An absolutely ingenious attempt of pitting a concept as difficult and seemingly abstract--eternity--into a tangible analogy, a dreamlike journey to the confines of the end of one's life and the beginning of the afterlife. "The Great Divorce" is quite complex, as it weaves fantasy in with hard theology. There seem to be countless interconnections behind Lewis' words, very much like a root system; and all, however seemingly detached, are actually connected to each other and equally significant. Unfortunately, I doubt that one could disentangle the mass with one quick read.
The title is derived from an attempt to place Earth on the celestial balance betwixt Heaven and Hell, and argues that to a certain extent, our conception of both post-mortem destinations are not completely ethereal; that is, we have been granted bits and pieces of what is to come in our day-to-day lives on Earth. (Take, for example, the dreary Grey City, an admittedly innocuous but clear allegory to a human hell, and compare it to the destination of the passengers on the bus, the Eternal Realm.) Much like our human nature, many travelers in the book abuse their privileged position and determine that the "heaven" was actually their image of hell. Ultimately, we must make a conscious choice. Coexistence between the two, a bipartisan relationship, is an impossibility.
This Lewis manages to mesh with the never-ending complexities of pre-destination. And then there's the future, both fully constant and inconstant. The commitment as to where one spends his or her eternity can be decided at any instant with the individual's free will. It's not raw Calvinism, nor does it promote human depravity; here it exists on both, like the intersection of a graph where both coordinates meet. As grave as that initially sounds, C.S. Lewis gives up a brilliant example in the book, explaining that good can come out of evil, but attempting the reverse would prove to be impossible.
There's always a line or a chapter in a book that stands out, and for me, it was the dialogue between the Spirit and the Ghost with a red dragon. It was one of the strongest arguments toward the possibility of redemptive restoration that I have read, in fiction. I really believe that those pages of the book are relevant to everyone....Continua
This is a fast read that deals with the path of repentance, and the various obstacles to it. Lewis also writes powerfully of the glories that await us in eternity concerning the realities of unstoppable love and joy. He also deals with the paradox of free-will and Divine appointment by shedding light on our problem of time-based thinking. The book is not intended as an illustration of heaven and hell and should not be taken as such. There is no active wrath poured out from God in these pages, but it is alluded to in the coming darkness. The idea of choice after death is problematic, but again, that is not what he was illustrating, but rather that our free choices are all contained in every moment and final from the beginning. No man attains Hell, except that he choose it, yet this is not in conflict with God's predetermined destiny for that soul....Continua
This fiction opens our eyes as well as imagination to how possibly could the heaven be like. It's stunning. Everything in heaven is so real that it's so heavy and may cause pains for those whose faith is too little.
Lewis, in his dream, is on a bus from Gray Town - a hell of a place - and is being conducted through 'heaven' by George Macdonald. Little by little he is introduced to the behaviour and attitude of the other Ghosts from Gray Town. He listens in on conversations, watches the scenes between the Ghosts and the Solid People and questions Macdonald as to what it all means.
An easy book to read. Flows smoothly from one incident to the next. It has some memorable pieces: the wife, who on earth, did everything for her husband, and still wants to take charge of him in Gray Town; there is the orthodox bishop who is holding meetings in Gray Town about the truth Christ would have arrived at if He hadn't been crucified. Each of these pictures is told to provoke us to ask questions of ourselves. The final scene between Sarah Smith of Golders Green and her husband is really striking.
Lewis brings out the very real truth that people demand pity, and prevent others from being happy by their wretched behaviour. But in heaven hell shall have no veto on happiness. If people chose to perish - so be it! Those who inherit heaven shall be so filled with His love that no one shall prevent them being happy. Even the doomed shall be forgotten!...Continua