The devil is a liar

Devotees of the work of C. S. (“Jack”) Lewis who are unwise enough to speak or write of the devil (or engage in any way with him), might find passages from The Screwtape Letters coming hazily to mind. They might even blame the devil for the haze! Because, as the main character, Screwtape, says: “Do not be deceived … . Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s [God’s] will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

But we only have to turn to the Preface of The Screwtape Letters, written at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1941, to get our bearings. There, the voice of C.S. Lewis is unmistakable: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” To which Lewis adds: “Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar.”

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