C.S. Lewis: learning to eat “the only food that the universe grows”

May 16, 2013

lewisIf you subscribe to this blog, I’m sorry to pester you with so many emails in one day. You can tell I’m excited to have read Man’s Search for Meaning. I agree with my theologian friend John who just told me it was a Top Ten book for him. I’m pretty sure he would agree with me that that other great book on suffering, C.S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain, also belongs near the top. For me, it’s the best book I’ve ever read.

I was reviewing it just now in preparation for Sunday’s sermon, and I stumbled across the quote that Timothy Keller used to such devastating effect in his book on marriage. It brought me to tears in Keller’s book; it brings me to tears now.

Lewis’s point is that the happiness for which we often strive isn’t the happiness that’s available to us as creatures of God. The happiness that’s available is far better, but the path to it is one that we would rather avoid.

George Macdonald, in a passage I cannot now find, represents God as saying to men, ‘You must be strong with my strength and blessed with my blessedness, for I have no other to give you.’ That is the conclusion of the whole matter. God gives what He has, not what He has not: He gives the happiness that there is, not the happiness that is not. To be God—to be like God and to share His goodness in creaturely response—to be miserable—these are the only three alternatives. If we will not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows—the only food that any possible universe ever can grow—then we must starve eternally.[†]

† C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: HarperOne, 1996), 47.

2 Responses to “C.S. Lewis: learning to eat “the only food that the universe grows””

  1. Cindy Smith Says:

    I love C.S. Lewis…The Problem of Pain is a great book.


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