Megan Franks's Reviews > The Great Divorce

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
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Apr 28, 13

bookshelves: faith, fantasy, re-read
Read from March 16 to 19, 2012

THIRD READING (Apr 2013):...because you can never read this one enough. There's always something more to learn.

SECOND READING: 4 STARS

Okay...I'm really glad I read this book again. I learned that this book is not to be read as a theological guide, but to be enjoyed for its imagery and thought-provoking theme. Lewis wasn't making any bold theological claims (he says so in the preface!). It's not a "what if" story ("What if this happens after death?" or "What if that is what heaven is like?"). Once again, he is simply using his gift of fiction writing to get the reader to think about spiritual things.

What must man rid himself of to accept the gift of Christ and the glory of Heaven? Even if Heaven was right at our fingertips, would we still cling tightly to our obsessions? Our stuff? The things we THINK equate with true happiness and love? "There is always something they insist on keeping even at the price of misery" Don't get weighed down with whether or not Lewis is suggesting that the damned have a second chance at heaven after death. The basic theme of this book is found on page 75 of my text: "All that are in Hell, choose it." This is quite rapidly becoming one of my favorite Lewis books, now!


FIRST READING: 3 STARS
My mind is spinning.

The Great Divorce was an easy but terribly difficult read. On the surface, it is an fantastical tale of a man's journey to Heaven (via bus) and what he discovers about the place and mankind's reaction to it. In a nutshell, the thesis is that some people would still choose Hell even when faced with the brilliance of Heaven because of their inability to give everything to God.

However, as is common with Lewis, things go much, much deeper than that. There are many theologies mentioned throughout. For example, one of the main characters ("The Teacher") is based on a Christian minister and writer (George MacDonald) who had unconventional ideas about Heaven/Hell. Though Lewis was not necessarily advocating the ideas/theologies he discussed throughout the story, I think a basic understanding of these ideas/theologies would be most helpful. I will have to delve more deeply into those topics and reread the book again in the hopes that I can more fully wrap my mind around the subject.

The key to enjoying this story is to remember that Lewis was not trying to give his version of what life-after-death will be like; he simply wanted us to think about the bigger pictures of salvation and eternity.

It's definitely worth a read.

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