Friday, October 9, 2009


"Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden.... An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula.... To get a man's soul and give him nothing in return--that's what really gladdens our Father's heart." ~ Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis

When reading this quote from this Lewis' classic we have to remember that "the Enemy" is God and "our Father" is satan since this is written from the perspective of an veteran demon writing to a rookie demon. The main thrust of this quote is that desire and pleasure come from God, but when they get out of order they become sin. I love how Lewis points out that all satan can do is temp/encourage humanity to crave and experience those God-given pleasures in ways they were not designed for. It is encouraging to remember that His design is for these pleasures to truly be healthy and satisfying. The NT agrees with Lewis' determination here. When it speaks of wrongful desires it most often uses the Greek word epithumia, which means "over desire" or "inordinate desire".

It is also interesting to note that Plato wrote something very similar in The Republic in about 380 BC. He thought that "self-control" was a contradiction because if one was his own master then he would also be his own slave. Plato held that "self-coherence" was a more accurate word because it implied that the desires in the self were not out of control but cohered to what the self was really looking for.

By His Grace,

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