Original Research

Revisiting C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters of 1941 and exploring their relation to ‘Screwtape proposes a toast’

Raymond M. Potgieter
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 50, No 1 | a2168 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v50i1.2168 | © 2016 Raymond M. Potgieter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 July 2016 | Published: 03 December 2016

About the author(s)

Raymond M. Potgieter, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

According to the Bible, human history unfolds with the overarching presence of God and the limited presence of the devil. Though the fall of humankind into sin resulted in lasting consequences the Judeao-Christian tradition has had little trouble in identifying this distinction. But it is when the devil (and his followers) seek to challenge God’s dominion that the role of God becomes sullied through the seeming victories of the devil. C.S. Lewis was signally aware of spiritual warfare. He explored this in many of his writings, but it was especially The Screwtape Letters that fired the imagination of personal spiritual warfare. These were in story-like fashion from the perspective of demons in conversation with one another in the attempt to corrupt, dominate and destroy particular human subjects. The wider applicatory value of these letters is manifested in Lewis’s final letter from Screwtape: it is this letter that addresses the education system and shows how, from the devil’s perspective, matters such as the desensitisation of evil, normalising of forms of violence and deceit all bear evidence of the shifting moral adjustments Lewis identified in the education system of his day. The consequence of this has taken on the semblance of normality so that this normalisation constantly adjusts to the on- going progression towards still weirder and deeper forms of evil.

Keywords

devil; Screwtape; Wormwood; Enemy; Patient

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