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A B O U T THE AUTHOR

C . . S . LEWIS (1898-1963) attained i n t e r n a t i o n a l recognition for an i m p o r t a n t collection of beloved works both p o p u l a r and scholarly. His forty books include these classics: The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity, A Grief Observed, and Surprised by Joy. To date, the collected works of Lewis have sold more than two h u n d r e d million copies worldwide. Born in Belfast, N o r t h e r n Ireland, C . . S . Lewis sixty-five years in O x f o r d , England. He is widely recognized o n e of the most articulate Christians of the twentieth century.

the four loves

C.S.LEWIS
Study Guide

. the love in which our experience seems to differ least from that of the animals. . Lewis gives two examples. 4 . . Nothing in Man is either worse or better for being shared with the beasts. . and only these. When we blame a man for being "a mere animal. What are they? • What is common to all the objects of storge? I begin with . Let me add at once that I do not on that account give it a lower value.LESSON ONE T h e Four Loves Study Guide LESSON ONE Affection • 4 LESSON T W O Friendship • 12 LESSON THREE Erotic Love • 18 LESSON FOUR Selfless Love • 26 In the words of Lewis . C. S." we mean not that he displays animal characteristics (we all do) but that he displays these. Affection • What does the Greek word storge mean? • Who can be loved with storge? • This love ignores even the barriers between species.

In my experience it is Affection that creates this taste. to produce it in public is like getting your household furniture out for a move. old jokes. —C. the sound of a sewingmachine. soft slippers. old clothes. people who. would have had nothing to do with each other. then to endure. but it looks shabby or tawdry or grotesque in the sunshine. The especial glory of Affection is that it can unite those who most emphatically. S.) • C. What are these expressions? slinks or seeps through our lives. It did very well in its place. Lewis relates the central meaning of the word storge by providing two familiar images. are not. a toy left on the lawn. S. the thump of a sleepy dog's tail on the kitchen floor. even comically. they're not clever enough. L E W I S . teaching us first to notice. T H E HUMBLEST LOVE Affection would not be affection if it was loudly and frequently expressed. private things.) • The relationship between storge and Eros can be seen in their two common expressions. . Affection broadens our minds. What are these images? • What is the "feeling" of storge? • What are some of the word pictures that Lewis uses to liken this love to our emotions? • How is affection related to the other loves? (Reference Lewis's example of gin and mixed drinks. The truly wide taste in humanity will find something to appreciate in the cross-section of humanity whom one has to meet every day. if they had not found themselves put down by fate in the same household or community. The Four Loves Lewis memorably describes affection as "something that oils the wheels of life. Affection almost 5 . .on occasions where the specifically human was demanded. It lives with humble un-dress. (When we call him "brutal" we usually mean that he commits cruelties impossible to most real brutes." How does he compare storge to agape? What can bring about familiarity in our lives? What two things can familiarity teach us? In the words of Lewis .

What are these four characteristics? • The mother believed that signs of affection "solve all problems and remove all tensions." In fact. The egregious Mr. and almost everyone expects to be. . I am an oldster myself and might be expected to take the oldsters' side. odder than you could have believed and worth far more than we guessed. It never occurs to him to ask whether. ruthless interruptions. ridicule of things the young take seriously—sometimes of their religion—insulting references to their friends. all provide an easy answer to the question "Why are they always out? Why do they like every house better than their home?" Who does not prefer civility to barbarism? • What does affection require. but in fact I have been far more impressed by the bad manners of parents to children than by those of children to parents. LEWIS • What assumptions are often made about storge? • In Lewis's example of the "sacrificial" mother and the "unappreciative" daughter. offered to any other young people. according to Lewis. Yes. Who has not been the embarrassed guest at family meals where the father or mother treated their grown-up offspring with an incivility which. They are themselves. both in public and in private? • According to Lewis. then to enjoy. —C. what mistakes did the mother make in the relationship? 7 . party"? 8 I have said that almost anyone may be the object of Affection. no. he has ever done or said anything that could excite love. flat contradictions. since the first day the boy can remember. . . S. and finally to appreciate. He highlights the important characteristics of affection." Made for us? Thank God. would simply have terminated the acquaintance? Dogmatic assertions on matters which the children understand and their elders don't. the people who "happen to be there. Lewis says that we must be on our guard concerning the resemblance between storge and agape. . • At this point. what must be true about "those who leave their manners behind them when they come home from the . what usually happens? In the words of Lewis . We hear a great deal about the rudeness of the rising generation. it is "unnatural" for a boy not to love his own father. Pontifex in The Way of All Flesh is outraged to discover that his son does not love him.then to smile at.

self-denial. What are they? • Why does Lewis have such disdain for the "sentimentality" of storge? In the words of Lewis . familiar faces" to become brighter or more beautiful. and give and take. We feed children in order that they may soon be able to feed themselves. continually stimulating mere Affection when it fades and restraining it when it forgets or would defy the art of love. patience. that is. —C. you need justice." You need "common sense. what is a threat to affection? 9 . . Instead. . what was the "natural" state of Jesus Christ? • Storge (in its natural condition) displays characteristics that are similar to those of love. You need "decency. We don't want the "old. and the continual inter10 The jealousy of Affection is closely connected with its reliance on what is old and familiar. You need "give and take". S. what should parents labor to do? • What two things might happen in the lives of those who cannot cope with the idea that they are no longer necessary? • What are the emotions of "wounded" storge? • In a different sense.XXX The proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gift." There is no disguising the fact that this means goodness. Affection produces happiness if—and only if—there is common sense. the old jokes and interests to be replaced by exciting novelties. and "decency. what does he believe about most neuroses? • In ordinary people. humility. The hour when we can say "They need me no longer" should be our reward. LEWIS • According to Lewis." that is. reason. we teach them in order that they may soon not need our teaching. the old ways to be changed even for the better. what is "the yielding to temptation"? • What is the "natural" state of man without any spiritual intervention? • According to Lewis. • Lewis does not think the twisted states of affection should be labeled as pathological or neurotic.

If we try to live by Affection alone. in itself. it won't necessarily go right.vention of a far higher sort of love than Affection. "Left to its merely natural state. not a main course in life's banquet. can ever be. . How have you experienced this affection in your own life? • Have you ever experienced unconverted or uncorrected storge? If so. Without Eros none of us would have been begotten and without Affection none of us would have been reared. That is the whole point. but we can live and breed without Friendship." How has this come about? • What is the peculiarity of friendship? In the words of Lewis . . a diversion." QUESTIONS FOR CONTEMPLATION LESSON TWO Friendship • Think through the things you have learned about storge. Affection will "go bad on us. He concludes. something that fills up the chinks of one's time. what emotions did you feel? • Lewis characterizes storge as being ambivalent. • What has modern-day thinking done to the way we see friendship between those of the same gender? Points to Remember (What Have I Learned?) Points of Response (What Must I Do?) Points of Reflection (How Should I Pray?) 1 1 12 ." What must we do to make storge "go right" in our lives? CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING: • What is the meaning of the Greek word philia? • Why is it harder to talk about philia than storge or Eros? • According to Lewis. "Friendship is something quite marginal.

. ** A man's personality Enjoy Dislike ** A man's personality ** A man 's conversation How do the circumstances and logistics of life affect companionship versus friendship? How does friendship arise out of companionship? In our own time Friendship arises in the same way. And to like doing what must be done is a characteristic that has survival value. Lewis explains that we can: 13 Does Lewis believe that friendship can exist between a man and a woman? Why do some people have difficulty believing this? What is the "soil" from which friendships grow? In history. We had to plan the hunt and the battle. All who share it will be our companions. common studies. we had to talk about them. We had to. Do you love me? means Do you see the same truth? —C. We liked this even better. but one or two or three who share something more will be our Friends.. even a common recreation. How does Lewis define these terms? We may enjoy another's company without developing a friendship. LEWIS Lewis describes the "pre-history" of friendship: In early communities the co-operation of the males as hunters or fighters was no less necessary than the begetting and rearing of children. as Emerson said. Long before history began we men have got together apart from the women and done things. When they were over we had to hold a post mortem and draw conclusions for future use.• Why is philia the least natural of the four loves? _ ** A man's conversation .. We not only had to do the things. It may be a common religion. what are some examples of how society has prevented companionship from developing between opposite sexes? 14 . S. a common profession. • How does Lewis describe life without companionship? • Those who have not experienced philia still use the word friend in the same way that we use the word dear at the beginning of a letter. In this kind of love.

a few more miles between certain houses. why did people think of friendship as the "crown of life"? • If a person is good to begin with. what does friendship bring to his or her life? 15 • Rather than friendship. who said to the disciples "Ye have not chosen me. like philosophy. what kinds of support can friends give us? • Corporately. . In Friendship . the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart. posting to different regiments. Friendship is unnecessary." How can friendship work for the bad? • According to Lewis. rather than desire it? • What is the very first step in friendship? • How does friendship most manifest itself? • What is the "real glory" of friendship? In the words of Lewis. there are. strictly speaking. . Each therefore is a pocket of potential resistance. I have no duty to be anyone's Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. Christ. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. rather it is one of those things which give value to survival. harder for good authorities to correct or for bad authorities to corrupt. the choice of one university instead of another. Hence (if you will not misunderstand me) the exquisite arbitrariness and irresponsibility of this love. for a Christian. what troublesome characteristic can friendship cultivate? In the words of Lewis . no shadow of necessity. we think we have chosen our peers.• Who does Lewis cite as an example of someone unable to enjoy the benefits of modern-day companionship? • Why might she come to hate and fear philia. No claims. In reality. Men who have real Friends are less easy to manage or 'get at'. It has no survival value. But. . . "In each knot of Friends there is a sectional 'public opinion' which fortifies its members against the public opinion of the community in general. like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). like art. what has Scripture chosen to be the example of "Divine Love"? • Where do we find the danger in friendship? • Lewis explains. a few years' difference in the dates of our births. . no chances. • What is the mark of perfect friendship? • In the past. . 16 .

and it will reorganize that too. . what could you have done differently to prevent this? CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING: • What is the definition of the word Eros? • According to Lewis. what do these people bring to your life? • Now that you understand a little more about the nature of friendship. Eros enters him like an invader. one by one. He suggests that.but I have chosen you. the idea that sexual attraction comes first and "falling in love with" comes second is misleading. this sequence of events is uncommon. what is the more likely order of events? "If you asked a lover what he wanted. . It may have taken over many others before it reaches the sex in him. Is there a circle of people whom you consider to be your friends? If so. • If sexual desire without Eros wants it. in reality." Q U E S T I O N S FOR C O N T E M P L A T I O N LESSON THREE Erotic Love • Think about your companions. T want to go on thinking about her. the institutions of a conquered country." can truly say to every group of Christian friends "You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another."' In the words of Lewis . For Lewis. what value do you place on your circle of friends? • What are some of the similar interests and/or shared truths that have brought you together with your friends? • Have your friendships ever led to a negative outcome rather than a positive outcome? If so. what does Eros want? 18 Points to Remember (What Have I Learned?) Points of Response (What Must I Do?) Points of Reflection (How Should I Pray?) 17 . the true reply would often be. taking over and reorganizing. the thing in itself.

• What does Eros (as opposed to sexual desire alone) make a man want? • Without Eros. honest Christian husbands 19 • What is it. obeying their fathers and mothers. discharging to one another their "marriage debt. LEWIS. "I believe we are all being encouraged to take Venus too seriously. betraying a friend. . may yet be plain adultery." • According to Lewis. • What did the older moral theologians think was the chief danger to be guarded against in marriage? • Is this also the scriptural approach? Why or why not? One of the first things it does is to obliterate the distinction between giving and receiving. What are they? 20 . within marriage and without. And they did right. and deserting your children. done under the influence of a soaring and iridescent Eros which reduces the role of the senses to a minor consideration. The moral issue is based upon more definable criteria." so to speak. this act. . Conversely. at any rate. polluting hospitality." • Looking deeper. S. it has not pleased God that the distinction between a sin and a duty should "turn" on fine feelings. —C." and bringing up families in the fear of the Lord. Lewis explains. what is sexual desire? • Within Eros. with a wrong kind of seriousness. may involve breaking a wife's heart. What are these criteria? In the words of Lewis . that seems to be the "great distraction" from God? • What is the single name that Lewis gives to "the act of love"? Lewis approaches Venus from a different point of view than most "spokesmen" of his day. The Four Loves "The sinfulness or innocence of the act of love does not depend in the least on the presence or absence of Eros. They went to the act with no other "fuel. deceiving a husband. what is sexual desire about? EROS and wives. how can this attitude endanger the Christian? What might Venus become? • Man has held three views of his body. Most of our ancestors were married off in early youth to partners chosen by their parents on grounds that had nothing to do with Eros. than plain animal desire.

• What is the very "mark" of Eros? According to Lewis. According to Lewis. or lukewarm Church on earth that Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle. so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and is allowed no other sort) never despairs.• Which view does Lewis think is right? No one in his senses can either revere or hate a donkey. —C. deserving now the stick and now a carrot. "The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness. Better to be miserable with her than happy without her. LEWIS • In Christianity. Let our hearts break 22 Drama Poetry Gravity Seriousness Comic Relief Un-poetry Levity Play Should the roles of "Sky-Father" and "Earth-Mother" be accepted as literal? 21 . how should the headship in marriage mirror the Crucifixion? In the words of Lewis ." (see Ephesians 5:25) • According to Lewis. both pathetically and absurdly beautiful. in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one. lovable. It is a useful. fanatical. In addition to being individuals. patient. within marriage. Eros never hesitates to say: "Better this than parting. sturdy. what are we? T H E T W O FACES O F VENUS The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man's marriage but in its sorrows. and labors to produce the latter. lazy. . and infuriating beast. . what is the "oldest and most universal of all jokes"? Can the entrance of Eros permanently eliminate the joke? Lewis teaches that within Venus (the act of love) we don't just stand for ourselves. He is to love her as Christ loved the Church and give his life for her. not acquiescence. obstinate. So the body. what has been bestowed (or imposed) on the man? Lewis elaborates. proud. As Christ sees in the flawed. S.

even if we may at times believe it." • What assures us.) But thousands of people take it quite differently. for all we know. how? • If love is to remain. with no evidence. it is not the voice of Eros. This all good lovers know. though. or cruelty to children. ." The implication is that a great Eros extenuates— almost sanctions—almost sanctifies—any actions it leads to. "The greatness of her love for Me is evidence of the greatness of the sins I have forgiven her. If the voice within us does not say this. they may have been usury. They first assume. "I forgive her un-chastity because she was so much in love. the voice of Eros is the voice of the elan vital or Life Force. the "evolutionary appetite. for his hat is still hanging in the hall. what does one need? We must do the works of Eros when Eros is not present. that the glory of Eros is not "the voice of God Himself"? • According to Shavian Romanticism.provided they break together. how are physical actions changed based upon "love's law"? • What is the "grim joke" about the voice of Eros? • What can passion do for us? • To what does Lewis compare passion? • How do we find ourselves in the place of "falling in love"? • What is "being in love"? • Can Eros's promise of permanence be kept? If so." What does Shaw believe to be the aim of this transcendentalist theory? • How does Lewis debunk the idea of an overwhelming Life Force? • What role does the Platonic or Shavian type of erotic transcendentalism play in the life of a Christian? • Theologians have often feared. in Eros. a danger of idolatry. that her sins were sins against chastity. dishonest shopkeeping." (The for here is like the for in "He can't have gone out. What specific kind of idolatry do they fear? • Lewis fears another kind of idolatry. though those who are not reflective or articu24 . What is it? In the words of Lewis . • When Eros becomes one's religion. And they then take Our Lord to be saying. ." the presence of the hat is not the cause of his being in the house but a probable 23 proof that he is.

what did Lewis think of St. specifically.late will be able to express it only in a few conventional phrases about "taking the rough along with the smooth. he says. And all good Christian lovers know that this programme. What. do the lessons of Lewis's study on Eros ring true in your life? • Eros can easily become an idol. Do not let your happiness depend on something you may lose. will not be carried out except by humility. realistically. Augustine's conclusion? • Guided by his own nature and temperament. —C. Then he draws a moral. LEWIS Q U E S T I O N S FOR C O N T E M P L A T I O N LESSON FOUR Selfless Love In the words of Lewis . it must be for the only Beloved who will never pass away. S. . 10). Augustine describes the desolation into which the death of his friend Nebridius plunged him (Confessions IV. modest as it sounds." having "a little common sense. of giving one's heart to anything but God. and divine grace." and the like." not "expecting too much. St. charity. This is what comes. are the manifestations of idolized love that you have encountered? • What steps. that it is indeed the whole Christian life seen from one particular angle. if any. If love is to be a blessing. . In words which can still bring tears to the eyes. not a misery. • Initially. what was Lewis's most "appealing" argument against love? • How does this idea of love fit in with the teachings of Christ? • Where. can be taken to guard against the idolatry of Eros? • How can the temporary moment of Venus be transformed into a long-lasting love? CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING: Points to Remember (What Have I Learned?) Points of Response (What Must I Do?) Points of Reflection (How Should I Pray?) 25 26 . All human beings pass away.

. "So. lawless Eros." (Luke 14:26) .In Lewis's words: "Eros. and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. is more like Love himself than this. "When God arrives (and only then) the half-gods can remain. we must turn down or disqualify our nearest and dearest when they come between us and our obedience to God. Better say." Left to themselves they either vanish or become demons." • Even if we were granted that insurances against heartbreak were our highest wisdom." That is a very doubtful maxim." The rebellious slogan "All for love" is really love's death warrant (date of execution. preferring the Beloved to happiness. and wife.G . 28 . he cannot be my disciple. and.S. he loved. how should we draw nearer to God? -XXX As so often. . in the last resort. what are we more often required to do with them? £5 In the words of Lewis . loving all. yet had one disciple whom.. for the moment. left blank)." • Rather than rejecting our natural loves. and mother. and his own life also. "If any man come to me and hate not his father. "To love at all is to be vulnerable. LEWIS We follow One who wept over Jerusalem and at the grave of Lazarus. does God offer them? xxx- something that cracks like a whip about trampling them all under foot the moment they hold us back from following Him. in a special sense. Love anything. Only in His name can they with beauty and security "wield their little tridents. The Four Loves • What does the word "hate" mean in Luke 14:26? Lewis concludes. LEWIS. S." • What will happen to a heart that continuously avoids love and suffering? • In terms of suffering. "When half-gods go. Our Lord's own words are both far fiercer and far more tolerable than those of the theologian.. He says 27 Emerson has said. He says nothing about guarding against earthly loves for fear we might be hurt. the gods arrive... Lewis states. —C.

if we are bright. "to those who do it. not that we loved God. "The invitation to turn all natural loves into agape is never lacking." he replies. what must we learn about agape? • How does Lewis describe the "world of agape"? • What is the ultimate value of the other loves? • "Natural loves can become eternal only in so far as they have allowed themselves to be taken into the eternity of agape. • How does Lewis describe the primal Gift-love? • Although the four loves have similarities. No sooner do we believe that God loves us than there is an impulse to believe that He does so. but because we are intrinsically lovable. which bears witness solely to the lovingness of the giver and not at all to our loveliness. but almost impossible to realize for long. Again." How does this fact position our wishes and our necessities? 29 In the words of Lewis . . • What causes people to resist and resent agape? • "To receive a love which is purely a gift. but that He loved us" (1 John 4:10)." I have included two Graces under the word 30 ." How should the Christian view those daily frictions and frustrations of the natural loves? • Absent Christ.God is love. not because He is Love. is a severe mortification. . "It is easy. is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us. that we are mirrors whose brightness." What does this always involve? ------ "Is it easy to love God?" asks an old author. what key characteristic sets them apart from agape? Lewis asserts. "Herein is love. Surely we must have a little—however little—native luminosity? Surely we can't be quite creatures? • According to Lewis. It is easy to acknowledge. what do many nonbelievers rely on to cope with love's daily frictions? • What is missing from the above "adaptability"? • Explain how agape is a double gift.

a supernatural Appreciative love. LEWIS Q U E S T I O N S FOR CONTEMPLATION • In what way have you experienced agape in your life? • Lewis describes storge. nor even in ethics. philia. He can awake in man. But God can give a third. S. Here. even as Christ made Himself vulnerable on the cross. With this all things are possible. This is of all gifts the most to be desired. What steps are you taking to live in the vulnerability that is the price of avoiding idolatry? CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING: Points to Remember (What Have I Learned?) Points of Response (What Must I Do?) Points of Reflection (How Should I Pray?) 31 . lies the true center of all human and angelic life.Charity. makes us completely vulnerable. Agape on the other hand. towards Himself. —C. not in our natural loves. and Eros as having idolatrous pitfalls.