The theme for this blog is expressed in the two quotations below. The first is from Novalis (1772-1801), a German romantic writer who greatly influenced George MacDonald (1824-1905), who in turn greatly influenced C. S. Lewis:
Wo gehn wir denn hin? Immer nach Hause.
–From Novalis’ unfinished novel, Henry von Ofterdingen
Translation: Where are we going? We are always going home.
C. S. Lewis, in Chapter 9 of The Great Divorce, develops the idea that “we are always going home.” In this meditation presented as a dream, Lewis speculates on the relations of Heaven, Hell, and free will. Lewis here imagines George MacDonald, a writer whom Lewis greatly admired, explaining how our choices have eternal consequences:
“Son,” he said, “ye [the dream Lewis] cannot in your present state understand eternity. . . . But ye can get some likeness of it if ye say that both good and evil, when they are full grown, become retrospective. . . [Humans] say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it,’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say ‘Let me but have this and I’ll take the consequences’: little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man’s past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why, at the end of all things, when the sun rises here and the twilight turns to blackness down there, the Blessed will say, ‘We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven,’ and the Lost, ‘We were always in Hell.’ And both will speak truly.”