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Till We Have Faces -- is it Christian? (Contains Spoilers)

Comprising most of Lewis' writings.

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Postby Guest » 30 Nov 2004, 22:48

Hope you have a pleasant stay here in the War Drobe, Spare Oom.
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Re: Till We Have Faces -- is it Christian?

Postby Guest » 27 Dec 2004, 16:29

Steve,

TWHF is my favorite Lewis book and I have been disturbed by this same question many times. I've reccomended the book to my oldest and wisest Christian friends, who are very conservative, and they all think that it is a "Christian" book. I think so also. Although a person probably would not come to faith in Christ from reading this book alone, Orual's sins are exposed and her she admits her need for forgiveness and redemption.

The best part of the book is when Orual reads her complaint to the gods.
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Re: Welcome, Vikingmaiden

Postby Solomons Song » 28 Dec 2004, 18:26

Sven wrote:Glad to see you jumping right in swinging an axe :)


Careful Vikingmaiden, they will swing back.

I will be reading this book for the first time very soon. Till now, I have limited reading Lewis' fiction to Narnia.
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Re: Till We Have Faces -- is it Christian?

Postby Guest » 05 Jan 2005, 03:10

I will have to beg forgiveness for a tremendous amount of ignorance regarding Lewis and his works. I have read (and as a child had read to me) the Chronicles of Narnia somewhere upwards of 10 times, but am only truly beginning to explore his other works. I am currently enraptured by the Space Trilogy which has brought me to this and a number of other C.S.Lewis related sites. In my wanderings (don't ask me where) I read something that Lewis had said in response to questions about the "christianness"of his writings.
The gist of it was that he would like to see more works of fiction in which christian values and concepts were presented in a form that was not necessarily immediately identifiable as such. Wishy washy as that may sound - his point was that if we could somehow take the reader for even a breif stay to a place where christian values and morals were the accepted norm, and take him there in such a way as to convince him that these are normal healthy values, then maybe he will leave the book still holding those values as a normal healthy thing.
So much of his writing is brilliant allegory that there is a temptation to interpret all of it as such. Isn't there a possibility that he was writing a brilliant story (even a morality play of sorts) without any intention of leaning toward the allegorical?
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Re: Till We Have Faces -- is it Christian?

Postby Bill » 05 Jan 2005, 13:38

Hello Hope (That's a lovely name; is it your real name or a nom de plume?)

Anyway, Jack Lewis always maintained that his Christian Novels were not meant to be allegories and that people could interpret them as they wished. I think I once read that with regard 'The Lion.....' that children often saw the 'hidden' Christian meaning but adults less often. I find this hard to believe but I'm pretty certain that's what he said. Perhaps other people could confirm that I am correct (or not as the case may be :D)

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Re: Till We Have Faces -- is it Christian?

Postby loeee » 05 Jan 2005, 19:31

Bill wrote: I think I once read that with regard 'The Lion.....' that children often saw the 'hidden' Christian meaning but adults less often. I find this hard to believe but I'm pretty certain that's what he said. Perhaps other people could confirm that I am correct (or not as the case may be :D)

Bill


Bill, he did say that in one of his letters to children. He commended the youngster for recognizing Who Aslan is, and noted that children usually did, and adults usually didn't.
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Re: Till We Have Faces -- is it Christian?

Postby Bill » 05 Jan 2005, 21:41

loeee wrote:
Bill wrote: I think I once read that with regard 'The Lion.....' that children often saw the 'hidden' Christian meaning but adults less often. I find this hard to believe but I'm pretty certain that's what he said. Perhaps other people could confirm that I am correct (or not as the case may be :D)

Bill


Bill, he did say that in one of his letters to children. He commended the youngster for recognizing Who Aslan is, and noted that children usually did, and adults usually didn't.


Yes thats it. I couldn't remember the source although I have read a lot of biography. Thanks.

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Re: Till We Have Faces -- is it Christian?

Postby Guest » 05 Jan 2005, 22:12

loeee wrote:Bill, he did say that in one of his letters to children. He commended the youngster for recognizing Who Aslan is, and noted that children usually did, and adults usually didn't.


That's interesting...

He wrote in God in the Dock, "Rejoinder to Dr. Pittenger", para. 13, "Most of my books are evangelistic."
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Re: Till We Have Faces -- is it Christian?

Postby Brian_Burgess » 16 Jan 2005, 00:59

I picked up on many Christian themes when I read Till We Have Faces a few years ago. The Christian theme that stands out most to me in this book is in the title and in the fact that the heroine was unattractive and always wore a mask. This theme was very similar to Lewis's discussion of the Beauty and the Beast myth in Mere Christianity.

This discussion has compelled me to give it another read.

Take care,

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Re: Till We Have Faces -- is it Christian?

Postby Solomons Song » 18 Jan 2005, 13:25

1. Psyche's initial marriage to Cupid was perhaps the original creation.
2. Psyche's giving in to Orual's request to do the unlawful act of looking upon Cupid was perhaps the fall.
3. Perhaps the futility of Psyche's works shows the Christian principle of the futility of the law to make one righteous. Aphrodite (Ungit), giving Psyche all those tasks, is symbolic of Moses giving the law to the Jews.
4. Perhaps all the help Psyche is given in accomplishing the tasks is symbolic of grace.
5. Perhaps Cupid carrying Psyche to Zeus requesting a marriage is the atonement.

The thing that I cannot nail down is why Lewis told the story from Orual's point of view. To me, she represents the desires of the flesh, which cannot see the glory of God, except maybe in glimpses (as she did when Psyche's palace briefly appeared before her). It was also Orual's desiring that caused Psyche to relent. Notice the final straw that caused Psyche's to promise to look upon Cupid. It was when Orual was wounded. When she was in pain. Doesn't it pain the flesh when we deny it. Also, Orual threatened Psyche with death of both herself and Psyche. That is also something out flesh whispers when we deny it, "You're going to kill us both."

Just my take thus far, but I have not completed the book.
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Re: Till We Have Faces -- is it Christian?

Postby Stanley Anderson » 18 Jan 2005, 17:06

Solomons Song wrote:The thing that I cannot nail down is why Lewis told the story from Orual's point of view.
...
Just my take thus far, but I have not completed the book.


Very interesting thoughts, but I suspect you need to wait till you finish the book (and frankly for me and many others, it wasn't until a second or third reading that things started "making sense" to me in the book) to see if you still think you can draw some of those conclusions. I think there are more powerful (and, ironically, less directly "connectible" to Biblical events) issues involved.

But clearly you are taking a very thoughtful approach. I'll be interested in seeing your comments when you finish the book (and also again after you have had a chance to "let it stew" in your mind for a while:-) I have said before that it is sort of like a hard diamond -- very beautiful to look at, but also very hard to take apart and analyze, unlike, say, the more obvious parts of the Narnian imagery. And of course this "integrated wholeness" that makes it so hard to analyze is also one of the things that makes it so very wonderful.)

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Re: Till We Have Faces -- is it Christian?

Postby Solomons Song » 20 Jan 2005, 00:53

Just started book 2, lovin' it.
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Re: Till We Have Faces -- is it Christian?

Postby Guest » 17 Mar 2005, 15:50

A "christian book" does not have to be all hearts and flowers and everything will turn out right in the end praise-the Lord. We live in a real world. We have a God who knows our make up. Things will not be right again until He returns. Meanwhile, we walk by faith--which dose not mean blindly or in ignorance.
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Till We Have Faces;

Postby splashen » 29 Apr 2008, 01:19

My POV of Lewis' writing of "Till We Have Faces," was that it was still a pagan myth, but, with Lewis adding his own spin on the story, in order to show the individual's own spiritual struggle, over the loss of a loved one.

I also believe that was his intention for cutting Susan Pevensie loose, in the the final book of the Chronicles of Narnia.

I think he intended to keep her for a post Narnia story(stories)about struggling to rediscover one's faith, after personal tragedy, but, died before writing the story.

(The reason I believe this is because apparently when young fans of the series wrote to him upset with his decision to write Susan off as "No longer of friend of Narnia," was because "Susan's story isn't finished yet.")
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Postby gameld » 29 Apr 2008, 13:55

keeping with the idea that lewis thoroghly believed that all myths conatained the 'kernel' of the actual Truth, i've always thought that twhf was how he explained how a pre-Christ gentile could still come to an understanding and even salvation faith in the redeemer, Christ. in other words, he was answering the question, "what about the kid in africa who has never heard about Jesus? is he screwed because of an accident of birth?" what i thought, long before twhf and reinforced by it with a clear example, was that God knows what a person is capable of understanding and judges them based on that, not on whether or not the were born at the right time to hear the right name. here lewis shows that such a person could come to understand their need for forgiveness, that their claims against the gods/God of the universe is incorrect, and that they must turn in faith to the gods/God for salvation.

does this make sense to everyone?
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