Monday, October 29, 2012

Dear Screwtape, XII: The Wandering,Wobbling Star




Dear Reader, you may read Chapter XII of The Screwtape Letters here.

My Dear Screwtape,

From Geology to Astrology, your metaphors are both consistent to your point and persistent in their erroneous conclusions. To the peaks and valleys of your “law of undulation” you now move to the astrological image of the patient as a fallen and wandering star, whose “change of direction in his course . . . is already carrying him out of his orbit around . . . the sun [the Enemy] . . . into the cold and dark of utmost space.” Now let us explore the accuracy of your metaphor.

I know you recall the beautiful but tragic story of our Lord Lucifer the Dawn Treader, how he merited the highest heaven, “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” Girded with the majesty of heaven’s brightest light and earth’s most shimmering jewels, he pulsated with a radiance so lovely it outshone all - all but One, that is, the One who took from our lovely Lord Lucifer the title which rightly belonged to him, “Son of the Morning” or “Morning Star.” So, justifiably, our Lord Lucifer sought to take what was lawfully his, the highest place in Heaven, where he, its brightest star, should shine.

I know you also remember how the splendid trail of his magnificent glory encircled us in crimson flame as he ascended to the throne above the starry heights, and drew us into an adoring and loyal conspiracy with him against the Enemy. But, alas, the Enemy unleashed against us, his most resplendent creatures, that force which you say He does not use, His irresistibility, and thus overpowered our Lord Lucifer’s most sovereign will and cast him, and us, into the nether regions of outer darkness. Now all we have is “the unconquerable will, and study of revenge, immortal hate, and courage never to submit or yield.” So you see, my dear Uncle, it is we and our counterfeit defectors who have changed our orbits from around the Sun and wandered into the cold darkness and void of space. 

Screwtape, the true defector is no wandering star "to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever," but rather a constant orb fixed and immutable in its shimmering path. Once the Enemy names a new star (that is, deceives a new defector; I’m using your metaphor) and spins it in orbit around Himself, that star maintains its circuitous path eternally and shines “for ever and ever.” Therefore, you are mistaken in your idea that we can alter the orbit of a star whose path our Enemy has fixed in His Second Constellation. Oh, certainly, we can pummel such a star with our fiery meteors or cloud it momentarily from its Golden Axis, but to finally alter its course, we might as well try to extinguish the Sun, for to remove the Enemy’s grip from a single star we would first have to remove it from a single sparrow, and we know that not even a sparrow falls without Him, much less a star. So you see, my dear Uncle, you have deceived yourself again; the patients whose courses we may alter are not truly stars in our Enemy’s new heaven, but dying stars fallen from our own brazen and ancient sky; it is those whom we can knock from their already derailed and shaken orbits and pull them with us toward the Black Hole. I will try your strategy, but if my patient truly shines and spins in the Enemy’s galaxy, my efforts will be futile. Please, dear Uncle, would you be a little more thoughtful in your recommendations about how I burn up my time?

Your affectionate nephew,
WORMWOOD

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