“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Saturday, August 8, 2009

C. S. Lewis and A. W. Tozer on Joy and Longing

…Pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow are often mingled in this world. Yet another paradoxical effect of living in a bittersweet world can be seen by looking at the human experience of perceiving and desiring beauty. We find glimpses and hints of it in the beauty of the world, but final contentment eludes us (see “Whispers of Eternity”). To perceive beauty is to perceive something unfulfilled in this world. It is to see a beam of light from beyond the walls of the world – we cannot yet approach the source of that light. One cannot find joy in this world for long without desiring something more. Even in our happiest and most beautiful moments, the height of the beauty only points all the more to heights of beauty that are higher still – indeed so high that they reach into eternity. A deep longing to climb yet higher fills us even when we are on the peaks. C. S. Lewis spoke poignantly of this in his autobiography Surprised by Joy – it was what led him to God, that thirst for fulfillment that always seems to be one step ahead of us. For Lewis, joy itself was desire, pleasure was filled with longing. Or, in A. W. Tozer’s words, “I long to be filled with longing, I thirst to be made more thirsty still” (The Pursuit of God 20).

1 comment:

  1. Dostoevsky said that "beauty is a riddle". I think you unearthed the answer to this riddle in exploring the primary nature of beauty - that is, that beauty is unfulfilled in this world. This explains of course why beauty remains mysterious and continues to evade us; on some level, we sense that beauty is constrained.


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