2008-09-15 Show 005

The Great Divorce

Disney Interactive has now come out with a Prince Caspian game for the Wii

  • It has multiple levels, lots of combat, and can be a two-player game, according to one review on the web
  • I would check out the game’s reviews first, before buying it

The Great Divorce has an explicitly Christian basis

  • I hope that this does not bother you – it is a good fantasy
  • It does not teach doctrine directly but does so by a story

A few details about Jack’s conversion to Christianity

  • Jack never described all the details, so we must proceed with caution
  • There are multiple types of conversions in Christianity
    • Sudden – as with Paul on the road to Damascas
    • Life-long experience – see Timothy’s being raised in the faith
    • Process – as with the Bereans who “examined the Scriptures” to see if the new faith preached by Paul was true
    • Lewis’s conversion was of the process type

Jack began his adult life as an atheist

  • The problem of human pain and suffering vs. a loving, all-powerful God concerned him deeply.  He wrote a book about it that is well worth reading called “The Problem of Pain” – I recommend it to you
  • Jack also was intensely private and wanted to be left alone, not “interfered with”, and he saw that a personal God might well interfere with his life and the way he wanted to run things.

Lewis was converted in two stages.  The first was to a belief in God.

  • He became an Oxford fellow in 1925 and met other intellectuals who were Christians and who became friends with him
  • He wanted to connect believing with doing but the popular philosophy of skepticism didn’t permit that
  • One friend became involved with a sort of New Age movement and Jack was strongly influenced by his friend’s arguments for something ” beyond uour material world”
  • Jack came to this position late in 1926, believing in a God who was beyond the material but not in a God who was personally involved with us
  • However, he began attending chapel and reading the Bible to see what it really said
  • Jack struggled with a belief in a personal God for 3 years, until 1929, but finally came to that conclusion

Jack’s conversion to a belief in Christ happened in 1931

  • One major factor was a long argument he had on one evening with two Christian friends one evening
  • Nine days later he came to a decision that Christ is the Son of God while being driven to the zoo in a motorcycle’s sidecar

Jack recognized that some Christian teachings are easier to understand than others, and that is why he wrote The Great Divorce about heaven, hell, and our choices.

  • Almost everyone likes the idea of Heaven
  • The idea of Hell (and that we might end up there) is a much harder “sell”
  • One was to reconcile the two is to say that everyone eventually reaches Heaven, although they may go through Hell on the way
    • Hell becomes a waystation on the journey to paradise
    • In effect, Heaven and Hell are joined together – merged, or married
    • Lewis says that this merger is great mistake and he tries to show why in The Great Divorce

Her is t he link to the BBC recording of Lewis reading the introduction to The Great Divorce

BBC Link

Jack imagines Heaven as a vast, beautiful park.  Hell is a dingy, gray, shabby city.  The people in Hell can, if they want, take a bus trip to Heaven, and stay there – IF they will give up what put them in Hell in the first place.

Jack acts as the narrator of the story.  He joins a group of the people from Hell on this bus trip to Heaven.  When they arrive in Heaven, they appear as almost insubstantial, as ghosts, because Heaven is so much more real than Hell.  Each ghost from Hell is met by a Spirit person from Heaven who tries to get the ghost to repent and stay in Heaven.

In the book Lewis records the conversations between the Ghosts and the Spirits and uses them to illustrate what sort of things can keep us in Hell.

  • The podcast looks at 3 examples – lust, mother love, and intellectual dishonesty
  • There are others in the book that are well worth studying
  • During part of the visit to Heaven, Lewis is joined by George MacDonald, who was sort of a Christian mentor to Jack via McDonald’s books, and their conversation provide commentary about the scenes that are recorded.

Jack’s answer to the problem of Heaven and Hell is that God always offers us the choice to leave Hell and enter Heaven, if we will give up what we have placed above God in our lives.

In short, God does not damn us to Hell – we damn ourselves and keep ourselves locked away from Heaven

Read the book and see how this plays out in the scenes Lewis describes.

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