eternal punishmentinfernoinfernal
C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce (1945) borrows its title from William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793) and its inspiration from the Divine Comedy as the narrator is likewise guided through Hell and Heaven. Hell is portrayed here as an endless, desolate twilight city upon which night is imperceptibly sinking. The night is actually the Apocalypse, and it heralds the arrival of the demons after their judgment. Before the night comes, anyone can escape Hell if they leave behind their former selves and accept Heaven's offer, and a journey to Heaven reveals that Hell is infinitely small; it is nothing more or less than what happens to a soul that turns away from God and into itself.

Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy describes Dante's journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso); he is first guided by the Roman poet Virgil and then by Beatrice, the subject of his love (and of another of his works, La Vita Nuova). While the vision of Hell, the Inferno, is vivid for most modern readers, the theological niceties presented in the other books require a certain amount of patience and knowledge to appreciate.


purgatorialpurgationForsaken Soul
In his Divine Comedy story Purgatorio, Mount Purgatory is split into different terraces for those being made to be ready for heaven. At the top of Mount Purgatory is the Garden of Eden. In the 1991 film Defending Your Life, "purgatory is like Paradise City" in which "souls hang around awaiting the verdict of their hearings." The TV series Sleepy Hollow uses purgatory as the world of the dead and undead, with characters often forced to travel to purgatory to find key items or rescue important allies. The movie Gabriel takes place in purgatory, which the Fallen Angels have transformed into a Dark City.

Catholic Church

CatholicRoman CatholicRoman Catholicism
Heaven is a state of unending union with the divine nature of God, not ontologically, but by grace. It is an eternal life, in which the soul contemplates God in ceaseless beatitude. Purgatory is a temporary condition for the purification of souls who, although destined for Heaven, are not fully detached from sin and thus cannot enter Heaven immediately. In Purgatory, the soul suffers, and is purged and perfected. Souls in purgatory may be aided in reaching heaven by the prayers of the faithful on earth and by the intercession of saints.


religious faithfaithsfaith-based
Tom Price (Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics) affirms that when the New Testament talks about faith positively it only uses words derived from the Greek root [pistis] which means "to be persuaded". British Christian apologist John Lennox argues that "faith conceived as belief that lacks warrant is very different from faith conceived as belief that has warrant". He states that "the use of the adjective 'blind' to describe 'faith' indicates that faith is not necessarily, or always, or indeed normally, blind". "The validity, or warrant, of faith or belief depends on the strength of the evidence on which the belief is based."

The Great Divorce

The Great Divorce is a theological dream vision by C. S. Lewis, in which he reflects on the Christian conceptions of Heaven and Hell. The working title was Who Goes Home? but the final name was changed at the publisher's insistence. The title refers to William Blake's poem The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. The Great Divorce was first printed as a serial in an Anglican newspaper called The Guardian in 1944 and 1945, and soon thereafter in book form. Lewis's diverse sources for this work include the works of St.


Holy TrinityTrinitariantrinitarianism
Many scholars interpret the baptism of Jesus in the synoptic Gospels as a manifestation of all three persons of the Trinity: "And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.Baptism is generally conferred with the Trinitarian formula, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit".

The Chronicles of Narnia

NarniaChronicles of NarniaNarnia books
Jacobs, Alan The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis, HarperSanFrancisco, 2005. McIntosh, Kenneth Following Aslan: A Book of Devotions for Children, Anamchara Books, 2006. Ward, Michael Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis, Oxford University Press, 2008. C. S. Lewis entry at BBC Religions. The secret of the wardrobe BBC News, 18 November 2005.

Christian theology

theologyChristian theologiantheologian
C. S. Lewis writes in his book The Problem of Pain: "We can, perhaps, conceive of a world in which God corrected the results of this abuse of free will by His creatures at every moment: so that a wooden beam became soft as grass when it was used as a weapon, and the air refused to obey me if I attempted to set up in it the sound waves that carry lies or insults.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Proverbs of Hell
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is probably the most influential of Blake's works. Its vision of a dynamic relationship between a stable "Heaven" and an energized "Hell" has fascinated theologians, aestheticians and psychologists. Aldous Huxley took the name of one of his most famous works, The Doors of Perception, from this work, which in turn also inspired the name of the American rock band The Doors. Huxley's contemporary C. S. Lewis wrote The Great Divorce about the divorce of Heaven and Hell, in response to Blake's Marriage. According to Michel Surya, the writer Georges Bataille threw pages of Blake's book into the casket of his friend and lover Colette Peignot on her death in 1938.

The Pilgrim's Progress

Pilgrim's ProgressChristianBeulah
C. S. Lewis wrote a book inspired by The Pilgrim's Progress, called The Pilgrim's Regress, in which a character named John follows a vision to escape from The Landlord, a less friendly version of The Owner in The Pilgrim's Regress. It is an allegory of C. S. Lewis' own journey from a religious childhood to a pagan adulthood in which he rediscovers his Christian God. Henry Williamson's The Patriot's Progress references the title of The Pilgrim's Progress and the symbolic nature of John Bunyan's work. The protagonist of the semi-autobiographical novel is John Bullock, the quintessential English soldier during World War I.

Paradise Lost

epic poemsame nameAwake, arise, or be forever fall'n.
In a similar vein, critic and writer C.S. Lewis argued that there was no contradiction in Milton's position in the poem since "Milton believed that God was his 'natural superior' and that Charles Stuart was not." Lewis interpreted the poem as a genuine Christian morality tale. Other critics, like William Empson, view it as a more ambiguous work, with Milton's complex characterization of Satan playing a large part in that perceived ambiguity. Empson argued that "Milton deserves credit for making God wicked, since the God of Christianity is 'a wicked God.'" Leonard places Empson's interpretation "in the [Romantic interpretive] tradition of William Blake and Percy Bysshe Shelley."

Criticism of Christianity

anti-Christiancritique of ChristianityAnti-Christianity
Christian apologists including C.S. Lewis, Norman Geisler and William Lane Craig have argued that miracles are reasonable and plausible. Celsus found it hard to reconcile Christian human God who was born and matured with his Jewish God who was supposed to be one and unchanging. He asked "if God wanted to reform humanity, why did he choose to descend and live on earth? How his brief presence in Jerusalem could benefit all the millions of people who lived elsewhere in the world or who had lived and died before his incarnation?" One classical response is Lewis's trilemma, a syllogism popularised by C. S.

River Lethe in popular culture

C. S. Lewis refers to Lethe in The Great Divorce when he writes, “‘It is up there in the mountains, very cold and clear, between two green hills. A little like Lethe. When you have drunk of it you forget forever all proprietorship in your own works". The Spirit who talks about the fountain is describing Heaven to an artist, telling him that soon he will forget all ownership of his work.

Great Conversation (Catholicism)

The Great Conversation
One common metaphor describes it as a place where the souls of all Christians go directly after death and where each remains until he or she is ready to be admitted to heaven. In this context, "The Great Conversation" will naturally occur in purgatory as a result of the deeply social nature of humankind: souls in purgatory will communicate with each other. C.S. Lewis once wrote that heaven knows only two languages: silence and music, a notion which allocates additional importance to this final conversation.

Christian mythology

ChristianBiblical mythologyChristian folklore
John Milton's Paradise Lost, which describes Satan's revolution against God and the Fall of Man, and his Paradise Regained, which describes Satan's temptation of Christ. Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, a literary allegory that describes a visit to Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. John Bunyan's ''Pilgrim's Progress, a Christian spiritual allegory. C.S. Lewis's The Pilgrim's Regress, a more modern Christian spiritual allegory. According to some interpretations, C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe allegorically represents Christ's death and resurrection (although Lewis denies that the story is a direct allegory; see section on "Mythopoeia" above).

Paradiso (Dante)

ParadisoParadiseParadiso'' (Dante)
The Paradiso begins at the top of Mount Purgatory, called the Earthly Paradise (i.e. the Garden of Eden), at noon on Wednesday, March 30 (or April 13), 1300, following Easter Sunday. Dante's journey through Paradise takes approximately twenty-four hours, which indicates that the entire journey of the Divine Comedy has taken one week, Thursday evening (Inferno I and II) to Thursday evening. After ascending through the sphere of fire believed to exist in the earth's upper atmosphere (Canto I), Beatrice guides Dante through the nine celestial spheres of Heaven, to the Empyrean, which is the abode of God.

G. K. Chesterton

ChestertonGilbert Keith ChestertonG.K. Chesterton
Chesterton's The Everlasting Man contributed to C. S. Lewis's conversion to Christianity. In a letter to Sheldon Vanauken (14 December 1950) Lewis calls the book "the best popular apologetic I know", and to Rhonda Bodle he wrote (31 December 1947) "the [very] best popular defence of the full Christian position I know is G. K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man". The book was also cited in a list of 10 books that "most shaped his vocational attitude and philosophy of life". Chesterton was a very early and outspoken critic of eugenics.

Garden of Eden

Much of Milton's Paradise Lost occurs in the Garden of Eden. Michelangelo depicted a at the Garden of Eden in the Sistine Chapel ceiling. In the Divine Comedy, Dante places the Garden at the top of Mt. Purgatory. For many medieval writers, the image of the Garden of Eden also creates a location for human love and sexuality, often associated with the classic and medieval trope of the locus amoenus. One of oldest depictions of Garden of Eden is made in Byzantine style in Ravenna, while the city was still under Byzantine control. A preserved blue mosaic is part of the mausoleum of Galla Placidia. Circular motifs represent flowers of the garden of Eden. * Translated by Willard R.

Christian apologetics

Christian apologistapologeticsapologist
C. S. Lewis, Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig and Christians who engage in jurisprudence Christian apologetics have argued that miracles are reasonable and plausible wherever an all-powerful Creator is postulated. In his book Science Speaks, Peter Stoner argues that only God knows the future and that Biblical prophecies of a compelling nature have been fulfilled. Apologist Josh McDowell documents the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Christ, relating to his ancestral line, birthplace, virgin birth, miracles, death, and resurrection. Apologist Blaise Pascal believed that the prophecies are the strongest evidence for Christianity.

Existence of God

arguments for the existence of GodGod's existencethe existence of God
C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity and elsewhere, raised the argument from desire. He posed that all natural desires have a natural object. One thirsts, and there exists water to quench this thirst; One hungers, and there exists food to satisfy this hunger. He then argued that the human desire for perfect justice, perfect peace, perfect happiness, and other intangibles strongly implies the existence of such things, though they seem unobtainable on earth. He further posed that the unquenchable desires of this life strongly imply that we are intended for a different life, necessarily governed by a God who can provide the desired intangibles.


life after deathhereafterafterlives
After the resurrection, spirits are assigned "permanently" to three degrees of heavenly glory, determined by how they lived – Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial. (1 Cor 15:44–42; Doctrine and Covenants, Section 76) Sons of Perdition, or those who have known and seen God and deny it, will be sent to the realm of Satan, which is called Outer Darkness, where they shall live in misery and agony forever. The Celestial Kingdom is believed to be a place where we can live eternally with our families. Progression does not end once one has entered the Celestial Kingdom, but it extends eternally.

Bahá'í literature

Bahá'í writingsBahá'í scriptureWorld Order
While Townshend's Christ and Bahá'u'lláh may also be regarded as an apologetic response to Christian concerns, Udo Schaefer, et al.'s Making the Crooked Straight is a decidedly apologetic response to Ficicchia's polemical Der Bahá'ísmus - Religion der Zukunft? (Bahá'ísm – Religion of the future?), a book which was published and promoted by the Evangelische Zentralstrelle für Weltanschauungsfragen (Central Office of the Protestant Church for Questions of Ideology) in the 1980s. This organization has since revoked its affiliation with Ficicchia and now recognizes the Bahá'í Faith as an important partner in inter-religious dialogue.

Inferno (Dante)

InfernoDante's InfernoDante's ''Inferno
Inferno (Italian for "Hell") is the first part of Italian writer Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. The Inferno tells the journey of Dante through Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine concentric circles of torment located within the Earth; it is the "realm ... of those who have rejected spiritual values by yielding to bestial appetites or violence, or by perverting their human intellect to fraud or malice against their fellowmen". As an allegory, the Divine Comedy represents the journey of the soul toward God, with the Inferno describing the recognition and rejection of sin.

Narrative poetry

narrative poemnarrative poemsnarrative
The Divine Comedy by Dante, Italian epic. Don Juan by Lord Byron. The Eve of St. Agnes by John Keats. Cantar de mio Cid, (anonymous) medieval Spanish epic. The Elder Edda (anonymous). The Iliad and the Odyssey attributed to Homer. The Epic of Gilgamesh, (anonymous) ancient Babylonian/Sumerian epic. The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll. The Kalevala, Finnish national epic. Lamia by John Keats. "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes. The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkien. Os Lusíadas (Portugal's national epic) by Luís de Camões. The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser. Virgil's Aeneid, the Roman national epic. Metamorphoses by Ovid.