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C. S. Lewis and the Christian Worldview$
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Michael L. Peterson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190201111

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190201111.001.0001

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Heaven, Hell, and the Trajectory of Finite Personality

Heaven, Hell, and the Trajectory of Finite Personality

(p.162) 12 Heaven, Hell, and the Trajectory of Finite Personality
C. S. Lewis and the Christian Worldview

Michael L. Peterson

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Lewis’s book The Great Divorce. In this work, he imagines having had a dream about the irreconcilability of heaven and hell, the opposition of good and evil, and the necessity of choice. In that imaginary dream, Lewis witnesses deceased people who are allowed to visit the outskirts of heaven in order to consider whether they would like to stay. In many cases, the personalities involved are so trapped by their habits and desires that they justify their position and refuse to stay in heaven. As the chapter proceeds, it discusses hindrances to choosing God and heaven—such as desires that are out of balance (seeking a genuine good, but in a way disproportionate to other goods, such as God) and heretical ideas (identifying heaven and the good with an ethereal spirituality and evil and distance from God with the fact that we are physical material beings). The lesson surfaces that the Trinitarian God, who is Happiness itself and thus heaven, is our true good and ultimate fulfilment, the only way to human happiness. Hence, hell (and heaven too) is not a place or container: it is life apart from our True Source. Heaven, then, is life in proper relation to our True Source, which is ultimate happiness.

Keywords:   heaven, hell, choice, free will, life trajectory, Trinity, True Source, finite personality, disordered loves

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