Sinful, Scandalous C.S. Lewis, Joy, and the Incarnation

Sinful, Scandalous C.S. Lewis, Joy, and the Incarnation

LewisSmokingA couple years ago at a wedding reception, I was asked what I write about and I mentioned that I had co-authored a couple books on CS Lewis.  A woman at the table responded by asking me what I thought of his personal life.  In particular, she wanted to know if I was bothered by the fact that he lived with a woman much older than he was, and likely had a sexual relationship with her.

The woman involved in this juicy affair was Mrs. Moore, the mother of an army friend of Lewis’s named Paddy Moore.  He and Lewis made a pact that if either of them was to be killed in the war the one who made it out alive would take care of the surviving parent of the one who lost his life.  Well, Paddy Moore was killed in the war, and true to his word, Lewis allowed Mrs. Moore to move in with him and he took care of her the rest of her life.  She was at the time an attractive middle aged woman, and there is reason to believe Lewis had a romantic relationship with her, not unlike the notorious relationship depicted in “The Graduate” between Dustin Hoffman’s character and “Mrs. Robinson.” Continue reading

Nietzsche and the Incarnation

In Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche argues that “the value of life cannot be estimated” by a living human being, because anyone who puts life on trial will be incapable of taking up an objective standpoint: “he is a party to the dispute, indeed its object, and not the judge of it” (p. 40).  Any value judgment of the sort life is worth living or life is not worth living is “no more than the symptom of a certain kind of life” (p. 55).  In other words, a judgment against life is merely a noncognitive expression of one’s dissatisfaction with life.

But then he makes an interesting claim:  “One would have to be situated outside life, and on the other hand to know it as thoroughly as any, as many, as all who have experienced it, to be permitted to touch on the problem of the value of life at all” (p. 55).  Only someone who had both lived a subjectively full human life and had experienced life from an objective standpoint outside the human world could know if life was worth living.

Nietzsche thinks no one can do this, because he thinks there is no other world outside our own.  But anyone who believes in a transcendent God situated “outside” human life can see what it would take to affirm the value of life.  That transcendent God would have to become incarnate as a human being and affirm that human life is worth living.  In other words — even according to Nietzsche — the uniquely Christian doctrine of an Incarnation is the only thing that can make life value true.

%d bloggers like this: