Patricia Hofer

“The doors of hell are locked on the inside”

In the Problem of Pain, CS Lewis wrote: “I willingly believe the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.” He then describes such “rebels” as those “who do not will even the first preliminary stages of that self-abandonment through which alone the soul can reach any good.” (The Problem of Pain, 130). Although I don’t agree with all that Lewis writes about “hell,” I do agree with some of ithis. Whatever hell we experience (and we can argue about that), we imprison ourselves in it. I also agree with Lewis that “self-abandonment” is the key. Where I disagree is that a God who forgives “seventy times seven” (KJV Matt. 18:21-22) certainly doesn’t lock the door on anybody.

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