C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy - Lesson 30

A Grief Observed

Lewis expresses anger toward God as part of his process of grief. Orthodox Christianity denies materialism which believes that your physical body is all you are, but it doesn’t require body-soul dualism where the soul is the real person that inhabits a shell. Whatever damage death completes in the reign of sin in this world will be undone and swallowed up by the resurrection. The restoration of human personhood will come after death. 

Michael L. Peterson
C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy
Lesson 30
Watching Now
A Grief Observed

A Grief Observed

I. Emotions of Grief

A. Anger

B. “What is H.?”

C. Soul-body dualism

D. Question of what constitutes personal identity

E. We read to know we are not alone

F. When you agree to love and marry, you agree to bereavement

II. End of the Book

  • The purpose of the class is to directly engage Lewis’s philosophy and theology. He brings a Christian worldview to engage intellectual movements of his day. The trinity created us to bring us into the fellowship that has been going on with God forever. 

  • The mind is the organ of reason, imagination is the organ of understanding. To understand what real truth is, the imagination needs to be a part of that. We are created in the image of God and are immortal beings. Ordinary people are extraordinary. The Christian life is most deeply about being transformed resulting in participation in the divine life. It's more than just having one’s legal status changed. There should be transformation in the culture as well as personal. God is in the process of redeeming a wounded universe, including the whole of knowledge and truth in all subjects. 

  • There is a sacred quality to ordinary activities as well as symbolic religious rituals. Whatever is true in any field of study is God’s truth. The world is essentially good, but it’s been damaged. God has taken a great risk in allowing people free choice for good or evil. Evil has become present in many forms in the world and it is anti-creational and anti-human. We are not broken, but we are bent. God’s nature is relational because of the nature of the Trinity, so it makes sense that he would make a universe that is relational. We dwell in God and he dwells in us. As disciples of Christ we all share the single vocation of loving God and others.

  • Lewis wants to parlay theological doctrines into dynamic insights and track out their implications for intellectual engagement. He does is with a background of philosophical skill and theological understanding of historic orthodoxy. Instead of arguing about preferences, we need to focus on articulating the doctrines that are universal. Lewis’s ideas are expressed so they can be understood by people not formally trained in philosophy or theology but they have merit in the marketplace of ideas. 

  • The probability of morality as we know it in the human community, given that theism is true, is more probable than morality given any other worldview. Morality at the human (finite) level is anchored in morality at the infinite level. Morality has its most natural fitting worldview home in theism. In using the analogy of light shining through boards in a tool shed, Lewis says, “I believe in Christianity, not because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.” 

  • In Hinduism, Brahman, the hidden inner essence of everything, is beyond human categories of good and evil. Brahman is the only reality. Everything we see is an illusion. The fundamental human problem is ignorance, not sin. Dualism is the idea that there is good and evil at war in the universe. Explaining morality in a dualistic framework is difficult. Dualism assumes good and evil are equal, so you would need a third element to adjudicate which one to choose, and that would be a higher standard. Otherwise you wouldn’t know which one to choose. Naturalism/materialism says there is no ultimate moral nature to the universe. 

  • Lewis begins by discussing our common moral experience as a triggering point to reason toward theism. Then he reasons for a deity that’s interested in morality that’s also a supreme power. With naturalism, we come from a source that is non-rational, non-moral and non-personal, so it’s difficult to understand how you get beings that are rational, moral and personal.

  • Theism is intellectually at least on par, if not superior to, other conceptions of reality like dualism, pantheism and naturalism. If there is a God that theism describes, only one deity of the living theistic religions said that this God invaded our existence. The question is that in comparison to other alternatives, what is emerging as a reasonable explanation of the reality we face?

  • Our rationality being reliable assumes that we can produce a large preponderance of true beliefs over false ones by using rational faculties like memory, abstract reasoning, perception and the testimony of others. The role of philosophy is to analyze and explain the common sense beliefs of the human race about morality and the external world. 

  • The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind. Lewis thinks that we now do not have broad social consensus of Christian truth. He challenges individuals to have a more positive affirming attitude toward intellect and academics. In his view, Christians are ambivalent about the value of the life of the mind and using the gift of our intellect to serve him.

  • Premise one: every natural desire corresponds to one real object. Premise two: There exists in us a desire that nothing in the temporal world can satisfy. Conclusion is that there must be more than time, earth and creatures that can satisfy this desire.

  • The Supreme Being, behind the universe as we know it, is a personal being, eternal and the model for how we are to understand our personhood. We can’t understand our own personhood fully, the way it’s supposed to operate, unless we understand what God is, as a personal being. We are not projecting our understanding on God but learning about ourselves by finding out about God. 

  • This is ultimately a book about a clash of worldviews. A worldview offers an explanation of the important features/phenomena of life and the world. In the West, the atheist worldview is often expressed in naturalism. Lewis argues for theism based on what is true internally of us, rather than argument from design. Discussion is not whether a particular miracle has occurred, but in principle, is it a possibility.

  • There is a supernatural power or being that is ontologically distinct from nature (transcendent). It is self-existent. Every world view must propose what is fundamentally real. For the naturalist, it is the physical world. For the theist, it’s a transcendent deity. Everything that is not God is dependent/contingent on God for its being. The theist says that the deity can bring about events that would not have happened by the regular operation of nature. 

  • What’s important to Lewis is freedom of rational thinking, free from physical causes. Naturalism undercuts the power of reason because everything is determined by physical causes. If evolutionary naturalism is true, then the probability of our cognitive faculties being reliable for truth is low.

  • If you believe in naturalism as a worldview, miracles are impossible. Since a naturalist worldview says everything is determined and thought is only adaptive, the ability to have free rational thought to logically evaluate naturalism undercuts the naturalist position.

  • Rational thought and moral consciousness are points of entry of the supernatural into the realm of the natural. It involves both. It’s not a dichotomy. Naturalists believe that the nature of human persons is limited to material processes. Substance dualists believe that mind and brain are two separate substances that are mixed for now, but at death one will cease to exist and the other will continue to exist. Emergentist sees the animal form taken to another degree of complexity by the natural realm getting increasingly complex and dualist in function as opposed to substance.

  • Scientific law is economical summary of what experience always reports: regular cause and effect. Laws are regularity based on coincidences. Causality is the basis of law. Hume says that laws are regularities based on coincidences. Hume says that you can only know regularity because that’s all the human mind is capable of. Peterson’s view is that a miracle is not changing a law of nature, it’s changing with the “ceteris paribus” clause – preventing all things from being equal and changing the nature of the item. 

  • There is nothing about nature that makes miracles impossible. The naturalist can’t see nature accurately as a creature, not just an independent fact but it can’t stand or explain itself. The cosmological principle is that only concrete beings, not general things, have causal power. Causal laws don’t make things happen, only the beings acting within the laws.

  • If God is in fact a living determinate being, and is outside the natural system, he might insert events into the natural system. The laws that we observe in the natural system may be a subset of higher laws that govern the universe. What criteria do you use to determine if a miracle has taken place? Evidence plus intrinsic probability. Whether or not an event is a miracle is also part of the discussion of the problem of evil. Why would God intervene in some circumstances but not others? 

  • In philosophy, it’s referred to as the problem of evil. Given a certain understanding of God and a certain understanding of evil, there is a tension explaining why evil exists in the world.

  • If God chooses to create a nature, this signifies a physical system which indicates a relatively independent nature independent from himself, it would make a lot of sense to say he is frequently intervening.  The same laws that make nature a stable environment in which rational soulish life can emerge, are also the same laws that make us vulnerable. Pain is God’s megaphone to arouse a deaf world. He might whisper to us in our pleasures, but he shouts to us in our pain. Question about whether God initiates the pain or he set up a system which results in pain because of the way it’s structured.

  • Lewis describes the story of the Fall as a narrative that has symbolic elements that convey significant truth. The truth in the first couple chapters of Genesis is that we were created by God, sovereign and loving creator, and that our only fulfillment as humans is to center our lives on God. Our proper role as a creature is to rely on God, so when we ignore that and rely on ourselves, our relationship with God is broken. 

  • God is his creation set forth the problem of expressing his goodness through the total drama of a world containing free agents in spite of, and even by means of, their rebellion against him. The risk is for the possibility of relationship. 

  • Aristotle would say that as a rational, moral being you build your character based on the hierarchy of good traits.  From a Christian perspective, our natural destiny should be on the same trajectory as our eternal destiny. The spiritual and theological virtues are faith, hope and love.

  • As long as God chooses a stable physical order, that physical order will run by its own laws. Any system with  have the possibility of pain. Created nature with natural laws provide a framework/structure in which souls can meet. Some pain is produced by the natural system without regard to the desires of the beings. That humans can inflict pain on other humans is a reflection of the permission by God that he permits this. The wide range of freedom makes it possible for great good or terrible evil. 

  • Lewis thinks that God needs to pierce the shield of our ego and we are embodied creatures so pain is what does it by getting our attention by highlighting how frail and in need we are. 

  • For Lewis, heaven is the unending joyous life of God, the life of the Trinity. The only way I can be fulfilled is to find its proper purpose and relation with God. Heaven is the restoration of created personhood, what it was always meant to be. When we are on the trajectory, we begin experiencing it now. Hell is the lack of fulfillment for which we were made. 

  • Discussion of the movie Shadowlands. Discussion of the nature of relationships. Pain and happiness are not necessarily mutually exclusive.                                        

  • Lewis expresses anger toward God as part of his process of grief. Orthodox Christianity denies materialism which believes that your physical body is all you are, but it doesn’t require body-soul dualism where the soul is the real person that inhabits a shell. Whatever damage death completes in the reign of sin in this world will be undone and swallowed up by the resurrection. The restoration of human personhood will come after death. 

  • Heaven and hell are dichotomous. Whether life is heaven or hell depends on your future trajectory. God is true reality, fixed and can’t be altered. In GD, true reality is God. The descriptions are not meant to be literal. Heaven is the Trinitarian life of God. It’s not a place, it’s a state of being in proper relation to the love and joy of the Trinitarian relations. Lewis describes it as a great dance. 

  • Final comments about themes in The Great Divorce.

C. S. Lewis is an extremely good theologian who does his work for the thoughtful lay person.  But his writings reflect his erudite understanding of the great classics of literature, historical theology, philosophy, and other disciplines.  Lewis says in Mere Christianity that theology is like a map.  We may get where we’re going without it, but it is much easier to use the map.  The map of Christian theology is drawn over the early centuries of the church as the believing community interprets the Bible and its experience of God.  

Of course, the ultimate goal of theology, according to Lewis, is practical:  to draw us into the life of God, or St. Gregory of Nazianzus ((329-374 AD), called it, “the Great Dance.”  I know no theme deeper or more pervasive in Lewis than our need to get the steps right, to join the dance once again.  

In “Meditations in a Tool Shed,” Lewis says that there is a distinction between looking at a beam of light and looking along the beam of light.  He is speaking of looking at reason or using reason—a passage that forms part of his great case that presence of rationality argues for the truth of theism.  We will be doing a lot of looking in this course, largely, “looking at” Lewis himself.  But let us also try to “look along” the same line of sight as Lewis, to see things—God, humanity, spiritual life, and a host of other things—as Lewis saw them.  This means attempting to step inside Lewis’s worldview and learning to interpret fundamental realities the way he did and to deploy his distinctive strategies for engaging other worldviews.  In effect, we will learn to think Christianly by learning to think along Christianly with Lewis.

In 2020, Dr. Peterson published the book, C. S. Lewis and the Christian WorldviewIt is essentially his course lectures in written book form--covering Lewis on all key worldview issues--reality, knowledge, creation, trinity, christology, as well as issues of evil, religious pluralism, and the impact of science on faith. You will also see it listed in the Recommended Reading section. 

Dr. Michael Peterson

C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy


A Grief Observed

Lesson Transcript


And begin with prayer, and then we'll pick back up on the material. Father, thank you for this Advent season. Thank you. That it represents. You're coming toward us. You're coming to us. You're becoming one of us and making a gracious offer of life with you. Help us in this time. We pray to finish our exams, wrap up the semester, and at the same time keep the love and the joy of the season in our hearts. In Christ name, Amen. Because this is a little bit hard to keep the love and joy of the season while you're doing exactly what I'm saying. Yeah, and it's probably a contradiction even just to pray that way. Last time we were together, this was a kind of a do over because we didn't get that quote quite right from the film. We should have probably tried to even have a discussion after that film. There was so little time, you know, and we were kind of pressurized. Let me go back to that point we were making. And then whoever's editing this film can use this as the correct footage rather than what we did last time. But remember, if we were discussing the movie in the middle of the movie, Joy and C.S. Lewis go to the Golden Valley. And we said that she made a really striking comment when he said he didn't want to spoil their happiness by talking about her impending death. Remember that comment? We didn't. I don't think we got it right. Tell me if this was right. Otherwise, I'll say do it over again. But we'll come next week and we'll try again in the middle of the movie. This is Joy's comment. The pain then at her dying. The pain then is part of the happiness now.


That's the deal. And even even with her comment, it gave us the occasion to sort of reflect on how pain can be an aspect of happiness. The pain and happiness are not always mutually exclusive. Like if you've got pain, you can't be happy. If there's suffering, there cannot be happiness, or if there's hardship or difficulty that this excludes the possibility of happiness. She's really at the very least saying that happiness h can include pain, but it can kind of swallow it up. It can create a larger hole in which pain is given a different context. You reframe it, you interpret as meaning differently. And so in their own vulnerability, Joy and C.S. Lewis are talking there in the rainstorm, you know, in the barn, and she she says this, I'm going to die. We live in a frail and fragile world. And in my time, looks like it's coming fairly soon and we've got to deal with it. And it doesn't spoil our happiness. It gives the happiness, in a sense, a kind of poignancy, a kind of richness that it would not otherwise have. Then at the end of the movie, C.S. Lewis says this The pain now is part of the happiness then. That's the deal. We can spend a lot of time talking about different ways to interpret these points. Whether the time reference to then and now could be interpreted differently. But it looks to me like on the face of it, it's fair to say that the pain now of of he and Douglas experiencing Joy's death, feeling a terrible sense of loss, that this pain will be part of the happiness then once again making the same kind of point that real happiness for human creatures does not have to be mutually exclusive of pain and suffering, and that instead it can be viewed as a kind of happiness that can include and reframe and reinterpret, in fact, redeem the pain and suffering.


So remember, as they drove to the Golden Valley. I think I think it was in the car, she said, Jack, what kind of happy happy are you? What kind of happy are you? Are you the kind of happy the cannot tolerate, cannot countenance this model that a more profound and a deeper kind of happiness could include the frailty, the fragility of life, possibility of death, and so on. I think that's just an amazing point to stop and reflect on. You know, so we did that last time a little bit, but I thought we were pressured to wrap up the class and get out on break. So I wanted to make sure we got it right. I think by the end of stumbling around last time, we got it right. But put it up there again for the editor. But I thought that that was a good observation in the movie. Moving then to the book a little more directly, a grief observed. Yeah. You know, there's so much we can discuss. No time to discuss it all. And once again, I'm very happy to have any questions or observations you raise, because there's no way this can be complete. My notes try to be more complete. But we can't just recite those in class either, you know? So thank you, God for that. Another theistic proof. But I think you see in the early comments in grief that Louis is going through the kind of a normal, understandable and predictable stages of the sense of loss and grief for a loved one. There's anger. He even calls God at one point a vivisection test in a laboratory. Right. That's British way of saying laboratory. Okay. But talking about a British book here. Okay. But they were like, hey, you know, like we're just rats in the cosmic laboratory and God's just hurting us, doing things with us and and experimenting on us.


And there's that kind of feeling. And, you know, he goes through another, another thought, and that is he says, I wonder. He doesn't say, where is H? He calls Joy. Helen H uses H period. Her initial throughout most of grief. He says, What is H now? What is she? And in a sense he's saying my emotions are confused. I'm a alienated from God, from my Christian faith. I am not too intimidated to express them and just say, what is she now? Is she anything? Well, you know, he went through his time as a materialist and a materialist about the nature of human persons. So as a human person is composed of its material parts. When material parts die, disintegrate, there's no more person. And materialism in this regard has been in the Western world for forever. Since Lucretius ancient poem on nature at the end of the of the classical period. It's had its various expressions, and Lewis himself in the 20th century had flirted with and embraced a form of materialism on his intellectual journey. So in a way, he's opening the possibility that she is. She's nothing, but she's nothing. The reason that that kind of strikes me I don't know if I've told the story that told the story in here that my district I was the last dissertation student of my advisor in philosophy science at University of Buffalo, and we've become good friends. He's imprint being an atheist form of evil, but really he was professional philosopher science. So I so I did my work with him and his name was Edward Mad and I moved here in 78, took a position at the university ever told the survey okay I guess he was about 55 when I took middle 54 years of age when I took the position at the university and we were very good friends.


We didn't do dissertation guidance in his office. We went to his home in Amherst. There was north east side of Buffalo and it was just a lot more comfortable and Mary and his wife would make sandwich soup and sandwiches, you know, and we go to his study and we do this. But when dissertation guidance was over, he always want to talk about why he was not a theist. And he was very impressed, however, by 19th century Christians who were in the Holiness movement and a lot of the social reform activity that they engaged in, very impressed by that very moral person. And and he was an expert actually, in that area. So, you know, with the offer, I leave. I leave with Dr. Tan hand. Come here. And we keep up a correspondence in 1978, 79. No email, right? Okay. We kind of lose track. He doesn't answer letters and so on that I send to his home. And then I think it was the fall of 80, I think was fall of 1980. Can't remember exactly. I'm home eating lunch. Lived on Lowry Lane on the south side of town. Ring, Ring. Hi, Mike. This is it. Well, why haven't you answered my letter? She said, Well, you're sending it to my home. So I'm at Princeton at the Advanced Institute. And he said, I've got two years leave and I've got a big grant to finish this book. And he says, Look, let's keep up our correspondence there. It's okay. What's the address? He says, Write me at this address. One Einstein Drive. I would love doing that. I wrote out envelopes in advance just to say one. Einstein. Yeah, yeah, I'm okay. I'm corresponding with somebody at the Advanced Institute. Okay, well, the conversation goes a house, Marian, you know, blah, blah.


And he said, Well, the reason I really called is because I sold my home in Amherst. I quit my job. He was a distinguished major professor in the largest department in the world in the seventies. State University of New York in Buffalo. New York State budget cuts would fix that situation. I don't know. They probably cut half, but any rate I said, Oh man, these are so my villa in Spain. I sold my Volvo that we have over there in Spain is hard life. You don't see really what's going on. It's well, he said I got disillusioned with some of the things that were happening in the department here. He got stabbed in the back. Politically, it happens everywhere. You know, it can't happen. And so he said, I'm thinking, he says, we were always really close and I'm thinking maybe I can move to Wilmore. And we continue our conversations. I said, Really? And I said, I would love it, you know, and for the sake of the filming, I won't go into that lengthy conversation we had. But it ended up he said, If I send you my Maryland's checkbook and power of attorney, would you buy a house for us? I've never been any good at that kind of thing. So I bought him a house a block from my house. They lived here, I think 17 years, absolutely loved this community. They began to be a little decrepit in the late nineties and moved to Vermont to be with one of their sons who runs a tourism business in the Northeast in New England. And I can't remember, I think it was oh six or seven. I got a call from Mary and say He's terribly ill and we've flown him.


I guess they airlifted him from wherever in Vermont to Dartmouth Medical Center. It was the closest really good medical. And I said, Oh, I'll come right up. Shoes. No, no, no. When he recovers, then he'd really like to see you and come up when he recovers. And this will give him something to look forward to. Of course, he left 17 years of of course, I'm in my family cycle. I can't give him as much time as I'd like during those years. We have plenty of interaction. He remains an atheist, left and atheist, but very appreciative of so many of the what do I want to say? Accompaniments of Christian faith in a largely Christian community. Very primitive, remaining atheist told me so. So he's now ill. And within a day or so after she called me saying he was ill, he died, so I never saw him again. She's a bright, accomplished woman, kind of a composer. They did one of her, I guess, at at the Methodist church here. They performed some of her music. And that's the only time I've ever been to church once to hear her music. But so is the accomplished woman. Both Oberlin grads met at Oberlin, and they're just together on everything intellectually, socially. So here. So he's a materialist, he's an atheist. And so here are her words to me on the phone picked up. Hello, Mike, this is Mary. Voice was shaky. What we used to call Ed Madden is no more. That's exactly the quote. Now, here's Lewis saying not where is joy, but what is joy now? And, you know, among the other possibilities, materialism could be true. You kind of get emotionally shaken, emotionally confused, and you ask, what is joy now? Is there any possibility that she's a continuing person or that she will be a continuing person, recognizable and knowable to me? But just the just that haunting fear that she might not be at least in the eschatological future.


He's toying with. I mean, we could pick so many different things out of this book to talk about. I'm just picking what occurs to me as we as we discuss it, but at least the possibility of materialism is there. He doesn't come out. A lot of people think he's a real strong duelist, and I don't know what to say about that. Orthodox Christian believers have a range of legitimate options without being a soul body duelist and believing that the real person is inside your body as a soul and a physical death. The complete person still is intact so and so that is in many ways a reflection of an ancient classical Greek dualism. Exactly what Socrates told the court in Athens when they sentenced him to death. He says, You can kill my body, but you can't kill me. I'm not very appreciative of those kinds of remarks. And I love Socrates, as you know, anybody in the Western world who understands what he did should love. But it's a it's a devaluing of the physical. And as saying the real person is just inhabiting a shell. That kind of. That's exactly. And when that gets reflected in Christian thought, I usually get a little like, I'm not going to go there quite I'm not going to come down that hard. So the bright, shining future hope for the Christian clearly is that materialism is false, but it doesn't have to be that substance dualism is true versus a solely substance or a mental substance and a physical substance. And in Temple of Life, they're sort of together and at death they separate, but you get the complete person. So I would hate to think that that really is Lewis's official view that the complete person doesn't need the body, particularly during Advent season.


It hurts me a lot to know that that a total person is a physical and psychological unity, and for for God in the second person, even to become a human person is to essentially have a body. You can't be a human apart from a body. Bodily life is frail, is fragile, it's finite, it's perishing. But you can't be that kind of thing. That's the kind of thing God sought to be one with. Very interesting. So to deny materialism, you don't have to be a really strong substance. Dualist. The bright, shining future. Hope is a resurrection that whatever damage death completes. In the reign of sin in this world, whatever damage death does will be undone, overcome, swallowed up and kind of reversed in a higher reality. And so the restoration of of human personhood is yet to come after death. That's hardly like it comes at death. I'm making sense. So just just a comment that opens himself up to materialism and, you know, it's going to be a passing stage in his psychological grief process. He's going to say a lot of things. Gods of vivisection. Just wonder if I'll ever see Joy again. I wonder what she is now. The question he would make any sense. He seems to be saying. But what are the options if you ask it from a metaphysical point of view? Materialism, substance, dualism. They're not the only two options. Person can say, Hey, death is death, and it's all up to God to restore and resurrect and redeem all that we are as human persons. And it will essentially include a body, details of which we have no understanding, no imagination, The details. I'm not in details, but so the faith we have in and hope we have in God for a life after death doesn't have to be platonic.


Plato gave us the description of Socrates at the trial. So it's the Platonic Socrates? Yes. I'm wondering about the parts of the memory that experience the relationship. Oh, yeah. And. And they can. It's from the last section of the court. It was about. Yeah. This idea that just because you share arithmetic and French class. Does it mean you actually recognize that you playing with them because you don't have something that you. Yeah, definitely. I do think then. Yeah, that's a good point. Kind of gets me to thinking about the fact that I think a very pervasive theme in Lewis is that this is a relational universe and relays the four loves just opens up the whole discussion of different levels, different kinds of relationships. I have a relationship with my wife that I don't have with anybody else over 45 years of marriage and four years dating until we couldn't stand the long we had, you know, so, so forth. So I've known my wife almost 50 years and and I'm only like 53. So they. Right. There's a mutual shaping of psyches. I would say a mutual indwelling. She's in me. I think I'm in her psychologically. All the history we've shared. So the relational universe that we have, the start of that discussion, I think would be the pair cosmetic nature of interpersonal relationship that persons can dwell in each other. I think my lifelong friends go see one tomorrow at Panera in Lexington, see him just retired from being a university president in Vancouver after 15 years, and I'll see him tomorrow. I think he dwells in me. We've shared a lot. Our values are in common. Our vision for a lot of things is similar. So that's really interesting, Jesus says in Joy, in the interesting passages in John 14 to 17, If you dwell in me and I dwell in you, the idea that personal beings can dwell within each other sometimes.


Translation say abide. If you abided me, I biting you, that kind of thing. It's it's a universe that allows that kind of thing. Material objects. We don't really say, dwell in or abide in each other the way personal beings can. That's very interesting. So going back to your point, what will the eschatological future be for a still finite was going to remain finite, so don't kid yourself about that. But what what will the future relational reality, the texture of that reality, be in the eschatological fulfillment of all things? Very interesting. One could, I think, and I hear religious people who do this largely triggering on Jesus's comment that in heaven they neither marry nor give in marriage, you know, And so then everything's flat with equal relationship with her, really. I mean, think about it. It means that there's a kind of a wiping of the of the of the computer disk to forget that this life began textured relationships, different forms of relationships. You're telling me that the woman that I've known for 50 years, I will count as no more significant to me in an afterlife than everybody else? This is what I said when we renewed our vows on our 25th. We didn't have a preacher, you know, tell us to recite out of his book. We made him up and I brought this point up and I So then I don't want to go. That will be hell. There'll be hell. So something of memory traces your point. Memory traces and the relational texture has to be continued in the ultimate redeemed state. Don't have details. I don't have details. What about those who married? Couple times? Don't have details. Don't have a formula. But that's hardly a question. That's a big deal breaker.


That some relationships are more significant and deeper than others and they shape us. So part of the problem when you think about these kinds of things is just purely the philosophical issue of personal identity. What constitutes personal identity? So I'll put it here. And we might say what makes x equal x? Now, if I am in this life a certain kind of being with certain kind of relationships and memory traces, then how do we say in the afterlife that it is also I. Or. Well, I've been messed with so much, it's unrecognizable that it's the same me. So either it'll be hell for me or we'll be made to be that messed with. Vicki says. Yeah. Would you say someone with Alzheimer's has been helped? No, no. I would say that I'm making a kind of an unacceptable, broad, philosophical and theological point, which we should really if you had the presence of mind to be applauding you, I'm saying believe it. I noted that that's my that's my rationalization. And now then you have to bring in that really is, I think, correct in the main. So when there are people with Alzheimer's or other kinds of mental problems, you can't make a rule or generalization out of the exceptions. You set what what the norm is. And you say, well, what about this? They're part of the damage. And you begin to develop a way of explaining why part of the damage of this world has various sorts, including damaging our our mental life, how God will redeem and reclaim. He will, but I don't know, don't have any details, don't mean formulas. I'm definitely not going religious, cable TV, drawing a chart or something like that. Well, how this will I don't know.


But the brain shining future hope is it'll all be made right and we'll all be caught up in something higher and deeply fulfilled according to God's purposes. So there is the problem of evil. Again, they're experiencing part, the problem of evil, that something's damaged, something's not right. So that's that's that's my trigger on that comment. What is Joy? Oh, see how much you can manufacture from one little sentence. It's a gift of being a faculty member. Yeah. Would this work at all? I don't think so. So I'd like to do a little bit. You start with a lot of first memory abroad. Just giving it away. Yes. And then then a little later on, it's. This physical imagery that if your eyes are filled with tears, the water that. Yeah, it's not possible to see. Yeah. I thought that was. Yeah, I agree. Yeah. To. To an understanding of what happened. Yes. It honestly is that whole sense of perishing. If we just stop and be quiet, reflect. We all have, you know, we have a sense of perishing and loss and in a sense, waste. That the kind of thing we are personal, rational, moral beings with spiritual capacity and so on per critic capacities, that kind of being is so valuable. It ought to live forever. It's not a rock or something else. Other things can have, you know, utilitarian values or something like that. But in terms of the kind of thing where we bear the image of God, it should be no surprise that we think that way. And yet we occupy. We are in this. We are essentially a part of the physical realm which runs down. It gets damaged. It's it's perishing. We will end and it will end.


And so how does one kind of project the Christian hope in a way that's large enough and profound enough to really address these things? And there are cheap ways of doing it, you know. And my wife did a funeral over the break and the funeral director. Steve Ward in beer sales. So send your business. There is a good guy. Shameless plug. I get 10%. Anyway. Yeah, they were talking before the funeral of things he's heard said, you know, you have decades of this business. You'll hear a lot of things said and be as popular and helpful as he is. You've got to develop some sensitivities or some wisdom. And he said, you know, I've heard people say to a family, even with small children, you know, why did my mommy die or what? Well, Jesus took her or Jesus had another plan, and he says he can track some of those children who still hate Jesus. Very interesting as opposed to trying to find some way that's not so formulaic to to say we are in this condition of frailty and so on. And but we're looking toward a higher and finer and more glorious outcome that you can't you can't give engineering details how it's going to come about. Oh, this will happen. You can't. And death occurs. And it would be better many times had it not occurred. I think our toll maybe I mentioned this. I went in to see one of my friends that u k former Prof can't specialists. He does Nietzsche and he does Viktor while the German idealist stuff. And he told me that his daughter had married a person in the or I think in their early thirties and this person this young man, she married a brain tumor had been found and I think they had it removed had it removed a Jan de Anderson, which I mean, if you're going to have medical care, you might as well go to Houston and go to Anderson.


You know what I'm saying? And so removed it was telling this, my brother in law, who is head of hospice in the Louisville area, he tells me at any one time he's got about 800 people dying and he's on the phone controlling the the more foot soldier kind of activity. But he's sort of running it's called hospice, I think, in Louisville and southern Indiana. So I told him the story and I said, Damn, Brazil, UK, who I really like a lot. It was just so sad. So, you know, there's children involved in this guy who's now 37 and the brain tumors come back, I think, maybe for a second time back. And he says that we're in the end stage. And hospice has been called, I guess, here in Lexington. What do you say? But my my brother in law, who this is his life, he says all the happens all time prime of life. You know, something happens that happens all the time. And so there's not a neat formula for this kind of thing. But how do we project a a large framework of understanding that you can really live into in the face of death and loss? I think that's huge. Other comments, questions. I've got my own, but I want to make sure we have time to observe any points that are interesting to us. I'm speaking of a relational universe. Think about the movie again. The young student early in the movie said his father was a teacher and had told him that his reading of books was was motivated by a certain thought. We read to know we're not alone. We're in touch with an other relational universe. I think that a level of relationality in reading. But remember, near the end of the movie, another student, a new student, comes to Lois, was already lost joy, and this new student comes to meet him for their first meeting.


They go up to the office. They're in Lewis's little studio there. And Lewis is trying to get him to kind of postulate on some questions. So Lewis poses this question to him. We love to know we're not alone. What do you think? The students as well. I've never really been in, you know, what I can think of. So again, a universe in which love is possible has to be relational universe and the need to be completed by and fulfilled by it have various levels of relationships with others, is essential to being fully human. We love to know we're not alone. And as Lewis says in the Four Loves, because he opens up the whole discussion How many loves are there, you know, and of father, child, spouse, spouse, friend, friend. There are a lot of different levels of of love. Brother, brother, sister, sister, all that. But I think that's a very interesting point that we love to know that we're not alone. But, you know, aloneness. Remember, the movie brought this out and I think it's coming out in grief. When I was alone, I was secure and I was kind of immune from deep hurt. I open myself to Joy Gresham. We had a relationship. Got married. I lost her. I'm deeply hurt. But I opened myself to the world of others. I stepped more into the reality of a relational universe. And he says, Of course, in love. Then there's risk. There's risk that the other may not return the love in at the human level, it's kind of a mirror of what God did in creation, rather than making us have to love him. He gives us meaning for free choice. Will we or will we not come back to him in love? So creation itself of free beings is a risk.


And in a similar way, we take risks all the time in opening ourselves to the world of others in a relational universe. So where there's love, there has to be risk. I would do it for time. Not too bad. I do think that. There's a point that comes out in its own its own way in the film, but it also comes out in grief. I'm thinking more of the the statement in grief following this line of thought where Lewis says something like this When you agree to love and marry, you agree to bereavement. That's that's the deal. One of you is going to go on living without the other and he experienced it will happen to be her. He went on living. But you can't say I'm choosing to marry this person. This kind of deep relationship without realizing that bereavement is part of the deal. You just don't know the details. So in that regard, the risk was was known in general. But there are other kinds of risks in a relational universe are the levels of relationship. One last point and we'll take a brief break. And just to finish this book up, remember in the last page of the book, this is my edition or whatever edition you've got, it'll be the same as the last line. He's really come through the book, through the ups and downs of his emotions. And you can follow him. I mean, he's getting a grip. Midway through the book. He's kind of getting a grip. He's all over the place. Early Gods of Vivisection just don't know. Prayer even works. What is joy now? Maybe she doesn't even exist or has no future prospect of existing in a resurrected state or whatever, you know? But he's getting a grip.


He's saying, I need prayer because prayer keeps me steady. My I feel my faith coming back. You know, those kinds of things are being said through the second half of the book. And he grieves for joy. He longs for joy, but he is kind of like he's there's a a sort of letting go because he can't live where he was living emotionally on the edge of grief with those confusing, conflicting emotions. So he actually quotes Dante right from the Paradiso. I don't speak Italian. I don't speak Italian. So I can't. But I do know that you're supposed to put your hands like this. And he says, I'm letting you go. He says, how wicked it would be to say, Call the dead back to us. Let him go. I wanted to call back early in the book how wicked it would be to call the dead back. So Joy said to me, I'm sorry. Joy said, not to me, but to the chaplain. I'm at peace with God. And the chaplain in the hospital, in the hospital room and in a room there. She smiled, but not at me at the moment of her death. She smiled, but not at me. And the Italian goes like this. Positano. Only Terna Fontana. Which translated means end to the eternal fountain. She turned. And to the eternal fountain she turned. That's Dante, Seeing Beatrice to guide him through the inferno, dragged him through purgatory and was his guide his moral and spiritual superior. And then she then then turns to God the eternal. So that's language from from Dante. Now, you think about when we did more Christianity late in Christianity. He says, You know, really, God's not a thing. Not something static is more like a great fountain of beauty and joy springing up at the heart of reality.


And to the eternal fountain, she turned. Let's take a break. And I didn't bring Kleenex, so just use your sleeve and then we'll come back in 10 minutes or so. No more than 10 minutes. There's no grace here.