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[Note: In “The Screwtape Letters” the book is casted as if an older demon (Screwtape) is writing letters to his nephew demon (Wormwood) who is out in the world.]
[God]’s a hedonists at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a façade. Or only like the foam on the seashore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are ‘pleasures for evermore’…He is vulgar Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.
~C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2001), 118.
Behold, they are all a delusion;
their works are nothing;
their metal images are empty wind. Isaiah 41:29
“I think one may be quite rid of the old haunting suspicion — which raises its head in every temptation — that there is something else than God, some other country into which he forbids us to trespass, some kind of delight which he ‘doesn’t appreciate’ or just chooses to forbid, but which would be real delight if only we were allowed to get it. The thing just isn’t there. Whatever we desire is either what God is trying to give us as quickly as he can, or else a false picture of what he is trying to give us, a false picture which would not attract us for a moment if we saw the real thing. . . . He knows what we want, even in our vilest acts. He is longing to give it to us. . . . The truth is that evil is not a real thing at all, like God. It is simply good spoiled. . . . You know what the biologists mean by a parasite — an animal that lives on another animal. Evil is a parasite. It is there only because good is there for it to spoil and confuse.”
~C. S. Lewis, in Walter Hooper, editor, They Stand Together (New York, 1979), page 465. Italics original.
HT: Ray Ortlund
Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, it reminds us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village; the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.
From, Learning in War-Time, C. S. Lewis
“When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. Insofar as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and insteadof God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.” (from a 1952 letter)
HT: Justin Taylor
If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
~C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,1965), pp. 1-2.