Free Will In The Great Divorce Essay

, Research Paper

C.S. Lewis’s message concerning free will is that God helps the one’s

willing to convert and that each person that is saved must take the first step

towards his salvation by wanting all sin out of his life.

He believes each person is presented with a choice that will determine

their salvation. This choice is whether or not they want to continue living in sin

or if they want to live for God. They must give their permission for their sin to

be destroyed, for it can only be done from their will, ” I can’t kill it against your

will. It is impossible. Have I your permission?”(99). By giving one’s permission

the process of salvation will begin. Although it may be hard or even painful they

must choose to rid themselves of their sin to obtain everlasting life. It is very

tough to give your permission to rid something that you have lived forever with,

but that is the choice one must make. For example, A man wanted his lizard,

which represents his sin, to be quiet, but when he learned that it would entail

killing it he became scared and quickly changed his mind because he was afraid

it would hurt. After a while he gave his permission, but it took a while because it

was hard to overcome his fear. At one point he suggested he could keep his sin

in order and that ” the gradual process would be far better than killing it.”(98)

because he was fearful of living without his sin. This same fear can cause other

men not to give their permission to let their sin destroyed.

Lewis also believes many men, when given the choice, will choose eternal

damnation over God because of something they value more than Him. Many

will choose a sin they feel that they cannot live without rather than sit next to His

side in heaven. They would rather go to hell and keep whatever it is they value

so much than lose it, ” He’d fight to the death to keep it. He’d like well to be able

to scratch: but even when he can scratch no more he’d rather itch than not.”(70).

It is his will that he would have some remembrance or longing for the sin he

once clanged to than have eternal peace with God. Others will fill a hole in their

heart that should belong to God with a loved one or some other physical thing.

For example, one woman cared not for God, but only for her son who died

earlier and she failed to realize that she will not truly love her son until she

realizes God is who she should love the most and he is her son’s true loved one.

By doing this she, and others that do this, put the thing they love so much over

God, and in the end choose it over God, ” The choice of every lost soul can be

expressed in the words ‘ Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.’ There is

always something they insist on keeping, even at the price of misery. There is

always something they prefer to joy-that is, to reality. Ye see its easily enough

in a spoiled child that would sooner miss its play and its supper than say it was

sorry and be friends.”(69). They would rather “reign in hell” by keeping that

thing that fills the void in their soul instead of filling it with what is supposed to

go there: God. Others however realized the choice they must make and choose

God and eternal happiness.

Those that understand to get salvation they must have their sins

destroyed make it their will to be done and God makes it happen. They truly

want to be happy and realize for this to happen they must rid themselves of all

evil, ” It is only the little germ of a desire for God that we need to start the

process.”(90). Once the process of ridding themselves of their sins is over they

are then saved, but according to Lewis it could not have happened had it not

been their will.

In closing, Lewis’s message is that where each person spends their afterlife

is the result of their own free will. Those that go to hell choose it and those that

go to heaven choose it. As one of the ghosts say,” There are only two kinds of

people in the end: those who say to God, ‘ Thy will be done,’ and those to whom

God says, ‘ Thy will be done.”



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