Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Impossible Command

I'm currently reading C.S. Lewis's "The Screwtape Letters," a very salient glimpse into (and mockery of) the world of darkness, juxtaposed with the world of light.

I've been pondering love lately, and found a thought-provoking passage in the book which I thought I'd share with you. In letter 19, Screwtape, the self-sufficient undersecretary of the devil, writes to his nephew Wormwood about the impossible existence of Love:

The truth is I slipped by mere carelessness into saying that the Enemy [God] really loves the humans. That, of course, is a impossibility. He is one being, they are distinct from Him. Their good cannot be His. All His talk about Love must be a disguise for something else...Members of His faction have frequently admitted that if ever we came to understand what He means by love, the war would be over and we should re-enter Heaven. An there lies the great task. We know that He cannot really love: nobody can: it doesn't make sense. If we could only find out what He is really up to (Lewis, 100-101)!

Matthew 22:34-40 clearly commands us to love--first God, then others (as love for others will flow out of love for God; see 1 John 4:19-21). Screwtape is right insofar as love is impossible to fully understand as humans. 1 Corinthians 13:12 compares our knowledge of love to seeing "a poor reflection as in a mirror;" when we see God face to face, we shall know the extent of love. What a marvelous thought!

Until then, how do we follow a commandment to love when love is completely beyond us?

Seek God more. Know God more. God is love (see 1 John again!), and He is the only means of knowing what that lofty concept looks like!

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