Tuesday, November 8, 2011

C.S. Lewis – Till We Have Faces: II

Continuing with Lewis’s February 10, 1957 letter to Clyde S. Kilby:

2. Psyche is an instance of…the best of the Pagan religion she is brought up in and thus being guided (but always ‘under the cloud’, always in terms of her own imagination or that of her people) towards the true God.

Lewis believed, if I understand him correctly, that those who respond to the innate knowledge of God, in whatever historical circumstances they might find themselves, will be drawn to the true and living God. Perhaps the most familiar statement of Lewis’s regarding this is found in The Last Battle, when we see Emeth, a Calormene who had served the Pagan Tash, brought into Aslan’s country, the true Narnia. Here’s an excerpt from Emeth’s account:

…in a narrow place between two rocks there came to meet me a great Lion. The speed of him was like the ostrich, and his size was an elephant’s; his hair was like pure gold and the brightness of his eyes like gold that is liquid in the furnace. He was more terrible than the Flaming Mountain of Lagour, and in beauty he surpassed all that is in the world even as the rose in bloom surpasses the dust of the desert.

Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, “Son, thou art welcome.”

Paul writes in Romans Chapter Two: For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when the nations, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

The above section of The Last Battle gives some folks heartburn, and probably causes others to reject Lewis’s thinking outright; but then, as I wrote in an earlier post, we don’t know everything…do we? 

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