Reflecting Christ in Life and Art: The Divine Dance of Self-Giving in C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces

Perichoresis 20 (3):73-90 (2022)
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Abstract

This essay examines how C. S. Lewis, in Till We Have Faces, illustrates the Christian’s journey of sanctification through the pre-Christian story of his main character, Orual. She must gain two ‘faces’ in this process that correspond to the two books she writes. First, she must gain the face of self-knowledge through humility. The key components to this face are her memory and the act of writing of her first book, which together create a mirror to reflect her sin back to her. Second, Orual must gain the face of transformation through divine agape love. The humility she learned from her first face now allows her to enter what Lewis describes as the dance of self-giving, which is a crucial element to the second face of transformation in its mortification of Orual’s sin and selfishness. In the second face, Orual gains access to an ‘actual language’ that transcends merely verbal words and involves worshipping the god with her whole being, as do we in being transformed to reflect Christ more clearly. Orual’s writing is a form of this ‘actual language’, and her second book that shares her personal encounter with the god of the mountain reflects to others the beauty of the divine. Similarly, Christians should reflect Jesus with their lives and their art, which are inextricably intertwined because a life lived for Him is the highest form of artwork they can create.

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References found in this work

The Four Loves.C. S. Lewis - 1960 - New York: Harcourt, Brace.
The Problem of Pain.C. Lewis - 1945 - Philosophical Review 54:626.
The Great Divorce.C. S. Lewis - 1945 - London: G. Bles.

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