Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Let's Talk about the Damned, Shall We?

For some reason, I'm just in the mood for this today! For those who haven't read The Great Divorce, the title can be misleading. The story is about a dream Lewis has of a bus ride which takes him from Hell to Heaven. Once in Heaven, he meets and talks to a spirit, who used to be George MacDonald, the author of books that heavily influenced Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

"A damned soul is nearly nothing: it is shrunk, shut up in itself. Good beats upon the damned incessantly as sound waves beat on the ears of the deaf, but they cannot receive it. Their fists are clenched, their teeth are clenched, their eyes fast shut. First they will not, in the end they cannot, open their hands for gifts, or their mouths for food, or their eyes to see."

"Then no one can ever reach them?"

"Only the Greatest of all can make Himself small enough to enter Hell. For the higher a thing is, the lower it can descend--a man can sympathise with a horse but a horse cannot sympathise with a rat. Only One has descended into Hell."

"And will He ever do so again?"

"It was not once long ago that He did it. Time does not work that way when once ye have left the Earth. All moments that have been or shall be were, or are, present in the moment of His descending. There is no spirit in prison to Whom He did not preach."

~C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (1946)


Question of the day: Does anyone frequent the alt.books.cs-lewis newsgroup? (I'm just curious)

2 Comment(s):

At Tue Nov 09, 05:29:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Just wanted to note that the artwork I found for this quote is the album cover for some metal band called "3QuartersDead". Seemed appropriate.

I just love the part in this book where the Teacher is explaining to Lewis how Hell is smaller than one atom of the Real World (that is, Heaven). And if you took all the "loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies, and itchings that it contains, rolled into one single experience and put it into the scale against the least moment of joy" in Heaven it has no substance. It wouldn't even register.

At Tue Nov 09, 10:27:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kerewyn: Wow.. that's perspective!


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