The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis– letter 19

In Chapter 19 Screwtape wrestles with the concept of love– and the possibility that God might freely love the human beings he created. From his perspective, to admit that God really does love human beings is a dangerous heresy. Chapter 19 can be downloaded here:

For your consideration:

  1. What (false) assumptions does Screwtape hold about God?
  2. What has Screwtape misunderstood about Love?

The nature of God and his Love for us is clearly set out in the Bible– but perhaps we skim over this truth too quickly. We might never consider the horror of the circumstance that Screwtape has imagined– that God’s love is a pretext for some nefarious scheme, still undisclosed. The trustworthiness of God and his love for us provide us with profound assurance. The following passage might serve a springboard for responsive prayers of thanksgiving for God’s love:

9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13    This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19    We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

1 John 4:9-21