The Ultimate Choice: C.S. Lewis and the Great Divorce

Posted: January 13, 2020 in Storytelling, Uncategorized
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One of my Christmas gifts this year was a collection of eight books by C.S. Lewis. So far I have read four. They are amazing. These are not the Narnia books, but rather his philosophical books. I have to admit that while I am enjoying them, they are definitely at the top end of my reading level, and I’m not getting it all. No worries I can always reread them at a later date and even at this point I am learning a lot.

The book I’m reading now is different. This book is the Lewis I really love. The allegorical kind, where Lewis teaches great truths in the guise of stories. The book is called The Great Divorce, and no, it has nothing to do with marriage. It’s about heaven and hell and Salvation. In this allegorical story, Lewis imagines a bus trip from hell to heaven where the passengers are allowed to stay if they want. I know this is nowhere near correct theological but again remember, it’s an allegory. The stories relate to people now alive and their attitudes toward life, faith and the afterlife. One particular account features the protagonist (who seems to represent the author himself) is speaking to his “guide.” He at first is wondering why “the solid people” (the residents of heaven) don’t go down to hell to rescue those who are there. His question then goes to what about the people who never board the bus for heaven, who he calls “poor souls.” His guide, who he calls George MacDonald (a man who was a strong influence on Lewis in real life). This is his response.

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 “Thy will be done.” All that are in hell choose it. Without that self choice, there would 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.

Again this is allegorical language, not necessarily theological and yet there is a lot of truth here. The point is very simple. Salvation is offered to everyone who will believe, and everyone who believes will receive. So many people want to overthink it, or look for the loophole, or try to outsmart the Lord. So many are caught up in their own plans and contrivances and beliefs that are not scriptural. The simple truth of the matter is Jesus is the way the truth and the life. He is the only way. He sets the terms and if we enter, we enter through Him alone.

Lewis is a powerful storyteller, who brings the point home masterfully. Those of us with creative gifts were given those gifts to share the Gospel truth. How would you tell His story?

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