Christian Marriage by C.S. Lewis Doodle (BBC Talk 14a, Mere Christianity, Bk 3, Chapter 6)
This is a fresh section on sexual morality that Lewis added to a reprint of his famous BBC addresses to bring in points which he had not time to deal with in the actual talks. Notes below.
This became Chapter 5 of Book 3, in the book called ‘Mere Christianity’.
You can find the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Mere-Christianity-C-S-Lewis/dp/0060652926
(0:32) Lewis would later marry in 1957 – incidentally he married a divorcee, who had legitimate reasons for a righteous divorce. He wrote ‘The Four Loves’ after his marriage, which is highly recommended reading also.
(8:10) Patriotism. Lewis: “Ordinary morality tells us, ceteris paribus [all other things being equal], to love our kindred and fellow citizens more than strangers.”
A racialist ethic is achieved by isolating one part of this maxim to the exclusion of the other, so that no claims except those of blood are acknowledged (i.e. blood ties or loyalty to family are everything, and the rights of strangers is ignored).
A socialist ethic is achieved by selecting the other part of the maxim, so that duties to children and citizens are destroyed for ‘the good of humanity’. Scriptures like 1 Timothy 5:8 are ignored. It was disillusionment with this error that was one of the steps that led Joy Lewis to convert to Christianity: “I began to notice what neglected, neurotic waifs the children of Communists were and to question the genuineness of the love of mankind that didn’t begin at home.”
(10:56) The original booklet contained a shorter passage which was re-written and extended in the book, ‘Mere Christianity’, but it also contained some other ideas which are beneficial to consider as well – the idea that falling in love may not be a good enough reason for a Christian to get married in the first place.
Lewis: “People…often say, ‘Surely love is the important thing in marriage.’ In a sense, yes. Love is the important thing – perhaps the only important thing – in the whole universe. But it depends what you mean by “Love”. What most people mean by Love, when they are talking about marriage, is what is called “being in love”. Now “being in love” may be a good reason for getting married, though, as far as I can see, it is not a perfect one, for you can fall in love with someone most unsuitable, and even with someone you don’t really (in a deeper sense) LIKE or trust. But being in love is not the deeper unity which makes man and wife one organism. I am told (indeed I can see by looking round me) that being in love doesn’t last. I don’t think it was ever intended to. I think it’s a sort of explosion that starts up the engine; it’s the pie-crust, not the pie. The real thing, I understand, is something far deeper — something you can live on. I think you can be madly in love with someone you would be sick of after ten weeks: and I’m pretty sure you can be bound heart and soul to someone about whom you don’t at the moment feel excited, any more than you feel excited about yourself.”
(18:25) In the Bible man only began to “rule” (Genesis 3.16) over his wife as a result and punishment of the fall. Before that, man was head of his wife, but not her master. In a similar way, Israel’s Judges were shepherds or heads over Israel, but not her Kings. See Judges 8.23 where God’s Judge, Gideon, utterly rejects that position: “I shall not rule over you, and not shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you!”. The people’s rejection of God as Master, and their wicked demand for a human master in 1 Samuel 8.7 and 1 Samuel 12.17 is shown to be an inferior position from the original. Being ‘head’ of a woman did not mean that she could not defy a wicked husband (see Abigail’s famous defiance of her wicked husband Nabal’s wishes and it was righteous – 1 Sam 25), nor did it mean that a husband would not have to obey his wife on righteous occasions when she knew the will of the Lord better than he (“Obey your wife in all that she says” – Genesis 21.12, a contrast to Gen. 16.2). Abigail, in fact, performed the role of a righteous wife and classic helpmate for David in saving him from the disaster of avenging himself. See Lewis here: “The sternest feminist need not grudge my sex the crown offered to it either in the Pagan or in the Christian mystery. For the one is of paper and the other of thorns” (C. S. Lewis, ‘The Four Loves’).
(2:18) If you would like to know where the traditional Christian marriage vows – to (a) love, (b) nourish, (c) cherish and (d) be faithful – come from and what they actually mean, I’ve put together a couple of simple presentations on the subject, photographed in miniature toys. See