Busy in Oxford

That’s me at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry, doing a video shoot for my course today.

Hey, Folks:

Sorry I’m behind posts, but this video course on Letters to Malcolm is keeping me pretty busy.  It’s like preparing a sermon or two, then delivering them, plus recording them on video (with all that involves), every day!   Whew!

I’ll be back on schedule when I get home.  🙂

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A Barfieldian Guess


If you are like me, the picture of the origin of the new heavens and the new earth in the last letter to “Malcolm” is a bit odd.  It certainly is not the depiction of the after-life we find in Lewis’ other writings.  Why has Lewis seemingly changed his view of the after-life?  I’m not sure he really has.

The origin of this idea or “guess” as Lewis calls it of the afterlife is Owen Barfield’s idea of the power of the soul which we find in his book Saving Appearances.  Lewis has already mentioned this book twice before in Letters to Malcolm.  Barfield sees the soul through its participative and figuring power as capable of creating reality.  In a sense, the soul is the source of being of the world we perceive and categorize.  The soul has a creational power.

Lewis says the human soul – augmented, as it were, by its union with the creative power of the life of Christ Himself – is going to be the source of the New World and the new life to come.  Yes, Christ is going to prepare a place for us, but he is going to do so through his enabling union with our souls.  And as Barfield anticipated centuries of human life as necessary for the recreation of the human idea of reality in this world, so Lewis says it is going to take aeons for our souls to recreate the new world.

This is why his depiction of the after-life strikes us.  It’s not the traditional idea.  It’s a Barfieldian resurrection; a Barfieldian after-life.  Why does Lewis do this?  Does he really believe that this is the nature of the resurrection?  I’m not so sure.

He says he’s only guessing.  He certainly has not depicted the after-life in this fashion before.  Lewis went along with a lot of what Barfield said about the powers of the soul, but he stopped short at their ability to actually affect objective reality.  Is it possible – and frankly, it strikes me as just the kind of thing Lewis might do – that he is here at the end of his book winking at Barfield and saying, “OK, Owen.  All these years I’ve denied this much power to the soul, but I tell you what.  I’ll grant it to you in the after-life!  There all things are possible – even your idea of the soul.”  It could be.  But then, I’m only guessing back at Lewis.  What do you think? 🙂

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