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Paperback The Great Divorce Book

ISBN: 0060652950

The Great Divorce

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THE GREAT DIVORCE

As Lewis explains in his preface, The Great Divorce is a response to the attitude of William Blake, among others, that someday there will be an ideal union of the secular and divine, or Heaven and Hell. Unable to see how this could ever be, Lewis wrote The Great Divorce to explore the issue further. The result is a religous allegory of the highest caliber and impeccable, nearly frightening, insight.As with all allegories, The Great Divorce relies on symbolism to make its point. Lewis admits his book is not to be taken literally as a tour guide of either Heaven or Hell, but merely as an artistic expression of his ideas. And the plot device works well--Lewis's intensely brilliant yet readily accessible and familiar writing style makes it easy to imagine oneself in the narrator's shoes on the uneasy bus ride out of Hell, hunkering under the great mountains of Glory, or even talking uncertainly with Ghosts or Spirits (oh yes, there is a big difference!). The Great Divorce is a fine read for anyone, believer or unbeliever. The former will find many challenges and assurances; the latter will discover new insights into the Christian faith not readily available from other sources. Above all, The Great Divorce is a Dante-esque tour of not only the Worlds Beyond, but just as importantly one of the often unexplored metaphysical World within us all.

What is Heaven and Hell, anyway?

The brilliance of "The Great Divorce" is Lewis' focus on the spiritual aspects of Heaven and Hell and not just the literal aspects. The very day I became a Christian, the thought entered my mind that the very worst things about Hell had to be the absence of love and the absence of Christ. That was as far as my thinking went. Lewis took me much further with this book-- The lustful man lives in a kind of Hell already. The woman with a forgiving and humble heart lives in a kind of Heaven already. In the Bible, believers are described as already seated with Christ in Heavenly places-- spiritually, they have already arrived at their eternal destination. The converse is true of unbelievers. They dwell in the dark shadows of the underworld-- willingly without love and without Christ, burning in the flames of their own selfishness. An excellent read!! Lewis mentions his predecessor, George MacDonald, in "The Great Divorce." I have read that Lewis derived much of his theology from MacDonald's interpretations. I recommend MacDonald's book "Phantastes," the very book which Lewis partly credits for his conversion. I also recommend highly, and I do mean highly "Castle of Wisdom" by Rhett Ellis.

Vivid fantasy of a bus ride through Heaven and Hell - WOW!

Only C.S. Lewis can write a story like this. A man takes a bus ride through Hell, then Heaven and witnesses the choices made by others in their lives.The vivid stories within the story show that indecision is still a decision... it underscores the petty things in our lives that we allow to dominate us, things that will still plague us in Hell for eternity if we don't abandon them.Lewis' concepts (fantasized, of course) of the substance of spirit versus the substance of flesh and blood are incredibly thought provoking. There are mental images I got from reading this book that I will never forget.It is basic truth - you choose life, you choose death, or you choose not to choose. You will either give up the things that are holding you down (whether they be bitter resentments, anger, material gain, control, etc.) or you will cling to them until they become your master and you their slave.The book presents these concepts in such a non-threatening way that you've gotten a life lesson that you don't realize until you've finished this short, yet vibrant book.

Great Images of Heaven and Hell

Although this book is written as a novella, it contains TONS of thinly disguised theological truths and brain-shaking ideas. This is one of those books where everything means something. Every bit of the scenic description of Heaven and Hell reveals something that Lewis believes to be true about the two places and how people respond to them. Other fascinating things about this book are the fictional characters and seeing how different types of people respond to being in Heaven. There is one man who realizes that now that he is in Heaven, and in the presence of God, he is no longer useful. But he doesn't want to start feeling useless, and so cannot enter the presence of God--because in Heaven God provides for everyone's needs. This book really makes you contemplate whether Christianity is more about the journey or the destination. It's entertaining and full of wisdom, and is a must-read.
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