A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“One soul in the whole creation you do know: and it is the only one whose fate is placed in your hands. If there is a God, you are, in a sense, alone with Him (p. 217).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“If so-and-so is going to heaven, then I’m sure to get in… I have to be better than 49% of the population. After all, there are a lot of bad people in the world and I’m not one of them.” These are the kinds of statements that we use to try to draw a crowd between us and God. Yet this is not how our fate with God will be determined.
Imagine it as one of the modern talent reality shows. Contestants compete amongst their peers for weeks, but when they learn if they make it into the “Top 10” they walk before the judges by themselves. They watch excerpts of their performances with no one else on the stage.
As they stand before the judges, there is no one else to point at. There are no fans to cheer or boo in order to sway the judges’ opinions. They are alone as they learn their fate.
That is a loose metaphor of our judgment experience before God. Read again II Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one [singular] may receive what is due for what he [or she] has done in the body, whether good or bad.”
This moment will either be our return to Eden, where we feel completely exposed and unashamed because we are covered in the righteousness of Christ (Gen. 2:25, Phil. 3:9), or we will have the sentence of expulsion (Gen. 3:22-24) from God’s presence finalized because we cling to our comparative excuses.
Either way, we will feel very alone with God; for better or worse, blessing or curse, accepted or rejected.
Yet in that very-alone-moment one of two things will happen. Either that will be the last alone moment you ever feel as you are welcomed into eternal community, or it will become the beginning of eternal isolation and pain as your choice to reject God is made permanent.
We quickly realized that God removed everyone from that moment not for intimidation or dramatic effect, but to highlight that eternity is decided between He and each individual. A child only fears an invitation to speak with a parent alone if he or she has done something wrong. When the relationship is right, there is more reason to expect a treat than a punishment at an invitation for personal time together.
The fact that we fear being alone with God reveals our guilt and need for Christ. If you’ve read to this point in Mere Christianity, then you would know that Lewis is not making a threat – “Just wait until you get to Heaven’s gate, you’re going to be alone with God then and get what you deserve.”
The point is to make a final appeal to his reader who might still believe that our comparative logic might be enough to persuade God. Our comparative logic is as satisfying to God as re-gifting a broken and poorly repaired present someone gave you last Christmas to the same person. It was theirs to begin with and in better condition when they gave it to you.
The whole point of heaven is that we are welcome in God’s presence. Being alone with God is merely the first course of the unhindered access to God we’ll enjoy for eternity.