How Did CS Lewis' Theology Affect His Writing?
C.S. Lewis is one of the greatest authors in history. His books are still widely available and sold to many interested readers. In Lewis’ childhood, he experienced a tragedy that affected his belief in god; in his middle life, he mainly focused on college and his studies, but his father’s death played a role in Lewis later becoming a Christian. In Lewis’ later life, he married one of his own fans. Clive’s passion for writing began when he was a small child, and it continued to grow as he furthered his education to become a college professor at Oxford University. Lewis is still remembered today for his great works, such as The Screwtape Letters and The Chronicles of Narnia, which is a popular series among children.
This fiction consists of 31 letters, which present appropriate pieces of advice of how to procure patients’ souls, given by Screwtape to Wormwood, his nephew. All these letters and the work as a whole are dedicated to J. R. R. Tolkien, another great English writer and poet. Screwtape performs his role of a mentor on a really brilliant level; and still inexperienced tempter, Wormwood, is eager to analyze the lessons and enlarge his level of knowledge in order to amaze his teacher and even surpass him. The reader of The Screwtape Letters gets a chance to look at the letters, written by Screwtape only. In spite of the fact that it should a two-way correspondence, the author of the book allows the reader to use own imagination and think about the manner of writing of Wormwood. Each letter begins with Screwtape’s discontent caused by numerous Wormwood’s failures. So, the protagonist of the story turns out to be Screwtape; he presents new information to the reader, this is why all facts and events are described from one point of view only. Screwtape focuses on different aspects of our life: how human soul makes decisions, what has more significant impact on human decisions, and how actually the devil may temp a human soul and turn it from something good to something evil. Screwtape letters help the reader comprehend that all Christian’s relationships are under a threat to be influenced by evil. Families and friends cannot even guess how tempting a sin may be. Even a prayer in a church has all chances to be tempted by evil and gets more chances to tempt other people, who come for help. In fact, there are two active characters in the story: Screwtape and Wormwood. However, the story is not complete without those patients, Screwtape tells about. If we look at this work from some general perspective, we may see a professional devil, Screwtape, as a major character, another devil-beginner, Wormwood, as another active character, and the Patient, a passive character, who still plays a significant role in the story. To my mind, the major purpose of all these letters, which are so brightly presented in The Screwtape Letters, is to warn people about the threat of being tempted even by the closest person. The point is that there will always be some Mr. Screwtape, who will be eager to teach his nephew to tempt people and prove that evil may be good and good is usually evil. This is why the idea that there is somebody, who sits of people’s shoulders and gives some hints to follow, comes to be true. Lewis presents enough persuasive ideas and stories, which make lots of readers believe and think over again why people take certain steps and who may control them. These lessons, which help to improve our life, turn out to be rather effective and interesting. This work is not just a certain topic and different characters; it is a lesson, each character should learn, comprehend, and use. The beauty of the work lies in its truthfulness. People will hardly realize how complicated this world is.
Moral limitations create a certain pressure on humans; this is why many people would doubt the correctness and the righteousness of these limitations. If being moral is pure good – then why is it so hard for human beings to behave according to all the proper rules and norms of a person with excellent morals? Lewis calls this law “the Natural Law” (Lindskoog and Ellwood par. 2). The sense of morality is something that is only available to humans. Many philosophers and writers have been exploring this matter, and with time they all came to a realization that moral sense gave us the best of our qualities, but also it became the ground for our worst qualities. Lewis states two main points of the argument. The author notices that the humanity is convinced that there is some certain correct way to behave for them, and even though they have this idea – they do not follow the correct way of behavior, they break their own moral rules a lot (Lewis par. 10). The points of view that argue with Lewis’s idea of Moral Law see the Law as noting but a herd instinct that naturally appeared in humans together with all other instincts. There is also an objection, which states that the moral laws and rules are the restrictions brought to us by our education and upbringing, it is a type of a social convention with fixed norms that have to be followed by human beings. Lewis is curious about the origin of all these laws and norms, wondering about the reason why humans all of a sudden started to assume that their way of living and their behavior are not the way they should be. The author uses a tree as an example – any tree requires soil, sunlight, and water to grow – no matter what type, or shape, or color the tree has, it would make no sense to say that the tree is wrong and is supposed to be different. Animals, flowers, insects are the way they are, and they do not have a capacity to doubt their own looks or behavior. Only the humans, the creatures with moral laws tend to judge, create frames that they have to fit in and then feel bad if they do not. Lewis calls these moral laws “peculiar” because they are different from the laws of nature.
In sum, what we do when we imagine is to suppose a reshuffling of universals taken from the actual world. When we imagine Britomart we take our idea of "a girl", which is part of our general knowledge, and our idea of "medieval knight", which is another part of our general knowledge, and put them together. To get into imagination itself what we mean by either of the two terms is impossible. They are not imaginations: they are summarised knowledge of the real. Always the real world is the bank on which the poet draws his cheques; and though a metaphysical lyric may be a fine and private place, all the meanings embraced within it are but passengers who come there from the public, eternal, objective world of reality and haste thither again.
Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity. Web.
Lindskoog, K., Ellwood, G. F. C. S. Lewis: Natural Law, the Law in Our Hearts. Web.