Thursday, September 18, 2014

C.S. Lewis Book Review

Heaven is Perspective

Is heaven something we achieve or is it something we learn? Is heaven somewhere we go or is it something we come to see?

I am indebted to Matt Sabey for setting me up with this book which I have truly enjoyed. It is a quick read, brimming with fresh, meaningful content.

I have been wanting to write a book review about it; however, I don't want to expose the whole book, since that would be lame! I want you to read the book! Therefore, I will break with the typical procedure for writing a book review and will limit myself to only discussing one concept contained in the book, as I interpret it.

A large portion of the story, the main character is meeting with an angel discussing the nature of heaven. The main character considers hell both a literal place, as well as the state of earth and after-earth (purgatory), especially in comparison with the glory of heaven.

The angel suggests a different way of looking at it: He declares that the soul who is in heaven, or a state of heavenliness, will look back on the time spent on earth and purgatory and will consider it all as heaven. The pain of the past is swallowed up in the glory of heaven, knowing that it was only through that pain that he or she could arrive at where they are. They will feel as though they have always been in heaven. Likewise, to the soul who rejects heaven and continues to live in rebellion, it will seem that they have always been in hell. This leads me to believe that heaven is simpler than we sometimes imagine. It is simply perspective: Seeing adversity, even tragic trials, as purposeful stepping stones to a greater state, will cause the person to feel in heaven. Seeing sin as weakness that can be overcome and taken away, curriculum of life, will also cause the person to feel in heaven. Thus, heaven can be considered one great continuum where we may always exist. 

The catch is that we need not feel we are in heaven every moment. Even those (sometimes us) who seem to be terribly lost, may come back and that lostness will be meaningful to them, making the joy of being found even greater. It will be heaven to them, looking back.

As the angel says, observing some rebellious souls, "I have seen that kind converted...those that hate goodness are sometimes nearer than those that know nothing at all about it and think they have it already." He continues, "No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened." 

Therefore, if we feel we are in hell, there is always the hope that one day (and maybe special days along the way), in great joy, we will look back upon our experiences and know that we were never parted from heaven - that heaven was and is always there, hidden to human eyes, revealed to heavenly eyes. 

Anyways, those are just some thoughts. I don't really know. Good book. 
What do YOU think?


  1. I love the idea that heaven is perspective. Today I listened to President Uchtdorf's last conference talk about being grateful in our circumstances, instead of just being grateful for things. We can always be in heaven as we have this attitude of gratitude. David and I are really excited to read it. Thank you! And thanks, Matt, for recommending it to James.

  2. Well, now I am going to have to go and look for this book. What an interesting perspective. But haven't we been taught this all along that there can be Heaven on earth? Home can be a Heaven on Earth. The Temples and Church buildings are places where Christ has walked. And like it has been taught to the youth, Stand ye in Holy Places, anywhere they are living righteously is a place of Heaven.

  3. I can't wait to read The Great Divorce! We should have a hangout discussion on the book.