Nature and Grace Inaugural Piece

Nature and Grace Inaugural Piece August 15, 2022

When C.S. Lewis addresses freedom, he has great appeal to universal audiences because he both challenges and offers a vision of hope. The general concept of freedom, especially to Americans, is an integral one. It shapes the path that society takes and determines the means as well as the end that is chosen. It is a foundational principle, that if distorted or abused, could lead the country toward destruction, but if understood properly, it is the means by which its greatest hopes, dreams and aspirations are answered. Contrary to what the root of the word suggests, freedom is not necessarily free. America was built by sacrifice and responsibility and is blessed to have a constitution that has as one of its prominent tenets a provision that accords freedom (or Liberty) as a right. This is not the case with all countries. For example, the residents of Cuba are not free to express certain beliefs about their government, or to travel abroad. And in some Middle Eastern countries, women are not allowed to be outside of the home without the accompaniment of a man, whether it be a husband or a brother.

In many cultures, freedom is often seen in relation “from” something else. A few examples might be freedom from chains or freedom from systematic oppression. What’s a bit less mainstream is the concept of freedom “to” or freedom “for”; Freedom for change or growth, freedom to pursue excellence, freedom to fulfill the right desires, freedom to give and receive love – arguably the highest good in our world, according to many, including Lewis, who also believed that those wedded to a certain image of themselves by pride had an excruciating difficulty of attaining to(Williams). He was also of the mind that true freedom was bestowed by grace and couldn’t be acquired solely through human effort and self-mastery, due to the perversions of love and desire common to man, – though he firmly insisted that the beginning of freedom was built upon a full assent and attempt to adhere to God’s moral law (Gruenler). Popular mischaracterizations seem to have diluted the true meaning of this subject. People often forget or simply haven’t learned that freedom can be forfeited through abuse or neglect. The misplacement of freedom that is so prevalent to the fallen side of our human condition is the definition of license, freedom’s counterfeit. Lewis would transmit these themes far and wide. In doing so he gained much attention and notoriety from both within the UK and abroad.

Lewis, although a very eligible bachelor for most of his life, assumed that he would never marry, but in his late 50s he met and married Joy Davidman, one of his ardent fans who had traveled from America to meet him. A prodigy of sorts in her own right, she had broken the scale on her IQ test as a child, earned her master’s degree in English literature from Columbia University at 20 years old, and was by then in her 40’s (Dorsett). Lewis’s new partner was also keen on this sense of universal morality and is quoted saying about society – “Can we reasonably expect happiness from an insatiable appetite which, no matter how it stuffs its belly, is still psychologically like Oliver Twist in the poorhouse, holding up an empty bowl and begging, “I


Browse Our Archives

Close Ad