Friday, May 13, 2005

What About All the Wasps?

Your book* raises a whole host of points that interest me. I have often thought of the parallel between the dog-man and the man-God relation and agree with all you say. I have found it helpful, too, in trying to understand Grace--which I suppose comes in on top of our humanity as the many quasi-human qualities which the dog learns from living with us come in on top of his caninity. ...And I very earnestly hope that you are right on p. 76 about tails wagging as well as trumpets sounding; not (as the anti-sentimental do vainly talk!) through sentiment, but because animal suffering raises quite terrifying problems about divine justice. Yet it is difficult to me to accept your suggestion, partly because the whole Christian tradition is so silent on the subject (or is that my ignorance?) and partly--well, what about all the wasps?
~C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Volume II, Letter of Aug 24, 1939, (2004)

*the letter was to a Sister Penelope, on her book Leaves from the Trees. The first chapter, entitled 'Consider the Dog: A Study in Right Relationship', where she wrote: "The object of this essay is to consider not the frequent failure of men in their stewardship, but what we ourselves may learn from the humanized animal, to whom we are as God, about the relationship that ought to exist between God and us". This chapter almost certainly served as the inspiration for Lewis's similar treatment of the subject in The Problem of Pain.


On this day:

1959 Lewis is made Doctor of Letters by Manchester University.

3 Comment(s):

At Fri May 13, 07:36:00 AM EST, Blogger Bob said...

What wasps? What suggestion? It seems to be on p. 76 of Leaves from the Trees, but what is that Lewis is having difficulty accepting? Something to do with animal suffering, I gather, but beyond this I'm lost.

At Fri May 13, 08:23:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Well, what I understood was that Sister Penelope said that all of God's creation would be present in Heaven. Apparently he's disagreeing with the inclusion of the bug population.

Sorry, I was tired last night and didn't choose a very clear excerpt.

At Fri May 13, 09:00:00 AM EST, Blogger Bob said...

Don't worry about it. I was just very confused. (And rather worried that I had missed something blindingly obvious. I re-read the whole thing 4 or 5 times before I worked up the nerve to inquire what I was missing. :-)


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