C.S. Lewis has argued that we cannot truly love God unless we are first free to truly hate Him. And so in books like Mere Christianity, The Abolition of Man, The Screwtape Letters, Perelandra, Out of the Silent Planet, That Hideous Strength, and A Pilgrim’s Regress, Lewis writes that God can only reveal the true depth and richness of His love to a creature who is free to choose to love Him.
In The Great Divorce, for instance, he presents his readers with six citizens of Hell who are given the opportunity to take a journey to Heaven for a day (how they got this opportunity he doesn’t bother to explain, but oh well). While in Heaven, the six are offered the choice to either remain in Heaven or to return to Hell. Of the six, only one chooses to stay, and that only after an angel first asks for permission to destroy the lust that clings to this one’s shoulder in the shape of a lizard.
(Lewis apparently wants us to believe that Christ’s finished work wasn’t enough to deal with lust. Lewis also apparently wants us to believe lust looks the part of a lizard.)
The Great Divorce is supposed to be a warning against those who would remain in their sin while calling themselves a Christian. Lewis would have done well to heed the warning himself, for in The Great Divorce he presents the idea one can be redeemed, purchased by the blood of Christ, and yet still somehow find himself a citizen of Hell.
What Lewis does here, and what every single Arminianist does along with him, is try to make God less than God; as though somehow God is helpless to do anything that is contrary to almighty man and his almighty free will. “But you’re making man into a robot,” the Arminianist will argue when confronted with God’s sovereignty.
Never mind the fact that the Arminianist is making God into a robot by arguing for man’s sovereignty. “But you’re making man into a robot!” To which I say, and? What is your point? That God should be the robot instead of man? How very blasphemous of you. ”
Is not God free to do as He wishes, and especially with respect to His creation? What sort of God is not free to do so? Even the pagans, with their many gods know better. Has anyone ever presented the story of a Zeus who is not able to do with man whatever he wishes? What of Vishnu, is he so helpless he cannot do as he pleases? What of Ra, has he ever been a man that he should respect man’s will? And yet many the “civilized” man who calls himself a Christian will give more honor to a Zeus, to a Vishnu, to a Ra than he will to the one and only Jehovah.
Here we have the most fantastic news in the universe. The God who has created all that exists, the One who is eternally omniscient, almighty, omnipresent and a terror to behold, this God, this One, has chosen a few mortals to be His children. And yet, many who would name themselves His children will argue, “not until He first checks in with me, He doesn’t.” What sort of nonsense is that?! It’s beyond nonsense, it’s absurd.
Hebrews 2:10 begins:”For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things. . .”
For whom are all things. Not only from whom, although all things are indeed also from Him, but rather for Him. Nothing that exists, nothing that has ever existed, nothing that ever will exist, exists for any other reason than Him. He is the reason for it all. I exist for Him. For Him! The elect exist for Him. The non-elect exist for Him. Satan exists for Him. All the angels, elect and reprobate exist for Him. The stars, the planets, the galaxies, all the viruses and bacteria in the universe, every plant, every animal, every rock, every thought, every concept, every minute and every second exists for Him.
There is nothing that does not exist for Him. It is all His to do with as He pleases, and what He pleases is to do the Father’s will. And what is the Father’s will? That the Son shall be glorified. Therefore, all that exists, exists for Him.
Now how in the world can any mere creature, designed and created for Him, expect to be taken seriously by shaking his tiny fist and saying, “Not by the will of my chinny-chin-chin”? And it’s not like the proud Arminian is the only little porker hiding in the straw house either.
Many “Calvinists” also take sides against God by conditioning hell on the sinner. They write like this: “Sinners who refuse and continue to believe salvation conditioned on themselves, against God’s promise, shut themselves out of the kingdom of heaven.”
No, they do not! There is no difference between this and Lewis’ idea that Hell is locked from the inside. No one can shut himself out of the kingdom of heaven. No one can lock the doors of Hell. God is the one who shuts people out of the kingdom of heaven. God is the one who locks people into Hell.
Sinners who refuse the Gospel do so because God has made them do so. He is the one who blinds, He is the one who deafens, He is the one who shuts, and He is the one who locks.
If I could have a conversation with Lewis, I suspect it would go something like this:
Lewis: You would be making man into a robot.
Me: And? Is it your contention that God is the robot? I am His creature, He is the Creator. If you want to say that makes all men a robot, then so be it, I’m a robot.
Lewis: But if you’re robot, then you’d have to admit you can’t honestly love God.
Me: I admit no such thing. I was a robot that had been pre-programmed to hate God. God reprogrammed me to love Him. How is it now that I don’t honestly love Him?
Lewis: Yes but, you can’t know God’s love to the fullest extent.
Me: How is that? I had been a robot pre-programmed to sin. God rescued me from my programming by dying for my bad output on a cross. He reprogrammed me with the knowledge of where I had been and where I am now. How is that I don’t know God’s love to the fullest extent?
Lewis: But. . . but. . . y-you’d make God responsible for evil.
Me: He created Satan, didn’t He? Let’s say for a moment you’re right, and God, using only His foreknowledge, knew Satan would sin. Very well, He created Satan knowing full well Satan would sin and would cast the universe into chaos, didn’t He? He created Satan knowing full well what sin would do to His creature, man, didn’t He? And yet He created him anyway. How does that not make Him responsible for evil?