Quotes from C. S. Lewis
The presentation below, “Quotes from C. S. Lewis,” is based on Dr. Ken Boa’s selection of quotes compiled for and shared with Ken’s late friend, Barry Morrow, upon their last visit. Barry was a lover of all things Lewis, and Ken and Barry spent much time together in Oxford, discussing both Lewis and heaven. If you’d like a copy of these quotes for print or download, click here.
C.S. Lewis is one of the most quoted writers in modern times—and for good reason. A brilliant thinker, his writing (spread across more than 30 books and dozens of essays) was powerful and succinct, raw and honest. Lewis articulated the truths of the Christian faith in a way that resonated with many, and that few writers have rivaled.
To that end, I have collected quotes by Lewis (as many have done) over the years. Below are some of my favorite quotes, including their sources.
Top Ten C. S. Lewis Quotes
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
—C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book III, chap. 10
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
—C. S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?”
Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
—C. S. Lewis, “Christian Apologetics,” in God in the Dock
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.
—C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, chap. 9
Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.
—C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book IV, chap. 11
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
—C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book II, chap. 3
The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.
—C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book II, chap. 5
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.
—C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book III, chap. 10
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.
—C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
—C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”
Commentary on C. S. Lewis Quotes
Lewis on Desire (Top 10 Lewis Quotes, Quote 1)
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book III, chap. 10
We all have desires, longings, what C. S. Lewis calls an inconsolable longing that cannot be eradicated by our world’s educational systems, which would seem to try to squeeze that out of us. If we really admit it, there’s no earthbound good that’s big enough, great enough, rich enough to sustain your heart’s deep longing for more. Because you were meant for a transtemporal and transfinite good. Any other good in which you fix your heart will be a dumb idol that will break it. Only the living God is big enough for that. And so there’s no experience great enough either—even the moments of joy, the greatest fellowship that you have of intimacy with people, the greatest experience of fun or adventure you’ve ever known, and the greatest moments of beauty, ineffable beauty, whether through music or art or poetry or landscape.
We’ve all shared such moments, and what do they do?
They bring a poignancy, but the thing itself is not big enough. They are carriers of a message beyond themselves of a good that you are not yet able to name. They’re scents of a flower you haven’t yet seen. They’re notes from a song or music you haven’t yet heard. It’s news from a country you haven’t visited. In other words, they’re not the thing itself, but they are shafts of God light in the woods of our experience that illuminate our paths. And they’re what Lewis called sehnsucht. Those moments of intimacy and of beauty and of adventure are not the thing itself, but they’re pointers to that thing that you will one day be able to lay hold of… but not in this life. And that is what I think Lewis is saying. You have a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy. And the reason for that then is because you were made for another world.
Lewis on Worldview (Top 10 Lewis Quotes, Quote 2)
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. —C. S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?”
You see why Lewis is so quotable. This one little simple sentence so beautifully encapsulates good theology. A biblical vision of the world, the biblical theistic view, biblical Christianity, illuminates the world in such a way that it makes sense of the world whereas nothing else does. We are engulfed in a world in which people are trying to find meaning and a context of logic in a context that has, through post-modernity, cut itself off from any reason, from any history, from any authority, from any evidence. So as a consequence, people are not capable of making any sense at all of the world because they have abandoned themselves from the wellspring of sense. There are atheists who are trying to claim that you can be good without God, but by doing so, what do you mean by goodness?
As soon as you ask, what do you mean by goodness, you have to have the idea of an absolute because otherwise it’s just, “Well, it may be good for you, but not for me. It’s just what I happen to feel.” Similarly, those who think we come from a world that is just the impersonal plus time and chance have to answer: If it’s just pure material, it’s just matter, then what makes you think that you even have a basis for rational thought if you’re just the product of impersonal forces?
This line of reasoning is like sitting on a branch, and the branch is tied to the tree, but you have a saw and you’re between you and the tree, you’re beginning to cut it off. You see what you’re doing? You just cut yourself off from the source of reason and rationality. And in your arguments, you’ve just then abandoned it because there’s no basis for anything that is reasonable.
Only in the biblical vision then is there a source or wellspring for rationality. Why?
Because God is the wellspring of what of the true, of the good, of the beautiful. That’s why you and I are beings who can correspond.
We’re rational beings—the true.
We are aesthetic beings—the beautiful.
We’re moral beings—the good.
We’re wired that way. And we’re relational beings because God is a being in communion in the Trinitarian theology. He is the One and the Many. He is a Society of Being. Because of that, He invites us to be also a community, one in many. We’re not just isolated monads but a collection and a communion and a community.
Lewis on the Importance of Christianity (Top 10 Lewis Quotes, Quote 3)
Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. —C. S. Lewis, “Christian Apologetics,” in God in the Dock
So excellent, so precise, so concise. Let’s think about your options. Most people basically look at Christianity or religion as moderately important. I’ll give you an example. I went to the memorial of my older sister’s homecoming. Now, she went to be with the Lord Jesus in February and every time I was with her on the phone, I was reading stories to her from our youth. And it was a magical time. And, in fact, at her memorial at the grave side, I brought the Book Trails series that we grew up with. They were published in 1928. And my mom grew up with those. She was born in 1924 and she passed them on to us and we read them and grew up with them. And then I used to read them out loud to my sister (even though she was two years older, she liked me to read them to her).
I remembered one called “Teeny Tiny,” so I read that out loud at the memorial service, because she loved for me to read that to her. And I adopted a funny way of reading it, taking on the voices and so forth. And so my sister had a childlike wonder and simplicity and awe. Story is what drove her, and we long for things to be like they are in those stories because it has to be, in these fantasy stories, beautiful and good. So that’s how we connected together.
As we grew along and every time I read a story, she never knew which story I would pick. These phone-call story sessions happened in the last two months of her life, and it was the grace of God. So maybe twice a week I’d call her. She never knew when it would be. “Ready for a story?” And she’d squeal with delight and she’d get her copy because I bought a set of those books for her so she could read from the very same thing I’m reading from.
But as it went along, each time we talked, she expressed a greater desire to be with Jesus. She was going through an awful lot of pain, but it was not just the pain. There was a growing desire just to be in His presence.
The most amazing thing is the very last time we were together on the phone, it was she who called me and not the other way around. It was the first time that happened. And she had the story that she wanted me to read, rather than me choosing the story. And so, at my sister’s service I alluded to that particular story as well. She loved those stories, and I shared them with the graveside crowd to emphasize her longing to be in that greater land of the living that should knew to be true.
And in spite of all that, the amazing thing was this: the crowed may have nodded to all those thing, but I know that they would rather my sister have been back in this land of the dying. They gave lip service because Christianity was only moderately important.
They said, “Yeah, this is nice, but really we’d rather her be with us.” So they didn’t believe a word of it. Because if you really believed this was true, you would be wanting to prepare yourself as a pilgrim on the narrow way for the journey’s end and not get yourself so entangled in trinkets and tinsels and toys that you give your life in exchange for stuff that’s not going to even be worth looking at.
This is the whole point that Lewis emphasizes, and he was well right and well regarded in this understanding. It’s either totally unimportant or it’s utterly important, but don’t play this crazy game of making it a compartment or a component of your life. It’s either the central component, a centrality of everything, or it’s nothing. He’s either the Lord of all or the Lord of nothing.
Lewis on Hell (Top 10 Lewis Quotes, Quote 4)
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened. —C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, chap. 9
That is a an extraordinary summary. That statement is as good as whole books that I’ve read. He concisely puts it together. There are essentially two kinds of people: those who seek to know God and those who seek to avoid him—and both will succeed in the end. They will have what they want. This is not a trivial matter. You become conformed by that to which you aspire.
Lewis on Finding Christ (Top 10 Lewis Quotes, Quote 5)
Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in. (In Mere Christianity, book IV, chap. 11)
Of course, that’s Matthew 6:33, isn’t it? Seek first the kingdom of God and you will find then all things in Him, effectively. You will be satisfied. Seek the first things first. The secondary things are also there. In finding Him, you find all things. I often say that satisfaction is the overflow, the byproduct of the pursuit of God first. If you try to seek love, joy, and peace as ends in themselves, you’ll not attain them. If you try to find security or satisfaction or significance as ends in themselves, they will elude your grasp. Those are the byproducts, the overflow of seeking Jesus first, because if you find Him, everything else is there.
So you must therefore do this awful thing: you must lose your life to gain his life. To lose your life is to find your true life in him. He wants to become incarnate in you. He wants to live his life in you and through you as you. And how does He do that? It’s as you know Him, not in the head, but in your heart—an experiential personal relational knowledge with Him. And as you come to know Him that way, then you become conformed to His image. You become like Him. When that begins to happen, then the Word becomes flesh.
Lewis on Happiness and Peace (Top 10 Lewis Quotes, Quote 6)
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. —C. S. Lewis,Mere Christianity, book II, chap. 3
People want happiness and peace on their own terms. Many people want to know enough about the Bible to have a more comfortable life, but not to have a changed life. In other words, they want God to be a utility for their own particular desires and hoping that by doing the right things, God will serve that end. Failing to grasp, no, God is not a cosmic slot machine, He’s not some kind of vending machine, that it doesn’t work this way, that you’re not going to find what you’re looking for apart from Him. There is no such thing.
The supposition that we have is that He’s the enemy, the opposer of our heart’s desire, and that’s a wrong mindset. That’s what the enemy has tried: Has God said, “You shall not eat”? You see, immediately from the very beginning, the tempter will try to convince you that God doesn’t have your best interests at heart; therefore, the great problem of the human condition is not our finitude but our volition where we want to be egocentric and we want to control our lives. And so for us to say, “Not my will, but Your will be done,” is no easy task because it involves a death to yourself.
But let’s admit it, what you want is almost never what you need, even the healing of a loved one. It may be that you’re longing for or lusting for something in your time and in your way that may well not be what you need. So often—and we see this in the best literature , film, poetry, and drama—we know that the protagonists will almost always have to go through an arc in which they move and have to finally die to what they wanted and only through pain discover what they actually needed.
In doing so, what you’re doing is emptying yourself of what you wanted and then coming to realize, That was my will, but now I will embrace Your will and so I die to that and say, “What your will is, is what I actually need.” That’s a corrective that you have to go through on a regular basis. I don’t want to presume upon God. I do not want to make demands and put my hope in things God never promised, because when I do that, I will set myself up for bitterness against God and then I will be a person who has a root of bitterness such that God becomes my enemy rather than the one I should have been seeking. He is never going to be opposed to your highest, best good, but He’ll be opposed to your perception of your highest, best good. There’s a huge difference.
Lewis on Being Good (Top 10 Lewis Quotes, Quote 7)
The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us. —C. S. Lewis,Mere Christianity, book II, chap. 5
The typical religionist is one who thinks he’s got to do or act in a certain way in order to earn merit or achieve God’s favor. That’s religion. Christianity is not a religion, never has been. I have come to see Christianity as not a religion, but a romance. (I used to say it’s a relationship, and that’s true, but I think it’s even richer than that. I think it’s actually God pursuing and wooing and calling us and drawing us.)
Now people find that to be really odd, but it’s also odd when you stop and think of yourself: Who are you? What metaphor is used of us, of the church in the New Testament? It’s the bride. The Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ. In Ephesians 5, you see this metaphor being picked up and used and developed of marriage. This is a mystery, the two becoming one. My point is that you and I in this mystery also are seen to be men and women are part of this bride. Now, what are you going to do with that? This is obviously transcending gender, sexuality.
So it says, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him for the marriage of the Lamb has come, His bride…” Who is that? It’s us. “Has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean for the fine line is the righteous acts of the saints.” And then they’re invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. This is pretty impressive stuff when you stop and think about it. It’s bridal mysticism. God loves us and is making us, and He is going to take out all spot and wrinkle in any such thing and will perfectly purge and purify us, and that’s going to happen at the judgment seat of Christ, so that all spot and wrinkle will be removed.
Right now we, in our spirit, are already perfect in Him. Where are you right now in your spiritual self? You are already seated with Him in the heavenly places in Christ. That’s your spirit. You’re declared righteous, you’re adopted in God’s family and you are a saint, and yet in this life our soul is tethered to this earthbound dying mortality. So we are sick with desire and fastened into a dying animal (William Butler Yeats’ graphic metaphor of the human condition). So you have this sickness with desire for the eternal that you’re fastened into this mortality. “Wretched man that I am,” Paul says, “Who will deliver me from the of this death?” (Romans 7:24) His point is this, that we have this longing for something richer and more than this mortality, and so it should be, because ultimately we shall not all sleep, but we will all be raised and ultimately we will be conformed, and that which is dying will become something that will ever live.
He is preparing us for the sinless, painless, deathless, tearless life of the new age to come, the fourth act, the consummation of all things. There, in your resurrected body, you will be complete. Your conformity to Christ will not only be spiritual, it’ll also be your soul, your mind, your will, your motion, your imagination. All that will be perfectly conjoined and conformed. Moreover, your body will be a body of glorified flesh, a body of the new order of physics, the new creation, what’ll be normal to that body would seem to be miraculous to this physics. It’s going to be most impressive.
So then, our happiness depends upon Him, and He is going to make us good. Not because we are pursuing Him, but He pursues us. He is the sacred romancer of your soul. He is the one who woos you and pursues you, and will, in fact, embrace us. And the story will go on and on. So it continues to go.
Lewis on Thinking About Heaven (Top 10 Lewis Quotes, Quote 8)
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book III, chap. 10
This is why more and more evangelicals, sadly, are buying into woke theology. They’re buying into this world’s agenda, into what they define as social justice, but not biblical justice. They’re diminishing themselves and buying the narratives of a fallen world. As a consequence, they are losing their distinctive message. They’re defining themselves not by a biblical narrative, but by the worldly narrative, then trying to make themselves relevant to it. As a result, they’re now consigning themselves to perpetual irrelevance.
Lewis on Human Beings (Top 10 Lewis Quotes, Quote 9)
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. —C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”
I like the way he describes the entire range: immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. There’s this beautiful portrait of recognizing you are not dealing with ordinary people—you never met one. You’re dealing with immortal beings. See them as such, and then recognize then that the last, the least, and the lost have dignity beyond even any human cultural institution, that they have a dignity and a weight and a worth.
Lewis on Pleasure (Top 10 Lewis Quotes, Quote 10)
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. —C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”
It’s interesting how some people do compare their mud pies, and one says, “Look at how many I have.” But another one says, “Yeah, but look at the quality of my mud.” How absurd that they’re comparing and that they use the metrics of this world.
And even when they are talking about spiritual things, they succumb to the same metrics; and it doesn’t work, because they’re so in love with this world. They try to define ministry in terms of nickels and noses. You don’t define discipleship in terms of worldly quantity. Attendance, buildings, and cash—ABCs does not define ministry. Buildings and budgets and body counts do not define ministry. Discipleship is not something you quantify. You can’t. How do you define a relationship? Is there a relation-ometer, a love-ometer?
People do not like the ambiguity of something that’s not quantifiable. Can you quantify a positive commandment? Husbands, love your wives as Christ love the church. How are you doing? People don’t like that. They are more in love with the metrics of this world’s system because they can see and count and control and compare and compete and quantify. But they don’t like the ambiguity of the Great Commission, and the Great Commission says, “Go and make disciples.” Instead, we go and make programs.
C. S. Lewis Quotes: Honorable Mentions
My friend Barry and I would speak on and about these quotes and concepts far beyond this list of 10, and so I include here some honorable mentions, such as
Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind. —C. S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady
This is the one, when I read it to Barry, his hand gripped me. He realized he was on death’s door, on eternity’s gate, but it wasn’t really death, was it? It was at the birth canal. And he knew he was being birthed into his new home. And that was the edge of eternity. So the realization then, is that we are, therefore, people who are being prepared for that true joy.
I hope you find joy in these remaining quotes, as Barry and I did:
A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, “darkness” on the walls of his cell. —C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, chap. 3
Humans are amphibians—half spirit and half animal. … As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. —C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, letter 8
Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book II, chap. 3
Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book III, chap. 10
If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair. —C. S. Lewis,Mere Christianity, book I, chap. 5
Human history … [is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity , book II, chap. 3
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book IV, chap. 8
I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity. —C. S. Lewis, “Answers to Questions on Christianity,” in God in the Dock
Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. … While what we call “our own life” remains agreeable, we will not surrender it to Him. What, then, can God do in our interests but make “our own life” less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness? —C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, chap. 6
Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book IV, chap. 11
Joy is the serious business of Heaven. —C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm
Reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. —C. S. Lewis, “Bluspels and Flalansferes: A Semantic Nightmare”
If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book II, chap. 1
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art …. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. —C. S. Lewis,The Four Loves, “Friendship” chapter
Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself …” —C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, “Friendship” chapter
Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others. —C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, “Friendship” chapter
The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts. —C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
We are not living in a world where all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the centre: rather in a world where every road, after a few miles, forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork, you must make a decision. —C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, preface
We all want progress … but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road, and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book I, chap. 5
Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. —C. S. Lewis, “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment,” in God in the Dock
The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. —C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, letter 12
A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. —C. S. Lewis,Surprised by Joy, chap. XII—“Guns and Good Company”
What I call my “self” now is hardly a person at all. It’s mainly a meeting place for various natural forces, desires, and fears, etcetera, some of which come from my ancestors, and some from my education, some perhaps from devils. The self you were really intended to be is something that lives not from nature but from God. —C. S. Lewis, “Beyond Personality,” BBC Radio Talk, 21 March 1944
Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book IV, chap. 11
Miracles … are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see. —C. S. Lewis, “Miracles,” in God in the Dock
A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness, and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride. —C. S. Lewis, a letter to Bede Griffiths, 16 April 1940
There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite. —C. S. Lewis, “The Devil,” in The Joyful Christian
This is one of the miracles of love; it gives … a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted. —C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, chap. 4
What we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument. —C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book IV, chap. 9
The more we get what we now call “ourselves” out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. He invented … all the different men that you and I were intended to be. … It is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to His Personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, book IV, chap. 11
Conclusion: Another World, An Eternal Choice
C. S. Lewis had a knack for communicating profound biblical truth in a simple way that captures the imagination. His pithy statements illuminate the importance of Christianity and the wonders of the world to come.
Lewis knew that there are certain moments in our life that stir up a sense of beauty, wonder, and adventure. But these experiences, these glimpses, cannot ultimately satisfy us. These moments are not meant to be ends in themselves. Instead, they point beyond this world to something greater.
If we focus only on this world and believe it will satisfy us, we lose our sense of direction. If we say this world came into being out of pure chance, just a random result from an explosion at the beginning of the universe, then there is no purpose, no basis for anything that is reasonable. Only in the biblical, Christian worldview is there a source of purpose and reason and goodness and beauty. We were made for another world—and only in light of that world can we understand this one.
If it is true that we were made for another world, one that is yet to come, we would do well to prepare ourselves for it. If we idle away our time with things that have no lasting significance, truly we have wasted our lives here. As Lewis put it, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
Christianity, if true, is central to everything. What we do now affects eternity.
How we live now matters. The choices we make have an impact. If we choose ourselves and live only for this world, we will miss out on the next. But if we choose God and live for Him, we will have abundant eternal life.
Ken Boa has taught on C. S. Lewis many times. Here are a few videos of those teachings, in which he discusses not only some of the best quotes of Lewis but entire books
- The Weight of Glory
- Learning in Wartime
In one of our best read articles, The Five Loves, written by Ken Boa and Michael Stewart, Ken discusses the concept of love, and uses as an outline one of Lewis’s works, The Four Loves. Ken adds one form of love, as you can see in this list, taken from the full article:
Epithumia love— Legitimate physical desire
(disordered form: lust)
Erōs love — Romantic love or sexual love
(disordered form: leads to illicit relationships, treating other people as gods and sole sources of our personal needs)
Storgē love — Affection or belonging, as shared by family members
(disordered form: disdain or ungratefulness; taking for granted)
Philia love — Friendship and companionship, a love of openness that is occupied with common interests and activities
(disordered form: manipulative relationships, one-upmanship, cliques)
Agapē love — A willful choice to put another’s interests above one’s own; an unselfish, giving (even to the point of sacrifice), and unconditional love
(with God as its source, it is never disordered; elevates and correctly orders the other four loves, making them human-divine loves that fulfill God’s original intentions)
Quotes from C. S. Lewis
This content on the reliability of the Bible was originally printed in Decision Magazine. False Impressions “I don’t want to take a bath—I’m clean enough!” My impassioned protests as a six-year-old at bedtime were quickly rebuffed by this powerful tool from my parents’ arsenal of guilt-inducing mottoes: “The Bible says that cleanliness is next to godliness!” […]