Wednesday, February 12, 2014

C.S. Lewis/ "The Four Loves" / Hierarchy of loves

"But to have stressed the rivalry earlier in this book would have been premature in another way also.  The claim to divinity which our loves so easily make can be refuted without going so far as that.  The loves prove that they are unworthy to take the place of God by the fact that they cannot even remain themselves and do what they promised to do without God's help.  Why prove that some petty princeling is not the lawful Emperor when without the emperor's support he cannot even keep his subordinate throne and make peace in his little province for half a year.   Even for their own sakes the loves must submit to be second things if they are to remain the things they want to be.  In this yoke lies their true freedom;  they 'are taller when they bow'.  For when God rules in a human heart, though He may sometimes have to remove certain of its native authorities altogether, He often continues others in their offices and, by subjecting their authority to His, gives it for the first time a firm basis.  Emerson has said, 'When half-gods go, the gods arrive.'  That is a very doubtful maxim.  Better say, 'When God arrives (and only then)  the half-gods can remain.'  Left to themselves they either vanish or become demons.  Only in His name can they with beauty and security 'wield their little tridents.'  The rebellious slogan 'All for love' is really love's death warrant."  (p. 144, 145)

What does this mean?

We are just reading Plato, and we find that the philosophers there want to banish all the literature with the gods and demi-gods participating in questionable behavior.  Instead, there is to be some sort of sanitized religion.  The half-gods go and the gods arrive?

But instead of abolishing what appears inferior, too human, too "ungracious", really these loves, passions, demi-gods, princelings must be brought willingly into subjection to the higher. They find their true calling in a free obeisance.

Let them be redeemed.

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