This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
—from The Problem of Pain 357 . and that if we make it our goal we shall no longer be disinterested. by definition. then Christianity is false. There are rewards that do not sully motives. must be faced. whether it is useful at political meetings or no. If there is. A man’s love for a woman is not mercenary because he wants to marry her. nor his love for poetry mercenary because he wants to read it. Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can desire. and of being told that we are trying to ‘escape’ from the duty of making a happy world here and now into dreams of a happy world elsewhere. It is not so. nor his love of exercise less disinterested because he wants to run and leap and walk. We are afraid of the jeer about ‘pie in the sky’. we are afraid that heaven is a bribe.——— 2 3 N O V E M B E R Is It Wrong to Want Heaven? We are very shy nowadays of even mentioning heaven. If there is not. like any other. for only the pure in heart want to. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God. Again. But either there is ‘pie in the sky’ or there is not. Love. for this doctrine is woven into its whole fabric. seeks to enjoy its object. then this truth.
We must learn to want something else even more. fun. we shall never save civilisation as long as civilisation is our main object. but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. all left their mark on Earth. It seems a strange rule. who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire. but the moment you make health one of your main. the great men who built up the Middle Ages. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. open air. precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven.——— 2 4 N O V E M B E R Aim at Heaven Hope is one of the Theological virtues. direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you. Health is a great blessing. work. —from Mere Christianity 358 . In the same way. the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade. The Apostles themselves. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking. but something like it can be seen at work in other matters. games. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more—food. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is.
Gold is mentioned to suggest the timelessness of Heaven (gold does not rust) and the preciousness of it. of course. Musical instruments are mentioned because for many people (not all) music is the thing known in the present life which most strongly suggests ecstasy and infinity. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups. etc.——— 2 5 N O V E M B E R Books for Grown-Ups There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of ‘Heaven’ ridiculous by saying they do not want ‘to spend eternity playing harps’.) is. gold. He meant that we were to lay eggs. All the scriptural imagery (harps. People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves. —from Mere Christianity 359 . crowns. they should not talk about them. a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible. Crowns are mentioned to suggest the fact that those who are united with God in eternity share His splendour and power and joy.
—from Mere Christianity 360 . but only about two vague ideas which we have got from novels and newspapers. There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name: some of them are clergymen. in the mass. there are a great many people who are just confused in mind and have a lot of inconsistent beliefs all jumbled up together. of course. an animal does not turn (either slowly or suddenly) from a dog into a cat. There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity. we are usually not thinking about real people whom we know at all. But when we are comparing Christians in general with non-Christians in general. and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it. For example. because there one knows definitely which is which. There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so. And always. Consequently. it is not much use trying to make judgments about Christians and nonChristians in the mass.——— 2 6 N O V E M B E R Comparing Cats and Dogs The world does not consist of 100 per cent. a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain other points. It is some use comparing cats and dogs. There are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are so strongly attracted by Him that they are His in a much deeper sense than they themselves understand. or even men and women. Also. non-Christians. Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position. Christians and 100 per cent.
‘This is our business. and eternally must be. to take care for their own future. nevertheless. in fact. As a young man wants a regular allowance from his father which he can count on as his own. and love. our own. They wanted to be nouns. attention. as we say. to plan for pleasure and for security. within which he makes his own plans (and rightly. But that means to live a lie. not yours. to ‘call their souls their own’. —from The Problem of Pain 361 . mere adjectives. But sooner or later they fell.’ But there is no such corner. They wanted. Someone or something whispered that they could become as gods—that they could cease directing their lives to their Creator and taking all their delights as uncovenanted mercies. nor how long they continued in the Paradisal state. so they desired to be on their own. was theirs not His. as ‘accidents’ (in the logical sense) which arose in the course of a life directed not to those delights but to the adoration of God. but they were. they would pay some reasonable tribute to God in the way of time.——— 2 7 N O V E M B E R Sooner or Later They Fell We do not know how many of these creatures God made. no doubt. for his father is after all a fellow creature). for our souls are not. but which. They wanted some corner in the universe of which they could say to God. to have a meum from which.
for heaven is the home of humanity and therefore contains all that is implied in a glorified human life: but hell was not made for men. . are we more merciful than God? At the back of this objection lies a mental picture of heaven and hell co-existing in unilinear time as the histories of England and America co-exist: so that at each moment the blessed could say ‘The miseries of hell are now going on. .——— 2 8 N O V E M B E R The Place of Finality and Darkness [One] objection [to the conception of Hell as punishment inflicted by God] is that no charitable man could himself be blessed in heaven while he knew that even one human soul was still in hell. We know much more about heaven than hell. the outer rim where being fades away into nonentity. . . while stressing the terror of hell with unsparing severity. That the lost soul is eternally fixed in its diabolical attitude we cannot doubt: but whether this eternal fixity implies endless duration—or duration at all—we cannot say.’ But I notice that Our Lord. —from The Problem of Pain 362 . and if so. Consignment to the destroying fire is usually treated as the end of the story—not as the beginning of a new story. usually emphasises the idea not of duration but of finality. It is in no sense parallel to heaven: it is ‘the darkness outside’.
’ ‘Son. to Albert J. that Hell should be able to veto Heaven.’ ‘Ye see it does not. Northern Ireland.’ ‘What?’ ‘The demand of the loveless and the self-imprisoned that they should be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power. Either the day must come when joy prevails and all the makers of misery are no longer able to infect it: or else for ever and ever the makers of misery can destroy in others the happiness they reject for themselves.’ —from The Great Divorce 1898 Clive Staples (“Jack”) Lewis is born in Belfast. 363 . son.’ ‘I don’t know what I want. Sir. Lewis (1863–1929) and Florence Augusta Hamilton Lewis (1862–1908).’ ‘That sounds very merciful: but see what lurks behind it. 1917 Lewis arrives at the front-line trenches in France. But watch that sophistry or ye’ll make a Dog in a Manger the tyrant of the universe. I know it has a grand sound to say ye’ll accept no salvation which leaves even one creature in the dark outside.——— 2 9 N O V E M B E R Shall Hell Veto Heaven? The Teacher exposes the blackmail scheme: ‘What some people say on Earth is that the final loss of one soul gives the lie to all the joy of those who are saved. it must be one way or the other.’ ‘I feel in a way that it ought to.
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