C.S. Lewis – God as God (2) God’s Love and Do I have a right to be happy?

Read part 1 here – 

God can be no other than what he is: absolute goodness, justice, mercy and love. And he is all of these supereminently, as we have just said.

Being all-sufficient in himself, God still loves into existence the superfluous, since he is almost overflowing with goodness. This is not to be understood in the Neo-Platonic sense, for God is under no compulsion to create anything. He creates and conserves in existence so that he can love all created being.

God’s Love

This brings us into consideration of God’s love. We are not to construe it as something sentimental, or something which excites our feelings. We have a Father in heaven, but not a benevolent grandfather who simply wants everyone to have a good time on earth. God’s love is pure, spiritual and intellectual, and quite unlike the love we generally experience.; there may be almost an element of ferocity about it. In a word, God is exacting in his love, we are happy only insofar as this is compatible with praising, reverencing and serving him. He is not concerned about people’s saying at the end of the day,”A good time was had by all”. He is not to be mistaken for mere kindness, because he has loved us to the utmost.

In The Problem of Pain (Chapter 3), we come face to face with God’s love and human suffering. Each one of us is a divine work of art, and the Heavenly Artist has paid us the „intolerable compliment” of creating us in his image. Nor will he rest until he has accomplished his will, until each of us grows in Godlikeness according to the plan he has laid out for us. We may not altogether like the infinite care and patience which go into our artistry, but Lewis points out that in wishing for a less glorious and a less arduous destiny, we are asking not for more love but for less.

Our God is a consuming fire, a tremendous lover, a passionate seeker after every individual. He is the Lord of the terrible aspect, and to look upon him face to face is to die. We must not sentimentalize this God.

We are not the center of the universe; God is its center and all things- man included- exist for God. Hence God cannot allow us to remain as we are; his love constantly seeks to enlarge the mansion of our soul, for it is in this mansion that he intends to live himself. In answer to the question, Have I a right to be happy/ God replies no. Sin has marred our character to such an extent that God must cajole, woo threaten, refashion, and redesign our inner selves to his satisfaction, not our own. To struggle against this, to throw up blocks, to fail to surrender to the fort, is once again to ask for less love, not for more.

Excerpt from The Theology of C.S. Lewis  (Pleasures Forevermore by John Randolph Willis, Chapter 2)

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