latin. Any Roman Catholic bookshop will have one: say you want a copy of the ‘Vulgate (VULGATE) New Testament.’ Acts goes specially well in Latin.”5 While it is true that Lewis read and reread the New Testament in the ancient Greek and Latin languages, those who knew him well have noted that he would read from any version available. He read before evening prayer so as to approach God with an active and spiritually engaged mind. Textual understanding was a fundamental part of him, but reading the scripture was also reinvigorating and energizing to his personal faith. In other words, the great Christian thinker and apologist found vital personal nourishment in the scriptures. As he said, “A man can’t be always defending the truth; there must be a time to feed on it.”6 Lewis told us what he thought of the Bible in a chapter entitled “Scripture” in his Reflections on the Psalms . He believed it contained the inspired word of God. And thus he observed, “Those who talk of reading the Bible ‘as literature’ sometimes mean, I think, reading it without attending to the main thing it is about; like reading Burke with no interest in politics, or reading the Aeneid with no interest in Rome.”7 But even more than containing the inspired word of God, for Lewis the Bible carried God’s divine message of salvation embodied in Christ. Thus, in one sense the Bible was only the vehicle to Christ. Said Lewis, “It is Christ himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him.”8 I hasten to add, parenthetically, that we ought to note the important role Lewis ascribed to good teachers! But the main point for Lewis was the association with Christ, inherent in all the scriptures in one way or another. An example of this conviction is found in Lewis’s introduction to his Reflections on the Psalms , where he observed that while not all people may be able to appreciate the book of Psalms for its poetic quality, “Even those Christians who cannot enjoy it will respect it; for Our Lord, soaked in the poetic tradition of His country, delighted to use it.”9

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Lewis’s books are so vibrant and relevant to Christians trying to live the gospel in the modern world because they are so full of camouflaged or carefully re-crafted and internalized scriptural concepts and tenets. It seems to me that Lewis filled the role of being every person’s practical and palatable biblical exegete (though one suspects he would not have liked to accept that designation readily). He teaches us the practical application of a pure biblical Christianity. He elucidated the gospel as he found it laid out in the Bible, and then explained how and why it could and should be lived in modern times. He was a master of analogy and metaphor. And somehow the metaphors in his writing ultimately point us to heaven. As one scholar observed, “Lewis has probably accomplished as much as any modern writer, both in his fiction and in his sermons, to make heaven believable.”10 But perhaps all of this misses the most significant point of all. Lewis’s writings are so good because he was so good. He spoke with insight and power because he was able to bring a brilliant, logical mind in harmony with the ideals he was teaching. He practiced what he preached. This is something I would hope we also take away from this conference. Behind the intellectual brilliance is goodness. Lewis’s one-time secretary, Walter Hooper, wrote of his mentor in the introduction to Lewis’s book The Weight of Glory the following tribute: “Perhaps it is worth recording that I knew—I just knew—that no matter how long I lived, no matter who else I met, I should never be in the company of such a supremely good human being again. Of all my memories this is the most indelible and is certain to remain so.”11 Though there has been some controversy surrounding Hooper, there seems to be absolutely no question that Lewis was a great Christian scholar because he tried to be a good Christian. Again, from the Magdalene College Magazine and Record of Cambridge University we read: “His ‘mere Christianity’ was not an easy affair, the gesture of a clever broadcaster, the fantasy of an imaginative fiction writer, but a demanding life, expressing itself in hidden acts of almost quixotic generosity and kindness. Beneath the gusto and the bravura of his personality lay a deeply willed humility. He taught ‘Christes lore, . . . But first he followed it himself.’”12 Those who know something of Lewis’s life have perhaps noticed an aspect that goes almost unnoticed but tells us much about his basic attitude toward people. Personally, I continue to be impressed by this one thing. I am speaking here about the hours and hours Lewis spent simply answering correspondence, letters and notes from people living everywhere, and from all different age groups—particularly children. This is not only mind-boggling but truly touching and it bespeaks his genuine Christian attitude and sense of responsibility to minister to human beings. (Trust me on this point—my secretary can barely get me to answer even the most critical e-mail messages.) We have learned how, over the span of one two-week period, Lewis answered over two thousand letters with hand-written responses. One can scarcely conceive of the time and effort that must have taken. Furthermore, it has been said that Lewis possessed a quick wit and demonstrated a genuine and hearty warmth upon meeting people. He took life seriously because he believed it determined the eternal destiny of one’s immortal soul, but, he said, “This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play.” Lewis was fun-loving and believed that all things created by God were good in themselves and were to be enjoyed by mortals. These

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things only became bad through misuse.17 In The Screwtape Letters, Lewis has the senior devil Screwtape saying to his nephew, Wormword: “Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the [God’s] ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same it is [God’s] invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden.”14 Walter Hooper confirmed that Lewis truly believed that if we did our best to perform whatever God demanded, we should “at least enjoy the good He sends us.”15 Of course there was always the risk that people might be tempted to exceed the bounds of moderation or propriety. But that is the nature of this mortal existence. Though life is a test, it should be lived to the fullest. Lewis thought it a tragedy that some individuals were anxious to avoid suffering rather than experience delight. Several of Lewis’s friends and biographers indicate that he had fun with people, though never at their expense. Again, said Walter Hooper, “I have tried to indicate from personal recollections that Dr. Johnson might well have had such a man as C. S. Lewis in mind in suggesting that ‘the size of a man’s understanding might always be justly measured by his mirth.’”16 Hooper illustrated his point with a delightful example. I see, for instance, from my diary of 7 June 1963 that during a longish visit with Lewis we drank what seemed gallons of tea. After a while I asked to be shown the “bathroom,” forgetting that in most homes the bathroom and the toilet are separate rooms. With a kind of mock formality, Lewis showed me to the bathroom, pointed to the tub, flung down a pile of towels, and closed the door behind me. I returned to his sitting-room to say that it was not a bath I wanted but. . . . “Well, sir ‘choose you this day,’” said Lewis, bursting with laughter as he quoted the prophet Joshua, “that will break you of those silly American euphemisms. And now, where is it you wanted to go?”17 Lewis possessed a sincere interest in the pursuits of others rather than his own. Even though he could not disguise the formidable range of his learning, nor his towering intellect made obvious through penetrating questions, he cared deeply about people just as Jesus calls each one of us to care. Lewis believed in individual accountability but corporate responsibility— knowing that salvation in Christ could never be anything but a joint venture. Lewis’s caring attitude was grounded in far more than just words; he donated book royalties to charity. In a memorial service held for Lewis on 7 December 1963 in the Chapel of Magdalen College, his friend Austin Farrer said of him: His characteristic attitude to people in general was one of consideration and respect. He did his best for them and he appreciated them. He paid you the compliment of attending to your words. He did not pretend to read your heart. He was endlessly generous. He gave without stint, to all who seemed to care for them, the riches of his mind and the effort of his wit: and where there was need, he gave his money. I will not say what I know about his charities. When he had entered into any relationship his patience and his loyalty were inexhaustible. He really was a Christian—by which I mean, he never thought he had the right to stop.18

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One senses that C. S. Lewis died as he would have wanted—in his long-time home, with his brother, Warnie, near at hand. But I doubt that anyone obsesses over his death, because we know that he continues to live. Judging from his writings, he himself was fixated on the life beyond, and thus his writings point us to that hope made possible by the living Christ. Andrew C. Skinner is chair of the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. He holds graduate degrees from the Iliff School of Theology, Harvard University, and the University of Denver, and is the author of numerous publications. Notes 1. See Terry W. Glaspey, Not a Tame Lion, The Spiritual Legacy of C. S. Lewis (Nashville: Cumberland House Publishing Inc., 1996), pp. 116-17. 2. C. S. Lewis Letters to Children, eds. Lyle W. Dorsett and Marjorie Lamp Mead (New York: Touchstone, 1985), p. 52. 3. Magdalene College Magazine and Record, p. 13. 4. C. S. Lewis, as quoted in The C. S. Readers’ Encyclopedia, ed. Jeffrey D. Schultz and John G. West Jr. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998), p. 64. 5. Dorsett and Mead, Letters to Children, pp. 71-72. 6. C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1986), p. 7. 7. Ibid., pp. 2-3. 8. Lewis, as quoted in The C. S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia, p. 98. 9. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms , p. 5. 10. Walter Hooper, “Introduction,” in C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 19. 11. Walter Hooper, “Introduction,” p. 12. 12. Magdalene College Magazine and Record, p. 14. 13. See Glaspey, Not a Tame Lion, p. 195. 14. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 44. 15. Walter Hooper, “Introduction,” p. 7.

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16. Ibid., p. 15. 17. Ibid., pp. 8-9. 18. Austin Farrer, as quoted in C. S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide, p. 120.

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APPENDIX 1

THE LIFE OF C. S. LEWIS: A Chronology of Events ANGLICAN CHURCHMAN, PROFESSOR, literary critic, novelist, and theologian, Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, on 29 November 1898. Known as “Jack” from his youth, his amazingly productive life as a scholar was shaped by several significant events, chief among them being his formal education in England and his conversion to Christianity. As a boy Lewis took after his mother and father, and read voraciously—a practice he continued his whole life. He spent many happy hours with his brother and lifelong friend, Warren (“Warnie”). Together as youth they drew pictures, wrote stories, and created the imaginary world of “Boxen.” Raised in a Christian home, Lewis turned away from the faith of his forebears (which included a string of clergymen) after the death of his mother. He was devastated by her passing and never became close to his father. In 1911 Lewis was sent to Cherbourg, a prep school in the town of Malvern. After discovering Norse and Celtic mythology, he began to view Christianity as one of the many, if not inferior, myths of world history. If God existed, he was certainly a comic sadist. Lewis’s adolescence was a difficult period for him in some ways, but extremely important in others. In 1914 Lewis went to study with William T. Kirkpatrick (1848-1921), one of the seminal figures in all of Lewis’s educational experience. “The Great Knock,” as Kirkpatrick was called, helped to train Lewis’s brilliant mind and to hone his powers of logic, reason, precision, and persuasion. Under his tutelage Lewis mastered languages and texts (Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and others) while managing to cultivate a romantic, imaginative, poetic side. In 1917 Lewis entered University College, Oxford, but after one term went off to France to fight in World War I with the Somerset Light Infantry. He was wounded in April 1918 and returned to Oxford in 1919, after his recovery. His brilliance won for him First Class degrees in classics, philosophy, and English. Even while a student, he began his publishing career by producing his first collection of poetry entitled Spirits in Bondage, under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton (see Appendix 2). Between 1925 and 1954 Lewis was fellow of English language and literature at Magdalen College, Oxford, an academic post that allowed him the scholarly freedom and economic security to produce many of his most significant works. Some of his colleagues criticized him, however, for turning his considerable talents to the defense of Christianity instead of putting his energies wholly into his academic discipline. This criticism was manifest in Oxford’s refusal to ever grant him a professorship. Nevertheless, in 1954 Lewis was appointed professor of Medieval and Renaissance literature at Cambridge University, where he remained until his retirement on account of poor health just before his death. Lewis’s conversion to Christianity is described by him without drama or fanfare. His efforts to keep the “Hound of Heaven” at bay gave way slowly but surely. In 1916 he found in a

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railway station a copy of George MacDonald’s Phantastes and read it, at first appreciating its style and divine symbolism, and later referring to it as “holiness.” As an Oxford don he began to find his own arguments against God philosophically untenable. Then his friend and colleague, J. R. R. Tolkien, was able to persuade him that the Christian “myth” was different from all others because it was true, the World was made flesh! Lewis’s spiritual pilgrimage, his conversion first to what he called theism and then to full Christianity, is recounted primarily in two places: his semi-autobiographical work of fiction entitled The Pilgrim’s Regress (1933) and his actual autobiography, Surprised by Joy (1955). The former discusses those inconsolable longings which all of us have from time to time in this life, longings for and pointers to God (which Lewis calls “Joy”). The later book describes the author’s conversion in very philosophical, almost clinical, terms. In Surprised by Joy Lewis pinpoints for us the exact time of his full acceptance of Christianity. It came during a day trip he and his brother made one afternoon to the Whipsnade Zoo, forty miles from Oxford. As Warnie drove the motorcycle, and Jack sat in the sidecar alone with his thoughts as biting wind whipped past, he considered the issue which had finally come to dominate his thoughts. Namely, who was Jesus Christ? Was he truly God incarnate? In a very matter-of-fact tone Lewis said of the experience, “When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did.”1 Though Lewis’s description of his conversion sounds matter-of-fact, there was nothing matter-of-fact about his commitment to the faith or the richness of his life as a Christian. He had wonderful friends who influenced him greatly. He was part of a group, the “Inklings,” that met weekly to talk about life and to read and discuss one another’s work. It included his brother Warren (1895-1973), Tolkien (1892-1973), a Merton College English scholar named Hugo Dyson (1896-1975), the novelist Charles Williams (1886-1945), the philosopher Owen Barfield (1898-1998), and others. In their company Lewis refined ideas which later came out in print, some of the most articulate and helpful discussions of Christian principles found anywhere, as well as some of the most carefully reasoned defenses of belief in supernatural Christianity ever penned. In 1956 Lewis married an American woman who had converted to Christianity from Judaism, and whom he had first met in 1952, Joy Davidman Gresham. With her he found a fulness to life he had not known previously. When she died of cancer in 1960, an immense gap was left in his world, from which he never seems to have recovered. Just three years later he passed away without much notice, primarily because President John F. Kennedy was assassinated the same day. His funeral was attended by only a few close friends. Not even his brother, Warren, made it because his grief was too overwhelming. And yet, even in death Lewis left a message of hope for all he touched. On his tombstone is inscribed a phrase from Shakespeare: “Men must endure their going hence.” For C. S. Lewis that “hence” was to a place with God and his beloved Joy. Following is a list of major events in the life of C. S. Lewis: 1898

Born in Belfast, Ireland, to Albert and Florence

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Hamilton Lewis; younger brother of Warren (born 1895).

1905

Lewis family moves to a new house called “Little Lea,” on the outskirts of Belfast. Many happy hours were spent there.

1908

Death of Lewis’s mother, Flora Hamilton Lewis. Lewis is shipped off to England to attend Wynward School under the direction of a brutal and emotionally unstable headmaster.

1911

Lewis is sent to prep school (Cherbourg) in Malvern.

1914

Lewis makes a new acquaintance, Arthur Greeves (1895-1966), with whom he remains close friends his entire life. Lewis begins studying with William T. Kirkpatrick (“the Great Knock”) and blossoms intellectually.

1916

Lewis reads George MacDonald’s Phantastes, which he regards as a “great literary experience.”

1917

Lewis begins his university studies at Oxford. After only eight weeks he is enrolled in the Officer’s Training Corp where he meets Edward “Paddy” Moore and Moore’s mother and sister, Mrs. Janie Moore and Maureen. This begins a close relationship with Mrs. Moore that will last until her death in 1951. In November 1917 Lewis arrives in France with his regiment, the Somerset Light Infantry, to fight on the front lines in WWI.

1918

Lewis receives serious wounds in the Battle of Arras on April 15. He is sent back to England for a long period of convalescence. Paddy Moore is killed in action, and Lewis fulfills his commitment to Paddy to look after his mother. Lewis’s relationship with his father is strained to the breaking point as Albert refuses to visit his recovering son. They begin a reconciliation at the end of the year.

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1919

Lewis returns to Oxford as his brother, Warren, returns to his army post. Lewis regards himself as an atheist. He decides to pursue an academic career. His first book of poetry is published.

1921

Lewis wins the Chancellor’s English Essay Prize, though he declines to admit the existence of God in his essay on the assigned topic of “Optimism.”

1922

Lewis is awarded a B.A. degree with First Class Honours in classics.

1923

He is awarded another First Class Honours degree in English.

1925

Lewis is elected to a fellowship at Magdalen College, Oxford. Up to this point he has been supporting himself, Janie Moore, and her daughter on a meager yearly allowance from his father, Albert.

1926

Lewis begins to study carefully the four Gospels after a conversation with colleague T. D. Weldon who, though an atheist himself, indicates there is substantial evidence to regard the Gospels as history.

1929

Lewis becomes a theist, converted to a belief in God though not yet a belief in Christ as the Son of God. He describes the experience as one in which he finally acknowledged the unrelenting approach of Him whom he had so earnestly desired not to meet. Later that year, Lewis visits his father who is taken seriously ill and dies. His father’s death actually strengthens Lewis’s vague but unfolding belief in a personal immortality.

1930

Lewis and Janie Moore (along with her

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daughter) purchase their own home, the Kilns, in Headington Quarry about three miles from the center of Oxford. It is decided that Warren will live with them after his retirement from active duty in the military in 1932.

1931

During a discussion with friends J. R. R. Tolkien and Hugo Dyson during the evening of September 19, Lewis has a religious experience and believes he has received a message from God concerning the truth of Christianity. His conversion is completed nine days later during a trip to the Whipsnade Zoo. For the first time since 1914 he takes communion on Christmas Day.

1939

Lewis’s friend Charles Williams moves to Oxford from London and becomes a core member of the Inklings, a private study group that evolved during the 1930s and began meeting every Thursday evening, as well as on Tuesdays just before lunch at a pub named the Eagle and Child. In 1962, when the pub is remodeled, the day meetings move to another pub called the Lamb and Flag. Lewis’s association with the men of this informal society becomes a cherished one.

1941

Lewis is invited to give talks to those serving in the Royal Air Force (WWII has broken out in 1939), a practice he continues throughout the rest of the war. He also agrees to do a series of broadcasts for the BBC, which eventually reach millions of listeners. These addresses, delivered in 1941, 1942, and 1944, were later compiled and published in 1952 as the book Mere Christianity.

1942

The Oxford Socratic Club is formed as a forum for students to discuss their religious questions. Lewis is invited to become president and university sponsor of the club. It attracts famous and gifted speakers, but declines after

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Lewis leaves Oxford in 1954.

1945

Charles Williams dies unexpectedly and Lewis is deeply grieved. As a memorial, Lewis produces a volume of collected eassys in honor of his friend, Essays Presented to Charles Williams (published in 1947), with contributions from some of the literary greats of his age: Dorothy Sayers, J. R. R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Gervase Mathew, Warren Lewis, and himself.

1947

Janie Moore spends much of the year sick in bed. Lewis’s relationship with her becomes strained as she becomes more autocratic and demanding. In addition, Warren’s alcoholism becomes worse and he is often admitted to the hospital.

1948

Lewis debates Elizabeth Anscombe, a Roman Catholic scholar and later professor of philosophy at Cambridge. Opinions differ about who won, but Lewis feels defeated, believing his intellectual proof for the existence of God to be less than stellar. As a result, he not only feels humbled but also revises a new edition of his book Miracles (reissued in 1960), the last of his purely theological works.

1950

In January Lewis receives the first of many letters from an American woman whom he will eventually marry, Joy Davidman Gresham. In April Janie Moore, age seventy-eight, has to be put in a nursing home.

1951

Janie Moore dies which, though saddening, allows Lewis a newfound freedom.

1952

Lewis finally meets Joy Gresham in person; she spends two weeks at the Kilns in the fall and again at Christmas-time.

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1953

Joy Gresham is divorced from her husband, Bill Gresham. She, along with her two sons, moves back to London, England.

1954

Lewis’s admirers at Cambridge persuade the university to create for him a professorship in Medieval and Renaissance studies. He accepts it and moves from Magdalen College, Oxford, to Magdalene College, Cambridge. He decides to continue living at the Kilns on weekends but in Cambridge during the school week.

1955

Joy and her two boys move to Headington, close to Lewis.

1956

Lewis decides to marry Joy in a quiet civil ceremony so that she and the boys can remain in England. He insists it is purely a legality. The ceremony in April is kept so quiet that even Warren does not know about it. Later that year Joy is taken ill and diagnosed with cancer. Her illness and suffering make Lewis aware of his love for her.

1957

Lewis and Joy are married in a religious ceremony. Joy moves to the Kilns and begins experiencing a miraculous remission and recovery.

1959

Jack and Joy Lewis spend many happy months together, but after a vacation to Ireland Joy is told that the cancer has returned.

1960

Lewis and Joy take one last trip together to Greece, a place they have always wanted to see. Joy is in and out of the hospital. She passes away on July 13, and Lewis is overcome with grief. He chronicles his suffering in A Grief Observed, published in 1961.

1961

Lewis is taken ill and told he needs an operation, but his health is too poor. He is forbidden to return to Cambridge until his condition improves. He refuses to give up

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smoking (something he has enjoyed since age twelve), claiming it will make him unbearably bad-tempered. He continues to write and produces two manuscripts that will be published posthumously, The Discarded Image (1964) and Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (1964).

1962

Lewis improves enough to return to Cambridge for a short time. In mid-July he suffers kidney failure and a heart attack, and is believed to be dying. Miraculously, he emerges from a coma immediately after receiving the sacrament of extreme unction (Last Rights), begins to improve, and returns to the Kilns with a nurse.

1963

A thirty-one-year-old American schoolteacher, Walter Hooper, volunteers to act as Lewis’s secretary for a brief period. Lewis sends a letter of resignation to Cambridge University in early August. He attends his last meeting of the Inklings on November 18. On November 22 he dies at the Kilns. The financial estate he leaves behind is found not to be very large because he has given away a good share of his considerable literary earnings.

Note 1. C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1956), p. 237. APPENDIX 2

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WRITINGS OF C. S. LEWIS C. S. LEWIS’S REMARKABLE AND wide-ranging intellect and interests are nowhere better seen than in the number and kind of publications he authored in his relatively short sixty-five years. His books include children’s stories, science fiction, literary criticism, poetry, religious works, autobiography, and letters. Professor Lewis’s first work of prose, also his first Christian book, was The Pilgrim’s Regress, published in 1933. It is the fictional, though semi-autobiographical, story of a boy named John who journeys away from Christianity (opposite of the pilgrim in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress), searches for joy, and finds it. In his first important volume of literary criticism, The Allegory of Love, published in 1936 to scholarly accolades, Lewis examined the theme of love in medieval literature. His first science fiction novel, Out of the Silent Planet, published in 1938, describes three scientists who traveled to Mars to find strange creatures living there. The 1940s witnessed the publication of some of Professor Lewis’s major reflections on Christianity, including The Problem of Pain (1940), The Screwtape Letters (1942), The Abolition of Man (1943), and Miracles (1947). One of his most powerful and insightful books, Mere Christianity, is a collection of BBC addresses and was published in 1952. Between 1950 and 1956, Lewis wrote a series of children’s books called The Chronicles of Narnia. These combine fantasy and myth with Christian doctrines and principles to help prepare young people to recognize for themselves Christianity when they see it. Following is a list of Professor Lewis’s major publications, including the years in which they appeared and into what genre or category of writing they fall. We have also included some works published posthumously, such as collections of Lewis’s letters and essays, and by whom they were edited. 1919 Spirits in Bondage (poetry), under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton 1926 Dymer (poetry), under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton 1933 The Pilgrim’s Regress (fiction) 1936 The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition (literary criticism) 1938 Out of the Silent Planet (fiction) 1939 Rehabilitations and Other Essays (literary criticism) 1939 The Personal Heresy (literary criticism) 1940 The Problem of Pain (theology) 1942

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The Screwtape Letters (fiction/theology) 1942 A Preface to “Paradise Lost” (literary criticism) 1942 The Case for Christianity (theology) 1943 Christian Behavior (theology) 1943 The Abolition of Man (theology) 1943 Perelandra (fiction) 1944 Beyond Personality (theology) 1945 That Hideous Strength (fiction) 1945 The Great Divorce (fiction/theology) 1946 George MacDonald: An Anthology (theology) 1947 Miracles (theology) 1947 Essays Presented to Charles Williams (literary criticism) 1948 Arthurian Torso (literary criticism) 1949 The Weight of Glory (theology) 1950 The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, volume one of The Chronicles of Narnia (fiction) 1951 Prince Caspian, volume two of The Chronicles (fiction) 1952 The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, volume three of The Chronicles (fiction) 1979 They Stand Together: The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (autobiographical), edited by Walter Hooper1985Boxen (fiction), edited by Walter Hooper1985Letters to Children (autobiographical), edited by Lyle W. Dorsett and Marjorie Lamp Mead1986Present Concerns (theology), edited by Walter Hooper1988Letters of C. S. Lewis and Don Giovanni Calabria (autobiography), translated and edited by Martin Moynihan1990Christian Reunion (theology), edited by Walter Hooper1991All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis 1922-1927 (autobiography), edited by Walter Hooper

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Excerpts from Perelandra by C. S. Lewis are used by permission of The Bodley Head. Excerpts from Pilgrim’s Regress by C. S. Lewis are used by permission of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (North American rights only.) Excerpts from A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis are used by permission of Faber and Faber. (British rights only.) Excerpts from Narrative Poems by C. S. Lewis, copyright 1969 and renewed 1997 by C. S. Lewis PTE Ltd. reprinted by permission of Harcourt, Inc. (North American rights only.) Excerpts from Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by C. S. Lewis, copyright 1956 by C. S. Lewis PTE Ltd. and renewed 1984 by Arthur Owen Barfield, reprinted by permission of Harcourt, Inc. (North American rights only.) Excerpts from the following works are used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.: Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis Christian Reunion by C. S. Lewis (U.K. and Commonwealth rights only) C. S. Lewis: Companion and Guide by George MacDonald The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis (U.K. and Commonwealth rights only) George MacDonald: An Anthology by C. S. Lewis God in the Dock by C. S. Lewis (U.K. and Commonwealth rights only) The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis, copyright 1961 by N. W. Clerk The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis Letters of C. S. Lewis by C. S. Lewis (U.K. and Commonwealth rights only) Letters to Children by C. S. Lewis (U.K. and Commonwealth, excluding Canada, rights only) Letters to Malcolm by C. S. Lewis (U.K. and Commonwealth rights only) Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

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Miracles by C. S. Lewis Narrative Poems by C. S. Lewis (U.K. and Commonwealth rights only) Pilgrim’s Regress by C. S. Lewis (U.K. and Commonwealth rights only) Present Concerns by C. S. Lewis (U.K. and Commonwealth rights only) The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis Reflections on the Psalms by C. S. Lewis (U.K. and Commonwealth rights only) The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis (world rights, excluding USA) The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis (U.K. and Commonwealth, excluding Canada, rights only) Excerpts from Letters to Children by C. S. Lewis and The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis are used by permission of Macmillan. (North American rights only.) Excerpts from A Preface to Paradise Lost by C. S. Lewis, 1942, are used by permission of Oxford University Press.