The Great Divorce

51oiuzzyv1l-_sx330_bo1204203200_C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil.

7 thoughts on “The Great Divorce

  1. I have read this book before, but rereading with a more open heart the perspective of having lived through many of the Ghosts’ obstacles was particularly indicting and illuminating. How heaven and the glory of God is presented as unbearable to our sinful selves is strong but truthful imagery that is not so truthfully lived in my own life. In a symbolic form, it was easier to see past my own biases and hesitations to be self-reflective and see the very situations of these Ghosts in my own past and present.

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  2. I’m always amazed by how imaginative Lewis is! It’s really fascinating how he illustrates different human qualities and I think helps us to see more the horror in them – such as Hell captured as a place which continues to grow and expand because people are constantly moving away from one another, yet a place so small and insignificant when weighed against the significance of the “least moment of the joy that is felt by the least in Heaven”… or the Dwarf Ghost and the Tragedian, or other tragic figures who turn their back on Heaven. They seem so absurd and grotesque, and yet examined closer, I see that they are so like characteristics in my own life, and there are very real consequences– 1 set of decisions leading closer to Heaven, the other always leading farther away from it.

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  3. The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis
    In the story of a bus ride from hell to heaven, C. S. Lewis introduces a set of characters that often seem to hit too close to home. I was particularly intrigued by the mother of Michael. The blessed spirits explanation of the death of her son helped me to more clearly see & take joy in the personal circumstances & experiences, which made me see the truth of Love. The story of the man w/ the lizard on his shoulder brought to life the suffering & pain & weaknesses, which God turns to proclaim his power ( 2 Cor. 4:7). The knowledge of permanence of the choices we make each & every day, which make us, was confirmed in the penultimate chapter. We in our choices condemn our selves to hell or usher ourselves into heaven. & I saw incompatibility of the things of heaven & of hell/earth, & thereby to choose heaven, one must put aside the self, die to everything that is not of God (Luke 9:23). The perfect picture of selflessness displayed in the spirits.
    Ultimately, it brought to picture the reality of many of the truths that had been laying somewhere in the back of my mind. Looking forward to reading more books by C. S. Lewis.

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  4. Similar to the Screwtape Letters, CS Lewis uses his imaginative writing and narratives to make the reader see some profound truths about God and about themselves. Seeing the full story that surrounds and gives the context for the quote in Course 101 about how Heaven comes with the surrendering alongside “Thy will be done” and Hell comes with “My will be done” was a great experience. I saw myself and my own sins in the stories of ghosts that reject heaven as they cling to lesser things of the world ranging from their own pride to their fame to their idols and more. I really enjoyed the story of the ghost who surrenders over to the power of the angel who totally removes the sin symbolically shown as a lizard as this is a depiction of the grace that I have received and is freely offered to all.

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  5. What really strikes me is the idea that if we put earth first, earth will eventually be part of hell, but if we put earth second, it will eventually be part of heaven. There are many ways in my life where I have put earth first, and in many ways I still live with my eyes set on worldly things. What’s sobering is that eventually this focus on the worldly things will lead to this world becoming hell for me, because by turning away from God and not putting Him first, everything will eventually be hell.

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  6. Lewis in this piece illustrated topics that caused me to reevaluate my views on Heaven and Hell. One of them brought me to an enriching conversation with Roy Lo, the aspect of Heaven that prevents visiting spirits from accessing its environment (without the risk of pain and possibly death). I learned that due to Heaven’s eternity, compared to Earth’s finite lifespan, objects in Heaven are more “solid,” a notion that causes the main character, when faced with grass for example, to experience sharp pain when he attempts to walk on it. Humans are short-lived in comparison to the spirits and angels in Heaven. Thus, their inability to understand Heaven completely transforms them into non-solid beings if they were to visit it. Lewis also discusses the notion of worldly attachment with the dwarf chained to the tragedian. Although the dwarf’s wife begged him to stay in Heaven, the tragedian, which represents the dwarf’s attachments on Earth and his vanity, ultimately took control of the dwarf and caused him to shrink into nothingness, or into Hell. This part of the piece helped me reflect on the effects of pride, along with other worldly treasures, on an individual’s path to Heaven. The Great Divorce is a great and illuminating read, and it helped answer questions that I had about eternal life.

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  7. C. S. Lewis’s Great Divorce was a neat (and powerful!) allegory. Heaven is not a state of mind, but joy and “reality itself.” Whereas hell is a state of mind one chooses, heaven is the ultimate end and purpose. Rather than being caught up in the world, I should choose joy and remember that the things I love in this world (family, friendship, music, literature, etc….) are merely means to an end–that is, eternity. As a heavenly Spirit told a Ghost more obsessed with painting heaven than experiencing heaven, “Light itself was your first love: you loved paint only as a means of telling about light.”

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