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In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis begins his discussion of the natural loves with the observation of de Rougemont that “love ceases to be a demon only when he ceases to be a god.” Or, in Lewis’s restatement, “love begins to be a demon the moment he begins to be a god.”
Lewis is concerned that human loves, at times, tend to claim for themselves a divine authority that overrides all other claims and obligations. They demand unconditional allegiance and thereby become gods (and thereby become demons which destroy both us and themselves).
Lewis - Human - Loves - Claim - Moments
Significantly for Lewis, the human or natural loves only make this claim when they are at their highest, at those moments when they most resemble God. Their claims to divinity are only plausible if there is a real likeness between the natural love and Love Himself. But having become deities, they become demons, and as demons, they cease to be loves at all but instead become only very complicated forms of hatred.
To illustrate the point, we might consider a recurring character in Lewis’s writings — the tyrannical and possessive mother. In The Four Loves, she is called Mrs. Fidget. In Screwtape Letters, she is described as “the sort of woman who lives for others — you can always tell the others by their hunted expression.” And in The Great Divorce, she is called Pam, the ghost who is Michael’s mother.
Example - Illustration - Allegory - Lewis - Bus
It is this last example that I wish to use as an illustration. In the allegory, Lewis depicts a bus traveling from **** to heaven. The conversations that happen on the bus unfold the tensions between good and evil, grace and judgment, all to show (in Lewis’s words), “If we insist on keeping **** (or even earth) we shall not see heaven: if we accept heaven we shall...
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