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Perelandra-the devil.

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Perelandra-the devil.

Postby 42missy42 » 14 Feb 2007, 20:39

I was just re-reading a section of Perelandra for my essay...again, anyhow, this section really struck me...this is when Ransom is recovering from the faint he went into after seeing the Un-man's face a little closer.
"As he lay there, still unable and perhaps unwilling to rise, it came into his mind that in certain old philosophers and poets he had read that the mere sight of the devils was one of the greatest among the torments of Hell. It had seemed to him till now merely as quaint fancy. And yet (as he now saw) even the children know better: no child would have any difficulty in understanding that there might be a face the mere beholding of which was final calamity...."
Long quote, I know, but why did Ransom faint here, and not later on when he was debating with the Un-man, or while he was fighting him? If his face is so terrible, wouldn't Ransom have had no chance in his fight?
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Postby 42missy42 » 14 Feb 2007, 20:47

and one more thing...sorry, anyhow, the part where it says
"(Un-man) It was beyond vice as the Lady was beyond virtue."
So why does Lewis make the first meeting of Ransom and the Un-man so dramatic, and the first meeting of the Lady and Ransom seem so petty?
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Postby Mavramorn » 15 Feb 2007, 15:18

I think the reason the Ransom fainted was because the Un-man smiled at him. In any case, he could have avoided looking into its face while confonting it.
"Could it be true, that I hold here in my mortal hand, a nugget of purest...green?"
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Postby 42missy42 » 15 Feb 2007, 16:23

Ohhhh ok...I never thought of that...duh. lol :rolleyes:
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Postby Maid of Ithilien » 02 Mar 2007, 02:12

Also perhaps it was the unnatural-ness of the expression that so shocked and dazed him that he fainted--but having seen it once and thought about it, discerning the nature of the expression as "Un-man" or devilish (in the true, literal sense of the word), he could then brace himself for the physiological impact of such evil meeting his soul through his own eyes (the gates of the soul). It took him by surprise once and he was not ready for it, nor did he comprehend it, thus he fainted. Next time, he was ready for it and strengthened by his understanding of what it was.
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Facing the Un-Man

Postby Kanakaberaka » 10 Jun 2007, 04:16

42missy42 wrote: If his face is so terrible, wouldn't Ransom have had no chance in his fight?


I think that Lewis was trying to suggest a Miserific vision when he had Ranson faint at the first sight of the Un-Man. Weston seems to have become the opposite of the Beatific Vision of God. But of course God has no opposite. So there can be no equaly powerful opposition to the glory of God. Whatever shocked Rasom into a swoon was not enough to take him by surprise a second time. I can only guess that Ransom asked God to enter him just as a demon had taken over Weston. It seems that God does not wish to take over Ransom's will, but to allow him to carry out His divine will by Ransom's own volition.
so it goes...
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Postby The Revanchist » 10 Dec 2007, 06:44

Well, yeah. God doesn't want robots. If he did, he would have made us that way. He wants us to choose to follow Him of our own free will.

Back on subject: Obviously Maledil (Jesus) helped Ransom during the fight. My main "objection" to the fight is that demon possessed people HAVE been noted to posses "unnatural" strength.

However, Jesus can order demons around, and they have to obey Him. Perhaps He ordered them not to increase Weston's strength, but only to control his body.
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Postby Dick Devine » 05 Aug 2008, 16:55

The Revanchist wrote:My main "objection" to the fight is that demon possessed people HAVE been noted to posses "unnatural" strength.

However, Jesus can order demons around, and they have to obey Him. Perhaps He ordered them not to increase Weston's strength, but only to control his body.


I'm not sure this is true. Anything operating in a human body has to use the strength of that body, without divine intervention. If pushed to the limit and beyond, surprising results are sometimes possible, e.g. a parent holding one end of a car off child (briefly. Resulted in numerous fractured vertebrae).

I don't think He ordered them to do anything to Weston!
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Postby archenland_knight » 05 Aug 2008, 17:55

I believe the idea that those possessed by demons will have super-human strength comes from the case of the Gerasene Demoniac in Mark 5:3-4

This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him.


So, we have one documented case of a demon possessed person having greater than natural strength. Now, if there were two or three such instances recorded in scripture, I would say that was a pattern and good evidence that demon possession normally causes such an increase in physical strength.

However, to my knowledge, this is the only documented case of a demon possession causing increased strength in a human. And many instances of possession are recorded with no mention of super-human strength, or speed, or x-ray vision. So we can not say if increased strength or other abilities are the norm or not strictly from scripture.

We do know that the slave girl Paul encountered had the powers of divination, but one wonders if she had that power because of the possession, or if she was possessed because whe practiced divination.

Also, we do not know if, perhaps, the Gerasene would have been exceptionally strong without the possession. There is a group of "strongmen" known as "The Power Team" who travel around performing amazing feats of strength while preaching the Gospel.

One of the feats they sometimes perform is that one of them will be handcuffed, by a police officer, with a pair of standard police handcuffs, and he will then proceed to break the handcuffs.

I have seen this, and it is amazing. Now, make no mistake. This isn't "mind over matter". These guys are BIG!!! Some have played in the NFL, or been champion weight lifters. These are NOT average guys. But they do demonstrate that such feats are not beyond the laws of nature.

In modern times, many books have been written on the subject of demon possession. However, I have generally found the theology in the books to be suspect, using single verses (such as this) and overemphasizing points in order to teach things that do not seem to be supported by the text. Many such books teach that possessed people will be exceptionally strong, and sometimes offer some undocumented anectdotal evidence. However, they offer no more scripture (as far as I have seen) than I have just quoted.

In fact, the authors of most of these books seem to ignore the warning Lewis gives us at the beginning of The Screwtape Letters. They seem to have an "unhealthy and excessive interest in them". If we keep our eyes on Christ, and build our faith in Him, and place our trust in The One True and Living God, we will have little to worry about from mere demons.
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 05 Aug 2008, 18:11

You mean they don't turn their heads around 360 degrees and spew green vomit? How boring.

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Postby archenland_knight » 05 Aug 2008, 19:42

According to Screwtape, "boring" is the plan. Hiding their existence makes it easier to tempt people toward materialism. Again ... according to Screwtape.

But now, this isn't a Screwtape thread, is it?
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Postby Mornche Geddick » 10 Sep 2008, 16:29

The Revanchist wrote:My main "objection" to the fight is that demon possessed people HAVE been noted to posses "unnatural" strength.
The same has been observed in madmen and in people under the influence of drugs such as PCP. It's because the nervous system has built-in inhibitions to prevent you injuring yourself. If these are overridden, supernormal strength can result.

The ability of martial artists to break planks with their fists has a different origin. There is a trick to delivering a punch so that most of the kinetic energy goes into the target rather than back into your hand.
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Quite

Postby Dick Devine » 30 Oct 2008, 10:39

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn't exist."

Agree with comments re: bodies. The devil does not have the power to perform miracles surely. Of course if given power over a body it might decide to extract every possible ounce of force from it (to the detriment of that body); could be surprising to an onlooker.
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Introduction to Paradise Lost?

Postby alcuin » 07 Nov 2008, 13:43

A very helpful book in understanding the Space Trilogy, and especially Perelandra, is C.S. Lewis' Introduction to Paradise Lost. Perelandra, is of course, Paradise Retained. Lews discusses the nature of evil and sin in the book, but he also takes about the differences between nature and will. The nature of Lucifer in Milton's epic retains its angelicness, as it were, but it is the will which is corrupted. So there is something of the power of God's creation still present within the corrupted demonic angelic rebels. The smile of the Unman, and indeed, everything about the corrupt possession of the of the Unman shows this. Likewise in nature, Weston, the vehicle of the Unman, as it were, is also human and has the nature of human.

The corruption of the will is the distinction. Ransom is the agent of Maleldil through Oyarsa Malacandra, but he has the choice of using his will to obey or not. It is the same basic problem with the Green Lady: willing obedience. And that choice of will is free. Whatever happened to Weston to cause him to choose to will himself under the the eldila of Thulcandra, once having done so, there is no freedom. Ransom is not sure whether the pleading voice of Weston really is him, or a further perversion of his Enemy in Weston-Unman. Will here is obviously also linked to reason, because reason and rationality are just a tool for the Unman and it will resort to the torture of animals and irrationality, unwilled behaviour when it does not need to use it.

The smile is angelic and powerful, because that is of the nature of the controller of the Unman.
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 07 Nov 2008, 16:10

alcuin wrote:A very helpful book in understanding the Space Trilogy, and especially Perelandra, is C.S. Lewis' Introduction to Paradise Lost.


I agree (I think it is actually "Preface to Paradise Lost"). In fact, so close, it almost seems like he is writing about Perelandra. Thus, somewhere back in an old thread I jokingly referred to it as "Preface to Perelandra, at least" or Preface to Perelandra -- Lots!":-)

And that prompts me to mention another fascinating bit (at least to me). There is also an article (or two or three?) in Lewis' Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature Talking about Spenser's The Faerie Queen where one could swear Lewis was writing about THS. The parallels are incredible. It makes me think that THS was Lewis' "modern version" of TFQ and Perelandra is Lewis' modern version of PL.

These are two of the prime examples of Medieval literature (or medieval influenced, since TFQ, as Lewis says was a bit out of the envelope of the Middle Ages, but still encompassing its ideas), so it makes me wonder if there isn't some corresponding "third leg" of medieval literature that OotSP could be a "modern version" of too, to make the set complete. The most obvious choice would seem to be Dante's Divine Comedy, and I can squeeze it into that (rather tight fitting) box, but it seems a bit too forced in relation to how perfectly the other two books line up with PL and TFQ.

Any thoughts?

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