Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lord of Terrible Aspect

When Christianity says that God loves man, it means that God loves man: not that He has some "disinterested," because really indifferent, concern for our welfare, but that, in awful and surprising truth, we are the objects of His love. You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the "lord of terrible aspect," is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as an artist's love for his work and despotic as a man's love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father's love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes.

C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, Collier (New York: 1962) pp. 46-47. "Lord of terrible aspect" comes from Dante, of course, in La Vita Nuova. Dorothy Sayers reflects on the same idea in the chapter on the love of the creature in Mind of the Maker.

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