Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

TILL WE HAVE FACES – WHAT DID C.S. LEWIS MEAN BY THIS??

TILL WE HAVE FACES

WHAT DID C. S. LEWIS MEAN BY THIS??

A GLANCE AT THE ANSWER PROVIDED BY PETER SCHAKEL

By Forrest W. Schultz


 

Probably the deepest of all of C. S. Lewis's fiction was his Till We Have Faces. One of the puzzlers in it is exactly what Lewis meant by the phrase which is both the title and the last four words in the story. When I brought this up in a C.S. Lewis email discussion group which I recently joined, I was referred to a book published by Eerdmans in 1984 written by Peter Schakel, titled Reason and Imagination in C. S. Lewis: A Study of "Till We Have Faces". I recommend reading this book not only for the discussion it provides on this question but also for the huge amount of helpful information on Lewis which it provides.

The pages in Schakel's book which deal explicity with the question and which I believe are most helpful are 79, 85, 118, and 173. Schakel shows there that if we are to "have faces" in order to meet God "face to face", that we need to be personal (rather than impersonal), that we need to freely offer ourselves to His view, be willing and able to meet and accept God's face, and we must divest ourselves of all masks and veils and pretenses and defensiveness. Schakel also refers to other writings of Lewis which involve this principle. One of the most dramatic is the pastor in Pilgrim's Regress who puts on a mask when he talks about God – a dramatic example of what NOT to do!

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