Skip to main content

Huge pleasures … sometimes (if we are careless) not even acknowledged or remembered, invade us from [real, lived life]. Hence the unreasonable happiness which sometimes surprises a man at those very hours which ought, according to all objective rules, to have been the most miserable.1


In a recent online article entitled “The Pursuit of Happiness: C. S. Lewis’ Eudaimonistic Understanding of Ethics,”2 David Horner intriguingly argues that Lewis was a eudaemonist (eudaemonia is a Greek word that is typically translated as “happiness”). According to Horner,

our English word “happiness” usually refers to a feeling or subjective state of pleasure, satisfaction, contentment, or enjoyment—a largely subjective, superficial, and luck-dependent matter. But classical thinkers [of which Horner considers Lewis an instance] seldom, if ever, conceived of eudaimonia in that way3… They viewed happiness as intrinsically connected to ethics.4

How did classical thinkers construe this intrinsic connection between ethics and happiness? Horner says, “Moral action, in their view, is grounded rationally and normatively in the pursuit of happiness. These thinkers … understood moral action to be grounded in the pursuit of eudaimonia….”5 However, this intrinsic connection between ethics and eudaemonia ultimately ends up being something stronger than the former’s merely being grounded in the latter. According to Horner, “Aristotle, whose eudaimonistic views are perhaps the most influential of all, held that eudaimonia is synonymous with ‘doing well’ or ‘living well.’…”6 And “Aristotle himself concludes that true eudaimonia actually consists in living a virtuous life.”7

To persuade us that Lewis was a eudaemonist, Horner quotes the outset of Lewis’ essay “The Weight of Glory,” which reads as follows:

If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament haslots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself.8

According to Lewis, denying oneself what is good is not an end in itself, and as I will point out later in this essay, he believed that none of us pursues what is evil for its own sake. What is important to note at present, however, is that Lewis does not deny that a virtuous (moral, ethical) person must in certain circumstances abstain from or exercise restraint in the pursuit of certain goods for himself. Instead, Lewis points out that the virtuous person exercises restraint not for the sake of his own happiness but for the sake of the happiness of others. In what did Lewis believethis happiness consists? Contrary to what Horner suggests, I believe a solid case can be made that Lewis believed that happiness neither is synonymous with an individual’s living well nor consists in his living a virtuous life. Instead, Lewis thought that where there is happiness, there is pleasure. His view seems to have been that happiness is intrinsically and exhaustively composed of experiences of pleasure and its connection with ethics is no more than extrinsic in nature in the form of justice, where those who choose an ethical way of life deserve to (and ultimately will) experience the intrinsically pleasurable state of perfect happiness for which they were created. Thus, while there is every reason to affirm that Lewis believed pleasure, and thereby happiness, ultimately accompanies living and doing well, there is equal reason to deny that he thought living and doing well are components of happiness.

To justify my understanding of Lewis’ view of pleasure and happiness, I will liberally quote from his published writings and personal letters. Following this practice for some authors would be less than helpful because all too often their written work obscures more than it clarifies the point that they are trying to make. Few, however, have had more ease with the pen than Lewis, and reading his essays and books is itself a source of great pleasure. Moreover, given that some might view my claim about Lewis’ view of pleasure and happiness with suspicion, the need to let Lewis speak for himself on this issue is all the more important. After I have spent some time letting Lewis provide us with his thoughts about pleasure and happiness, I will turn to answering some possible objections to Lewis’ philosophy of pleasure and happiness. Finally, I will discuss briefly the concept of Joy in Lewis’ thought and how to understand it in relationship to his thought about pleasure and happiness.


I begin my exposition of Lewis’ understanding of pleasure and happiness with The Problem of Pain. Given that it is a book about the problem of evil, why did Lewis not entitle it The Problem of Evil? One answer to this question, which is non-philosophical in nature, was provided by Lewis himself. In a letter to a Miss Tunnicliff, he wrote “As for the title and subject of my actual book [they] were not of my own independent choice: I had been asked to deal with that subject for the series.”9 Another answer to this question, which is philosophical in nature, is in the book itself, where Lewis states that “pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil.”10 Given that Lewis believed pain is evil, it is not at all difficult to see how he arrived at the title The Problem of Pain.

In claiming that pain is “unmasked, unmistakable evil,” Lewis was asserting that pain is intrinsically evil. It is in and of itself evil. To say this, however, is thoroughly compatible with also maintaining that pain is extrinsically (instrumentally) good. For example, Lewis noted approvingly that “Thomas Aquinas said of suffering…that it was a thing not good in itself, but a thing which might have a certain goodness in particular circumstances.”11 Indeed, Lewis believed that pain is used by God to call our attention to Him:

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world…. No doubt Pain as God’s megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment.12

If Lewis believed pain is intrinsically evil, then it is not at all implausible to think that he regarded pleasure as intrinsically good. The literary evidence shows that fairly early in his academic life, he was sympathetic with this view of pleasure. Thus, Lewis recorded in his diary All My Road Before Me that one day in 1922, when he was 24 years of age, he sat all morning “in the dining room and worked on my dissertation, trying to prove that no pleasure could be considered bad, considered in itself.”13 And a little over 20 years later he would write that it is the Christian’s duty to prepare for the difficulties of life, where this preparation requires that “we practise in abstaining from pleasures which are not in themselves wicked.”14

To say that no pleasure is in itself (intrinsically) evil, bad or wicked, however, is not to say that every pleasure is intrinsically good. After all, all pleasures might be neither intrinsically evil nor intrinsically good. Or, no pleasures might be intrinsically evil and only some intrinsically good. Lewis, however, believed that all pleasures are simply intrinsically good. In a letter written on 18 January, 1941, to Canon Oliver Chase Quick, who had written to Lewis about The Problem of Pain, Lewis said “I think all pleasure simply good: what we call bad pleasures are pleasures produced by actions, or inactions, [which] break the moral law, and it is those actions or inactions [which] are bad, not the pleasures.”15 Elsewhere, Lewis was explicit about the intrinsic goodness of pleasure (and intrinsic evilness of pain) when he wrote,

I have no doubt at all that pleasure in itself is a good and pain in itself an evil; if not, then the whole Christian tradition about heaven and hell and the passion of our Lord seems to have no meaning. Pleasure, then, is good; a “sinful” pleasure means a good offered and accepted, under conditions which involve a breach of the moral law.16

The idea that a sinful pleasure is really the illicit taking and enjoying of that which is good in itself was stressed by Lewis in a different context when he wrote that the expression “bad pleasures” is a kind of shorthand for

“pleasures snatched by unlawful acts.” It is the stealing of the apple that is bad, not the sweetness. The sweetness is still a beam from the glory. That does not palliate the stealing. It makes it worse. There is sacrilege in the theft. We have abused a holy thing … and [ignored]the smell of Deity that hangs about it.17

The smell of deity hangs about pleasure because, as Screwtape reminded his devilish nephew, Wormwood, pleasure is the creation of God:

Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden.18

Just as Lewis was keen on pointing out that pleasure is intrinsically good, and because it is, it is illicit to attempt to acquire it in morally wrong ways, so also he was equally intent on making clear that no one pursues what is intrinsically bad or evil for its own sake. As someone who was steeped in classical literature and philosophy, Lewis understood that the idea that someone might pursue what is intrinsically evil for its own sake is conceptually incoherent. While grieving the loss of his wife Joy Davidman, he wrote, “But we are not at all—if we understand ourselves—seeking the aches for their own sake.”19 Lewis noted that we come closest to the idea of someone pursuing the bad for its own sake in cases of cruelty. Even here, however, Lewis stressed that those who are cruel are so not for the sake of that which is evil, but for the sake of some good that they are pursuing, including ultimately pleasure:

But in reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad. In real life people are cruel for one of two reasons—either because they are sadists, that is, because they have a sexual perversion which makes cruelty a cause of sensual pleasure to them, or else for the sake of something they are going to get out of it—money, or power, or safety. But pleasure, money, power, and safety are all, as far as they go, good things. The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much. I do not mean, of course, that the people who do this are not desperately wicked. I do mean that wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. You can be good for the sake of goodness: you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness…. [N]o one ever did a cruel action simply because cruelty is wrong—only because cruelty was pleasant or useful to him….In order to be bad he must have good things to want and then to pursue in the wrong way.20

Not all of our activity, however, is immoral, illicit, or vicious. Some is virtuous and it, too, can and should be a source of pleasure. The fact that habitual virtuous activity can and should provide pleasure for its agent troubled Lewis. A danger, as he saw it, was that the pleasure from such activity could be particularly absorbing and might become an idol and, thereby, undermine the correct motive for performing the virtuous activity:

This problem of the pleasure in what Aristotle called an “unimpeded activity” is one that exercises me very much…when the work done is a duty, or at least innocent.

On the one hand, Nature, whether we will or know [not], attaches pleasure to doing as well as we can something we can do fairly well: and as it is a clear duty to practise all virtuous activities until we can do them well—possess the Habit of doing them—it is a sort of duty to increase such pleasures. On the other hand, they are pleasures of a particularly urgent, absorbing sort, very apt to become idols, and very closely allied to Pride. I heard it recently said in a Lenten sermon that even self-denial can become a kind of hobby—and in a way it is true. 21

In light of this quote in which Lewis recognizes the attachment of pleasure to virtuous activity and Horner’s argument that Lewis was a eudaemonist, it is helpful to pause briefly and emphasize that Lewis believed it is the pleasure that accompanies virtuous activity (doing well), and not the virtuous activity itself, that constitutes happiness. As is evident from the quote at the head of this paper (the quote comes from Lewis’ paper entitled “Hedonics”), Lewis could slide effortlessly from talking about the pleasures contained in the hubbub of everyday life (where that life surely includes virtuous activity) to talking about the happiness that is present in that life. And in his discussion of Eros or being in love in The Four Loves, his belief in the connection between pleasure and happiness is evident in the following statement: “As Venus [the animally sexual element] within Eros does not really aim at pleasure [with Eros, Venus is about the beloved], so Eros does not aim at happiness.”22 Lewis also affirmed the link between pleasure and happiness in the life of Paradisal man:

Now Paradisal man always chose to follow God’s will. In following it he also gratified his own desire, both because all the actions demanded of him were, in fact, agreeable to his blameless inclination, and also because the service of God was itself his keenest pleasure, without which as their razor edge all joys would have been insipid to him. The question “Am I doing this for God’s sake or only because I happen to like it?” did not then arise, since doing things for God’s sake was what he chiefly “happened to like”. His Godward will rode his happiness like a well-managed horse…Pleasure was then an acceptable offering to God because offering was a pleasure.23

Happiness is composed of pleasure that can and should accompany virtuous activity. As I pointed out in the penultimate block quote, Lewis was concerned about the possibility of this pleasure becoming an idol and the purpose for which we perform virtuous activity, thus converting what is moral into something that is at least non-moral and perhaps even immoral (prideful). Though pleasures might become idols and allied with pride, they need not suffer this fate. Lewis thought that when they are understood correctly they actually point us to God:

We can’t—or I can’t—hear the song of a bird simply as a sound. Its meaning or message (“That’s a bird”) comes with it inevitably—just as one can’t see a familiar word in print as a merely visual pattern. The reading is as involuntary as the seeing….In the same way it is possible to “read” as well as “have” a pleasure. Or not even “as well as.” The distinction ought to become, and sometimes is, impossible; to receive it and to recognise its divine source are a single experience. This heavenly fruit is instantly redolent of the orchard where it grew. This sweet air whispers of the country from whence it blows. It is a message. We know we are being touched by a finger of that right hand at which there are pleasures for evermore. There need be no question of thanks or praise as a separate event, something done afterwards. To experience the tiny theophany is itself to adore.

Gratitude exclaims, very properly, “How good of God to give me this.” Adoration says, “What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!” One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.24

Lewis believed that one human activity that diffuses the sunbeam that is pleasure is intellectual activity. He himself derived pleasure from reading and writing respectively: “I think re-reading old favourites is one of the things we differ on, isn’t it, and you do it very rarely. I probably do it too much. It is one of my greatest pleasures: indeed I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once;”25 and “The truth is that I have a constant temptation to over asperity as soon as I get a pen in my hand, even when there is no subjective anger to prompt me: it comes, I think, simply from the pleasure of using the English language forcibly.”26 For the sake of making clear distinctions, we can call such pleasures mental pleasures. Lewis also believed that physical activity is a source of pleasure. He believed in what we can term physical pleasures and that they can be mixed with mental pleasures. For example, in a letter to Mary van Deusen he wrote the following about physical and mixed pleasures:

I feel strongly, with you, that there was something more than a physical pleasure in those youthful activities. Even now, at my age, do we often have a purely physical pleasure? Well, perhaps, a few of the more hopelessly prosaic ones; say, scratching or getting one’s shoes off when one’s feet are tired. I’m sure my meals are not a purely physical pleasure. All the associations of every other time one has had the same food (every rasher of bacon is now 56 years thick with me) come in: and with things like Bread, Wine, Honey, Apples, there are all the echoes of myth, fairy-tale, poetry, & scripture.27

The memories of earlier pleasures led Lewis to write on a different occasion that“ A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.”28

Lewis was well aware that his claim that pleasure is intrinsically good would lead to the charge that he was a hedonist. For example, in the letter to Canon Quick from which I have already quoted, Lewis said about his book The Problem of Pain that “I wasn’t writing on the Problem of Pleasure! If I had been you might find my views too hedonistic. I [would] say that every pleasure (even the lowest) is a likeness to, even, in its restricted mode, a foretaste of, the end for [which] we exist, the fruition of God.”29

Strictly speaking, hedonism is the philosophical thesis that pleasure is not only intrinsically good but also that it is the only intrinsic good, and that happiness is constituted by experiences of pleasure. Thus, if Lewis was not a hedonist, he must have recognized the existence of some other intrinsic good. And this he did. In “Hedonics,” he says that “we have had enough, once and for all, of Hedonism –the gloomy philosophy which says that Pleasure is the only [intrinsic] good.”30 In The Problem of Pain, Lewis argued that justice is an additional intrinsic good that requires that unrepentant people be denied the happiness for which, he believed (see below), they were created. Of the unrepentant person, Lewis wrote:

Supposing he will not be converted, what destiny in the eternal world can you regard as proper for him? Can you really desire that such a man, remaining what he is (and he must beable to do that if he has free will) should be confirmed forever in his present happiness—should continue, for all eternity, to be perfectly convinced that the laugh is on his side? And if you cannot regard this as tolerable, is it only your wickedness—only spite—that prevents you from doing so? Or do you find that conflict between Justice and Mercy, which has sometimes seemed to you such an outmoded piece of theology, now actually at work in your own mind, and feeling very much as if it came to you from above, not from below? You are moved, not by a desire for the wretched creature’s pain as such, but by a truly ethical demand that, soon or late, the right should be asserted, the flag planted in this horribly rebellious soul, even if no fuller and better conquest is to follow.31

As I have already pointed out, Lewis believed that our experiences of pleasure are really a likeness to and a foretaste of our enjoyment of God.32 He maintained that our enjoyment of God is the end for which we exist and that this end is complete or perfect happiness: “God not only understands but shares the desire which is at the root of all my [moral] evil—the desire for complete and ecstatic happiness. He made me for no other purpose than to enjoy it.”33 And in The Great Divorce, one of the Ghosts says, “I wish I’d never been born. … What are we born for?” To which a Spirit answers, “For infinite happiness.”34 According to Lewis, infinite, complete, or ecstatic happiness is the life of the blessed and we must suppose “the life of the blessed to be an end in itself, indeed The End.”35 Writing at the outset of World War II, Lewis believed that God not only made him for no other purpose than perfect happiness, but He also made others for the same purpose, even members of the Gestapo:

In fact I provisionally define Agapë as “steadily remembering that inside the Gestapo-man there is a thing [which] says I and Me just as you do, which has just the same grounds (neither more nor less) as your ‘Me’ for being distinguished from all its sins however numerous, which, like you, was made by God for eternal happiness….”36

A problem that perfect happiness poses for us is that it is such a great good that we succumb to the temptation to try to attain it in this life and, therefore, are led to act in evil (bad) ways. For example, Lewis’ comment about an acquaintance who was selfish indicates he (Lewis) believed that an immoral person is one who seeks to realize in this life the happiness for which he was created and that can only be enjoyed fully and forever in the afterlife:

Which of the religions of the world gives to its followers the greatest happiness? While it lasts, the religion of worshipping oneself is the best….

I have an elderly acquaintance of about eighty, who has lived a life of unbroken selfishness and self-admiration from the earliest years, and is, more or less, I regret to say, one of the happiest men I know. From the moral point of view it is very difficult! I am not approaching the question from that angle. As you perhaps know, I haven’t always been a Christian. I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew that a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.37

If you want the comfort of happiness in this life, look elsewhere than to Christianity. So Lewis advised. Two points are relevant here. First, Lewis held that both becoming and being religious involve being moral. Lewis wrote that God found him “when I was making a serious effort to obey my conscience”38 and

if conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man’s outward actions—if he continues to be just as snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before—then I think we must suspect that his “conversion” was largely imaginary. … Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in “religion” mean nothing unless they make our actual behaviour better.39

Moreover, “as for decent (moral) behaviour in ourselves,” Lewis maintained

it is pretty obvious that it does not mean the behaviour that pays [produces happiness]. It means things like being content with thirty shillings when you might have got three pounds, doing school work honestly when it would be easy to cheat, leaving a girl alone when you would like to make love to her, staying in dangerous places when you could go somewhere safer, keeping promises you would rather not keep, and telling the truth even when it makes you look a fool.40

If Lewis had been a eudaemonist, we would expect him to have claimed that decent behavior does pay in this life because being moral just is being happy.

Second, though Lewis maintained that he did not go to religion to make himself happy in this world and he understood that being moral requires the forfeiture of goods that one might otherwise have had and even makes one a fool, he nevertheless was careful to make clear that there is nothing per se wrong with experiencing happiness in this life. However, as Lewis pointed out in the following thoughts about earthly happiness in a letter to a pseudonymous “Mrs. Lockley,” not only would one be better off not thinking about earthbound happiness, but also there is the risk that too much of this happiness would lead one to forget the ultimate Giver of it:

How right you are: the great thing is to stop thinking about happiness. Indeed the best thing about happiness itself is that it liberates you from thinking about happiness—as the greatest pleasure that money can give us is to make it unnecessary to think about money….

Here is one of the fruits of unhappiness: that it forces us to think of life as something to go through. And out at the other end. If only we could steadfastly do that while we are happy. I suppose we [should] need no misfortunes. It is hard on God really. To how few of us He dare send happiness because He knows we will forget Him if He gave us any sort of nice things for the moment.41

And what goes for happiness goes for pleasure, which is how it must be if the former is composed of instances of the latter. Thus, while God “shouts in our pain,” He “whispers to us in our pleasures.”42

Given that the experience of happiness and the experiences of pleasure that compose it can induce forgetfulness of the divine source, some individuals go so far as to claim that the desire for perfect happiness is bad. Lewis categorically disagreed with them:

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion…is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.43

Moreover, Lewis believed that the desire for perfect happiness was itself evidence for the existence of the afterlife:

[W]e remain conscious of a desire which no natural happiness will satisfy. But is there any reason to suppose that reality offers any satisfaction to it? “Nor does being hungry prove that we have bread.” But I think it may be urged that this misses the point. A man’s physical hunger does not prove that man will get any bread; he may die of starvation on a raft in the Atlantic. But surely a man’s hunger does prove that he comes of a race which repairs its body by eating and inhabits a world where eatable substances exist. In the same way, though I do not believe (I wish I did) that my desire for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I think it a pretty good indication that such a thing exists and that some men will.44

Elsewhere, Lewis wrote that a Christian is “one [who] believes that men are going to live forever, [and] that they were created by God and so built that they can find their true and lasting happiness only by being united to God.”45 And he believed that being united to God was like being at home: “As Dr Johnson said, ‘To be happy at home is the end of all human endeavour’. (1st to be happy, to prepare for being happy in our real Home hereafter: 2nd, in the meantime, to be happy in our houses.)”46

Lewis was well aware that a mention of good and evil not uncommonly turns a person’s mind immediately to morality. Given that this is the case, some go so far as to claim that goodness itself is moral goodness. Lewis disagreed and sought to make clear that perfect happiness is ultimately what is good and is forever, while moral goodness is transitory:

All right, Christianity will do you good—a great deal more good than you ever wanted or expected. And the first bit of good it will do you is to hammer into your head … the fact that what you have hither to called “good”—all that about “leading a decent life” and “being kind”—isn’t quite the magnificent and all-important affair you supposed. It will teach you that in fact you can’t be “good” (not for twenty-four hours) on your own moral efforts. And then it will teach you that even if you were, you still wouldn’t have achieved the purpose for which you were created. Mere morality is not the end of life. You were made for something quite different from that….The people who keep on asking if they can’t lead a decent life without Christ, don’t know what life is about; if they did they would know that a “decent life” is mere machinery compared with the thing we men are really made for. Morality is indispensible: but the Divine Life, which gives itself to us and which calls us to be gods, intends for us something in which morality will be swallowed up.47[The moral realm] exists to be transcended….[It is a] schoolmaster, as St. Paul says, to bring us to Christ. We must expect no more of it than of a schoolmaster; we must allow it no less. I must say my prayers today whether I feel devout or not; but that is only as I must learn my grammar if I am ever to read the poets.

But the school-days, please God, are numbered. There is no morality in Heaven. The angels never knew (from within) the meaning of the word ought, and the blessed dead have long since gladly forgotten it.48

There is more. Not only will morality ultimately be swallowed up by the perfected state of ecstatic happiness, but so also will the freedom of the will that is necessary for morality:

You may ask, do I then think that moral value will have no place in the state of perfection? Well it sounds a dreadful thing to say, but I’m almost inclined to answer No. It [the state ofperfection] is never presented in Scripture in terms of service is it?—always in terms of suggesting fruition—a supper, a marriage, a drink. “I will give him the morning star.” May not that be one of the divine jokes—to see people like Marcus Aurelius and Arnold & Mill at last submitting to the fact that they can give up being good and start receiving good instead.

*I don’t mean, of course, “can begin being bad”, but that when the beat a necessitas non peccandi [the blessed necessity of not sinning] is attained, the will—the perilous bridge by [which] we get home—will cease to be the important thing or to exist, as we now know it, at all. The sword will be beaten into a plough share. The supreme volition of self-surrender is thus a good suicide of will: we will thus once, in order to will no more.49

This completes my survey of Lewis’ views of pleasure and happiness. There is nothing in what I have quoted that would suggest that Lewis was, as Hornerargues, a eudaemonist who holds that the happiness of an individual either is synonymous with his doing or his living well or consists in living a moral or virtuous life. Indeed, Lewis himself stated that were he to have written on the problem of pleasure, a reader would have concluded that he was a hedonist (someone who believes that happiness consists of nothing but experiences of pleasure), which would be an odd conclusion to draw from the work of a person who was supposedly a eudaemonist. In making his case that Lewis was a eudaemonist, Horner says that “All too often, the pursuit of happiness represents to us something actually immoral: ‘because I want to be happy’ is probably the most common reason we hear—or give—for justifying morally wrong behavior. … But Lewis disagrees.”50

But Lewis does not disagree. Indeed, it is evident from the just-completed survey of his thoughts about pleasure and happiness that he believed the desire for pleasure and happiness is what leads people to act immorally. People are cruel because they want to experience the intrinsic goodness of pleasure and cannot achieve their goal through permissible means. No one, Lewis said, acts badly for the sake of acting badly. They act badly to get the good that they desire. In a critical vein, Horner states that “the ‘pursuit of happiness,’ for us [as opposed to classical thinkers], is not a specifically moral pursuit [it is not one in which moral activity is a constituent of happiness]. At best, it is nonmoral, a matter of prudential self-interest.”51 But as we have just seen, Lewis affirmed that happiness is a nonmoral matter, and the evidence suggests he believed happiness is that state of being whose intrinsic nature consists of nothing but nonmoral experiences of pleasure and is not intrinsically connected to ethics. Indeed, Lewis explicitly maintained that moral value will have no place in the life of the perfected, which is intension with, if it does not contradict, the eudaemonist assertion that happiness consists of moral activity. This is not to say that there will be no virtuous individuals in the next world. There will, because given the existence of community in the next life it is required that its members be of such a nature that they make each other happy “with the deep, strong, unshakable kind of happiness God intends for us.”52 But because the virtuous in heaven will “spontaneously and delightfully”53 do what they do from the resources of a fixed character, what they do will have no moral value:

Kant thought that no action had moral value unless it were done out of pure reverence for the moral law, that is, without inclination…. All popular opinion is, indeed, on Kant’s side. The people never admire a man for doing something he likes: the very words “But he likes it” imply the corollary “And therefore it has no merit.” Yet against Kant stands the obvious truth, noted by Aristotle, that the more virtuous a man becomes the more he enjoys virtuous actions.

We therefore agree with Aristotle that what is intrinsically right may well be agreeable, and that the better a man is the more he will like it; but we agree with Kant so far as to say that there is one right act—that of self surrender—which cannot be willed to the height by fallen creatures unless it is unpleasant.54

So, being moral (surrendering self) is unpleasant, while the virtuous character that results from being moral can be attended by pleasure. In short, Lewis seems to have held that doing well (where doing well has moral value) is not being happy (it is unpleasant), though the pleasure that does compose happiness might well(and should) accompany the activity of the blessed that stems from their fixed virtuous character (which is itself formed by moral activity).

Finally, because happiness is composed of experiences of pleasure with respect to which a person is essentially passive, and is not composed of virtuous behavior with respect to which an individual is essentially active, Lewis insisted it is a feeling or subjective state that, in this life, is subject to a significant degree of luck. Horner says that “our English word ‘happiness’ usually refers to a feeling or subjective state of pleasure [that is] a largely subjective, superficial, and luck-dependent matter. But classical thinkers [including Lewis] seldom, if ever, conceived of eudaimonia in that way.”55 However, here is what Lewis had to say about the matter of happiness and luck:

I went away [from a discussion] thinking about the concept of a “right to happiness.”

At first this sounds to me as odd as a right to good luck. For I believe—whatever one school of moralists may say—that we depend for a very great deal of our happiness…on circumstances outside all human control. A right to happiness doesn’t, for me, make much more sense than a right to be six feet tall, or to have a millionaire for your father, or to get good weather whenever you want to have a picnic.56


With Lewis’ non-eudaemonist view of pleasure and happiness before us, I take up in this section various objections that might be raised against Lewis’ position and respond to them as I believe he would have.

Those suspicious of a view of pleasure like Lewis’ sometimes point out (and rightly so) that the claim that pleasure is intrinsically good and pain is intrinsically evil means that the goodness of pleasure is not explained by pleasure’s relationship to anything else and the evilness of pain is not explained by pain’s relationship to anything else. This implies that pleasure is good and pain is evil, regardless of what God says about the matter. Surely this undermines God’s omnipotence or all-powerfulness. After all, if God were to say that pleasure is intrinsically evil and pain is intrinsically good, then that would be the case. Hence, Lewis was just wrong when he said that pleasure is intrinsically good.

Lewis would likely have responded that these objectors are simply stringing words together absurdly when they say that pleasure might not be intrinsically good, but in and of itself evil, and pain might not be intrinsically evil, but in and of itself good. Lewis wrote that “[God’s] omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible.”57 Because pleasure is intrinsically good, it is impossible that it ever be in and of itself evil. To claim that pleasure might be intrinsically evil is nonsense. “[M]eaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words ‘God can,’” and “nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.”58 If this were not the case, then God could both make Himself exist and not exist at the same time or make Himself simultaneously perfectly morally good and perfectly morally evil.

Suspicion among Christians concerning a view like Lewis’ about pleasure and happiness arises on another front. There are some who believe that to maintain that pleasure is intrinsically good is incompatible or in tension with holding that God is good. Lewis would most surely have responded that this belief is false. In thinking about the concepts of good and evil, one must always be careful to distinguish between different kinds of good and evil. When we say that pleasure is good, we mean that it is good in a nonmoral and metaphysical sense. To say that the intrinsic goodness of pleasure is nonmoral in nature is to say that its value is not moral in character. It is not to say that it is immoral or bad in nature, as when one says that a person is immoral. In contrast, when one says that God is good, one does mean that God is good in a moral sense.

In spite of the distinction between non-moral and moral goodness, some Christians insist that God is intrinsically good. Lewis would probably have answered that these individuals are confused (or, as he says in a quote below in response to an objection about the goodness of sexual pleasure, “muddleheaded”) about the distinction between the concept of being intrinsically good and that of not being able to act immorally, which is that of being necessarily morally good. The latter is a moral value concept, while the former is a nonmoral one.

Though Lewis affirmed that pain is intrinsically evil, Christian eudaemonists have often begged to differ. For example, Augustine, on whom Horner focuses as a classical Christian eudaemonist, famously argued that evil is not an intrinsic property of pain but rather is the privation or corruption of good, where good is understood as measure, form, and order.59

Correspondingly, eudaemonists (Christian and non-Christian) are often reluctant to affirm without qualification that pleasure is intrinsically good. When discussing matters of value, they typically think of pleasure as first and foremost an accompaniment of action, where the nature of the action affects the quality of the pleasure. Thus, when an action is virtuous, the pleasure that goes with that action perfects and completes it. When an action is vicious, pleasure’s perfective quality is lost. For example, Aristotle, whom Horner regards as perhaps the most influential eudaemonist of all, held that “[t]he pleasure proper to a morally good activity is good, the pleasure proper to a bad activity evil….So we see that differences in activities make for corresponding differences in pleasures.”60

To illustrate their point, eudaemonists sometimes use the example of sex. According to them, the purpose of sex between a man and a woman is that they procreate (an action). It cannot be that they experience the pleasure that accompanies the act of sexual intercourse, because that pleasure often leads to illicit sexual activity, unwanted children, single parent families, poverty, and abortion. The distinction between moral (virtuous) and immoral (vicious) action must serve as the basis for distinguishing between good and bad (evil) pleasures.

In answer this objection, Lewis would probably have emphasized that it is necessary to keep clear in one’s mind the distinction between one’s own ultimate purpose (which, on his view, is that one experience nothing except pleasure/perfect happiness) and the purpose of the human reproductive system (which is the generation of offspring). Because pleasure accompanies the sexual act, one and the same act of sex can be the means to accomplishing both purposes. On some occasions, however, justly accomplishing one of these purposes (that one experience pleasure) may not be possible because a necessary condition for justly accomplishing the other (that one generate offspring) is lacking. For example, while one can obtain pleasure from sexual intercourse outside of marriage, the mutual long-term commitment that is necessary to nurture and raise a child that might be conceived is absent. Therefore, one is morally obligated to refrain from sexual intercourse outside marriage and, thereby, is prevented from satisfying one’s desire for the pleasure that accompanies the sexual act, even though the pleasure experienced from such intercourse is intrinsically good. “The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure. … It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself.”61 As I have already quoted, Lewis held that the expression “bad pleasures” is a loose and popular way of saying“ ‘pleasures snatched by unlawful acts.’ It is the stealing of the apple that is bad, not the sweetness. The sweetness is still a beam from the glory. That does not palliate the stealing. It makes it worse. There is sacrilege in the theft. We have abused a holy thing” and ignored “the smell of Deity that hangs about it.”62 In the case of illicit sex, one is stealing pleasure, which is in itself good, from an act that is proper only within the bonds of the marital commitment:

The biological purpose of sex is children….But if a healthy young man indulged his sexual appetite whenever he felt inclined, and if each act produced a baby, then in ten years he might easily populate a small village. This appetite is in ludicrous and preposterous excess of its function….Modern people are always saying, “Sex is nothing to be ashamed of.” They may mean two things. They may mean “There is nothing to be ashamed of in the fact that the human race reproduces itself in a certain way, nor in the fact that it gives pleasure.” If they mean that, they are right. Christianity says the same. It is not the thing, nor the pleasure, that is the trouble. The old Christian teachers said that if man had never fallen, sexual pleasure, instead of being less than it is now, would actually have been greater. I know some muddle-headed Christians have talked as if Christianity thought that sex, or the body, or pleasure, were bad in themselves. But they were wrong.63

Again, to reiterate what Lewis said elsewhere, “I think all pleasure simply good: what we call bad pleasures are pleasures produced by action, or inactions, which break the moral law, and it is those actions or inactions which are bad, not the pleasures.”64

To elucidate Lewis’ position on happiness, it is helpful to consider the philosopher Robert Nozick’s idea of an experience machine.65 Nozick asks his readers to imagine a machine, the programming of which will provide them with uninterrupted pleasure for as long as they wish (which readers, upon reflection, come to realize is for eternity), if they connect to it. As Nozick points out, a person who is connected to the experience machine does not have to do anything. An individual never has to act; he simply experiences pleasure. What Nozick wants to know is whether a reasonable person should accept an offer to be connected to the experience machine.

Readers typically wrestle with the idea of accepting the offer. On the one hand, they understandably find the thought of experiencing nothing but pleasure extremely attractive. On the other hand, the severance of pleasure from action puzzles them because the connection between pleasure and action is so pervasive in their own lives. What I believe Lewis would have pointed out had he read Nozick is that the example of the experience machine seductively breaks the link between action and pleasure that the concept of justice forges. Because pleasure is such a great good, and perfect happiness is the greatest good, only those who in present terms are virtuous deserve to experience it. As I discussed in Section I, this is apoint Lewis made in The Problem of Pain.

In other words, Lewis would have insisted that while it is possible conceptually to pull apart pleasure and action for the sake of a thought experiment like the experience machine, justice is the attractive conceptual force that necessarily draws them back together so that only virtuous people ultimately justly experience plea-sure in the form of perfect happiness. But this requirement of justice in no way transforms virtuous activity itself into a constituent of happiness. And while heaven might logically be the ultimate experience machine (an existence in which God constantly infuses the once-virtuous with nothing but pleasure without any activity on their part), there is no reason to think that it must or will be like this. Pleasure will always remain attached to the nonmoral (not immoral) actions of the blessed in the afterlife, actions from which they will never grow weary or need rest.


No treatment of Lewis’ views of pleasure and happiness is complete without mention of what Lewis called “Joy.” In his autobiographical work entitled Surprised by Joy, Lewis described Joy in the following ways:

[It] is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. Apart from that, and considered only in its quality, it might almost equally be called a particular kind of unhappiness or grief. But then it is a kind we want. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is.66

All Joy reminds. It is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still “about to be.”67

Joy is distinct not only from pleasure in general but even from aesthetic pleasure. It must have the stab, the pang, the inconsolable longing.68

I came to know by experience that [Joy] is not a disguise of sexual desire. Those who think that if adolescents were all provided with suitable mistresses we should soon hear no more of “immortal longings” are certainly wrong. I learned this mistake to be a mistake by the simple, if discreditable, process of repeatedly making it. From the Northernness one could not easily have slid into erotic fantasies without noticing the difference; but when the world of [William] Morris became the frequent medium of Joy, this transition became possible. It was quite easy to think that one desired those forests for the sake of their female inhabitants, the garden of Hesperus for the sake of his daughters, Hylas’ river for the river nymphs. I repeatedly followed that path—to the end. And at the end one found pleasure; which immediately resulted in the discovery that pleasure (whether that pleasure or any other) was not what you had been looking for. … Joy is not a substitute for sex; sex is very often a substitute for Joy. I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for Joy.69

Lewis, then, held that Joy is a desire that is simultaneously both extrinsically good (the having of it is pleasurable) and extrinsically evil (its failure to be satisfied is painful). Though itself pleasurable, it is not identical with pleasure (and, therefore, also not identical with happiness). It differs from pleasure by not being even indirectly subject to the will (choice). One can choose a multitude of activities that will produce pleasure, but not so with Joy: “Thence arose the fatal determination to recover the old thrill [Joy], and at last the moment when I was compelled to realize that all such efforts were failures. I had no lure to which the bird would come.”70 Lewis claimed that the source of the error of thinking that Joy is obtainable by an act of will is the deeper error of thinking that the object of Joy is a state of mind:

The first [blunder] was made at the very moment when I formulated the complaint that the “old thrill” was becoming rarer and rarer. For by that complaint I smuggled in the assumption that what I wanted was a “thrill,” a state of my own mind. And there lies the deadly error. Only when your whole attention and desire are fixed on something else…does the “thrill” arise. It is a by-product. Its very existence presupposes that you desire not it but something other and outer. If by any perverse askes is [training] or the use of any drug it could be produced from within, it would at once be seen to be of no value. For take away the object, and what, after all, would be left?…And the second error is, having thus falsely made a state of mind your aim, to attempt to produce it. From the fading of the Northernness Iought to have drawn the conclusion that the Object, the Desirable, was further away, more external, less subjective, than even such a comparatively public and external thing as a system of mythology—had, in fact, only shone through that system….But far more often I frightened [Joy] away by my greedy impatience to snare it, and, even when it came, instantly destroyed it by introspection, and at all times vulgarized it by my false assumption about its nature.

The first [blunder] was made at the very moment when I formulated the complaint that the “old thrill” was becoming rarer and rarer. For by that complaint I smuggled in the assumption that what I wanted was a “thrill,” a state of my own mind. And there lies the deadly error. Only when your whole attention and desire are fixed on something else…does the “thrill” arise. It is a by-product. Its very existence presupposes that you desire not it but something other and outer. If by any perverse askes is [training] or the use of any drug it could be produced from within, it would at once be seen to be of no value. For take away the object, and what, after all, would be left?…And the second error is, having thus falsely made a state of mind your aim, to attempt to produce it. From the fading of the Northernness Iought to have drawn the conclusion that the Object, the Desirable, was further away, more external, less subjective, than even such a comparatively public and external thing as a system of mythology—had, in fact, only shone through that system….But far more often I frightened [Joy] away by my greedy impatience to snare it, and, even when it came, instantly destroyed it by introspection, and at all times vulgarized it by my false assumption about its nature.71

Joy itself, considered simply as an event in my own mind, turned out to be of no value at all. All the value lay in that of which Joy was the desiring. And that object, quite clearly, was no state of my own mind or body at all. In a way, I had proved this by elimination. I had tried everything in my own mind and body; as it were, asking myself, “Is it this you want? Is it this?” Last of all I had asked if Joy itself was what I wanted; and, labeling it “aesthetic experience,” had pretended I could answer Yes. But that answer too had broken down. Inexorably Joy proclaimed, “You want—I myself am your want of—something other, outside, not you nor any state of you.”72

In the end, Lewis discovered that the object of Joy is God, and after his conversion to Christianity he wrote the following:

But what, in conclusion, of Joy?…To tell you the truth, the subject has lost nearly all interest for me since I became a Christian….I now know that the experience, considered as a state of my own mind, had never had the kind of importance I once gave it. It was valuable only as a pointer to something other and outer.73

And that other and outer is God.

Could someone as thoughtful as Lewis, who claimed that “we know we arebeing touched by a finger of that right hand at which there are pleasures for evermore”74 and that “God not only understands but shares the desire…for complete and ecstatic happiness…[and] made me for no other purpose than to enjoy it,”75 also claim that our desire for Joy is ultimately directed at something that has nothing to do with pleasure and happiness? Any charitable reader must answer “No.” Surely Lewis believed that the pleasures that are for evermore and comprise complete and ecstatic happiness are to be had if and only if one, through repentance, makes peace with and finds one’s rest in God, who is the object of Joy. In short, Lewis held that God made all people for perfect happiness and that experiences of pleasure in this life are an early taste of what is in store for believers in the after-life. Joy is a desire for that object, God, who when He is thanked, praised, and served, finally sets things right by providing the pleasure that constitutes ecstatic happiness:

[B]ut the mind and, still more, the body receives life from Him at a thousand removes—through our ancestors, through our food, through the elements. The faint, far-off results of those energies which God’s creative rapture implanted in matter when He made the worlds are what we now call physical pleasures; and even thus filtered, they are too much for our present management. What would it be to taste at the fountainhead of that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies before us. The whole man is to drink from the fountain of joy. As St. Augustine said, the rapture of the saved soul will “flow over” into the glorified body. In the light of our present specialized and depraved appetites, we cannot imagine this torrens voluptatis [torrent of pleasure].76

The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.77


In conclusion, a survey of Lewis’ views of pleasure, happiness, and morality indicate that he was not a eudaemonist. Though Lewis was steeped in the classics, he did not himself embrace the classical understanding of happiness. Indeed, Lewis’ own view of pleasure and happiness was so non-eudaemonist in nature that he suspected a reader might conclude that he was a hedonist. He suspected this because he shared the hedonist’s view that all pleasure is intrinsically good and all pain is intrinsically evil, and that perfect happiness is constituted by nothing except pleasure. But Lewis knew that one could share this view with the hedonist without being a hedonist, because one also believes that there is at least one other intrinsic good (and one other intrinsic evil). Lewis found this additional intrinsic good in justice (and the additional intrinsic evil in injustice).78

Cite this article
Stewart Goetz, “C. S. Lewis on Pleasure and Happiness”, Christian Scholar’s Review, 40:3 , 283-302


  1. C. S. Lewis, Present Concerns: A Compelling Collection of Timely, Journalistic Essays (New York:Harcourt, Inc., 1986), 53. The emphases are mine.
  2. David Horner, “The Pursuit of Happiness: C. S. Lewis’s Eudaimonistic Understanding ofEthics” <>
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York: Harper San Francisco, 2001),25.
  9. C. S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, WalterHooper, ed. (New York: Harper San Francisco, 2007), 146.
  10. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Macmillan, 1962), 92.
  11. Ibid., 122.
  12. Ibid., 93, 95.
  13. C. S. Lewis, All My Road Before Me (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 1991), 98.
  14. C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970), 54.
  15. C. S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, ed. Walter Hooper (New York: Harper San Francisco, 2004), 462-463. The emphasis is Lewis’.
  16. C. S. Lewis, Christian Reflections (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1967), 21.
  17. C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 1992), 89-90.
  18. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: Macmillan, 1961), 41-42.
  19. C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (New York: Harper San Francisco, 2001), 54.
  20. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Harper San Francisco, 2001), 43-44.
  21. Lewis, Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, 188.
  22. C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 1988), 106. Interestingly, Lewis introduced his treatment of the four loves (affection, friendship, Eros, and charity) with a discus-sion of two types of pleasures (need-pleasures and pleasures of appreciation) (10-11) and described Eros as “the king of pleasures” (96).
  23. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 98.
  24. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, 89-90.
  25. Lewis, Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, 54.
  26. Ibid., 187.
  27. Lewis, Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, 583. The emphasis is Lewis’.
  28. C. S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet (New York: Scribner, 2003), 74.
  29. Lewis, Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, 463. The emphasis is Lewis’.
  30. Lewis, Present Concerns, 54-55.
  31. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 121-122. The emphases are Lewis’.
  32. Lewis, Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, 263.
  33. Ibid 123.,
  34. C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (New York: Harper San Francisco, 2001), 61. The emphasis is Lewis’.
  35. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, 92
  36. Lewis, Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, 409.
  37. Lewis, God in the Dock, 58.
  38. Lewis, Christian Reflections, 169.
  39. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 207.
  40. Ibid., 18-19.
  41. Lewis, Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, 93. The emphases are Lewis’.
  42. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 93.
  43. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, 26.
  44. Ibid., 32-33.
  45. Lewis, God in the Dock, 109.
  46. Lewis, Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, 580.
  47. Lewis, God in the Dock, 112.
  48. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, 115. The emphasis is Lewis’.
  49. Lewis, Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, 463-464. The emphases are Lewis’.
  50. Horner, “The Pursuit of Happiness.” The emphasis is Horner’s.
  51. Ibid. The emphasis is Horner’s.
  52. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 81.
  53. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, 115.
  54. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 99-100, 101. The emphasis is Lewis’.
  55. Horner, “The Pursuit of Happiness.”
  56. Lewis, God in the Dock, 318.
  57. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 28.
  58. Ibid.
  59. St. Augustine, The Nature of the Good, trans. John H. S. Burleigh (Philadelphia: TheWestminster Press, 1953).
  60. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, trans. Martin Ostwald (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1962), 284.In the standard textual notation, the quote comes from 1175b27.
  61. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 105.
  62. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, 89, 90.
  63. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 95-96, 98.
  64. Lewis, Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, 462-463. The emphasis is Lewis’.
  65. Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1974), 42-45.
  66. C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 1955), 17-18.
  67. Ibid., 78.
  68. Ibid., 72.
  69. Ibid., 169-170.
  70. Ibid., 166.
  71. Ibid., 168-169.
  72. Ibid., 220-221.
  73. Ibid., 238.
  74. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, 90.
  75. Lewis, Books Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, 123. The emphasis is Lewis’.
  76. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, 44.
  77. C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (New York: Harcourt, 1986), 96-97.
  78. I want to thank a referee for Christian Scholar’s Review for reading and making several helpful suggestions for improving an earlier version of this paper.

Stewart Goetz

Stewart Goetz is Professor of Philosophy at Ursinus College.