A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

The Nature of Evil in the Writings of C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis, a renowned British writer and scholar, is widely celebrated for his thought-provoking works of fiction, non-fiction, and Christian apologetics. Throughout his extensive literary career, Lewis delved into various themes and explored the nature of good and evil in profound ways. From his beloved Chronicles of Narnia series to his theological works like The Problem of Pain and The Screwtape Letters, Lewis provides insightful perspectives on the nature of evil.

The Origin and Nature of Evil

One of the recurring themes in Lewis' works is the origin of evil and its existence in the world. Lewis recognized evil as a deviation from the original goodness of God's creation, emphasizing that evil is not a substance but rather a privation or absence of good. He believed that evil came into being through the rebellion of angelic beings, as depicted in The Screwtape Letters, where demonic forces tempt humans towards sin and despair.

In The Magician'' Nephew, Lewis explores the origin of evil in the form of the character Jadis, the White Witch. Jadis symbolizes the corrupting influence of power and the destructive consequences of unchecked ambition. Through her actions, Lewis portrays the allure and danger of evil and its potential to corrupt even the most virtuous hearts.

The Manifestations of Evil

Lewis portrays evil in various forms throughout his writings, illustrating its multifaceted nature. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the White Witch's reign of winter in Narnia represents the chilling grip of evil, as she subjugates the land and instills fear in its inhabitants. Lewis skillfully uses vivid imagery and allegory to depict evil as a force that freezes hearts, stifles growth, and distorts reality.

Furthermore, Lewis explores the concept of the "inner evil" in his works. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, he introduces the character Eustace, who transforms into a dragon due to his selfishness and greed. Through Eustace's journey of redemption and restoration, Lewis emphasizes the need for individuals to confront and overcome their inner demons to find true goodness.

The Temptations and Strategies of Evil

Lewis delves into the temptations and strategies employed by evil forces to lure individuals away from the path of righteousness. In The Screwtape Letters, Lewis adopts a unique narrative style by presenting a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, Wormwood. These letters offer an insight into the cunning methods used by demons to exploit human weaknesses and lead them astray.

Through this epistolary format, Lewis provides readers with a critical examination of the human psyche and the vulnerabilities that evil exploits. He addresses various aspects of temptation, including pride, self-deception, and the distortion of truth, shedding light on the subtle ways in which evil can infiltrate and corrupt human lives.

The Triumph of Good over Evil

Despite the pervasive presence of evil in his writings, Lewis remains a staunch believer in the ultimate triumph of good. In The Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis explores the theme of redemption, emphasizing the power of sacrificial love and the inherent goodness present in the world. Aslan, the lion and Christ figure, serves as the embodiment of good, fighting against the forces of evil and offering hope to those who are oppressed.

In The Problem of Pain, Lewis tackles the question of how a loving God can allow evil and suffering to exist. He argues that God's love necessitates the existence of free will, and with free will comes the potential for evil. Lewis maintains that God, in His sovereignty, can bring about ultimate good even through the existence of evil, illustrating his conviction that goodness will ultimately prevail.


C.S. Lewis' depiction of evil in his writings is a testament to his profound understanding of the human condition and the struggle between good and evil. Through his vivid storytelling and theological insights, Lewis explores the origins, manifestations, and strategies of evil while remaining steadfast in his belief in the ultimate victory of good.

Whether it is the enchanting world of Narnia, the intellectual discourse of The Problem of Pain, or the captivating letters of The Screwtape Letters, Lewis provides readers with a compelling examination of the complexities of evil. His works continue to resonate with audiences, urging them to confront their own vulnerabilities and embrace the transformative power of goodness in the face of adversity. As readers engage with Lewis' writings, they are reminded of the importance of discernment, courage, and unwavering faith in the battle against evil.

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

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