The Horse and His Boy: God is Sovereign, God is Good

Though the Horse and His Boy is not a well known work of Lewis’ it is an astounding work of fiction that, in my opinion, applies to all people no matter what age.  Shasta, the main character, has always thought of himself as an unfortunate boy, especially in light of his past events where he seemed to get left out.  The scene I want to address in this book finds Shasta as low as one can be, feeling so sorry for himself and his circumstances, that tears began rolling down his face.  What happened next put this to a direct stop.

Shasta discovered that someone or somebody was walking beside him.  It was pitch dark and he could see nothing.  And the Thing (or Person) was going so quietly that he could hardly feel any footfalls.  What he could hear was breathing.  His invisible companion seemed the breathe on a very large scale, and Shasta got the impression that it was a very large creature.  And he had come to notice this breathing so gradually that he had really no idea how long it had been there.  It was a horrible shock.[1]

After going through all sorts of possibilities of what this large Thing could be Shasta could not bear it any longer.  He mustered up the courage to talk to It and ask It what it was.  The Thing replied and told Shasta that It was not a giant or something dead, and asked Shasta to tell It his sorrows.  Without noticing the Thing had not answered the question but redirected the entire conversation, Shasta began to tell the Thing his entire pitiful life story.  After detailing his unfortunate experiences the Thing turned to Shasta and said:

‘I do not call you unfortunate,’ said the Large Voice.  ‘Don’t you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?’ said Shasta.  ‘There was only one lion,’ said the Voice.  ‘What on earth do you mean?  I’ve just told you there were at least two the first night, and –’ ‘There was only one: but he was swift of foot.’ ‘How do you know?’  ‘I was that lion.’  And Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued.  ‘I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis.  I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead.  I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept.  I was the lion who gave the Horses new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time.  And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.’…‘Who are you?’ Shasta asked.  ‘Myself,’ said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again, ‘Myself,’ loud and clear and gay: and then the third time ‘Myself,’ whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all around you as if the leaves rustled with it.[2]

Shasta was no longer afraid of the Voice, or the Lion walking beside him.  Rather he felt a terrible gladsome trembling in Its presence.  All of the sudden Shasta realized that as the Lion had been talking a light began to grow around Him, so much so that he had to blink over and over because it was almost as bright as the sun.  Then he turned toward the light and saw it.  There stood a Lion, walking beside him that was taller than his horse, soft and strong at the same time.  He caught a glimpse of His face, and jumped out of his saddle and fell on his face before It, without saying a word.  Their eyes met, and the Lion and all His glory around Him vanished leaving Shasta and his horse alone on the mountain path.  A few days later, Shasta was walking on a hillside far away where all the landscape could be seen around them.  Shasta noticed the path he walked on the other night where the Lion met him and was astonished to behold that the path they walked on was a cliff with jagged edges dropping far beneath on the left side.  Shasta warmly thought to himself, “I was quite safe.  That is why the Lion kept on my left.  He was between me and the edge all the time.”[3]

Thus we see Lewis’ purpose in The Horse and His Boy.  His aim throughout the whole story with almost every character was one and the same: to expand and display the reality present in Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good, to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Aslan, as you have seen, has this kind of encounter with Shasta and many other characters.  All of the characters, even Bree the horse, seem to be down and out when Aslan comes to them with sovereign encouragement one by one.  This story is amazingly helpful because it teaches the reader that those awful circumstances in your own life which you think were the lowest of lows, were precisely the ones that God came to your aid, whether you were aware of Him or not, working them together for your good.  And not only your good, but God worked them the best possible way to get to your best possible good.  Aslan had been shaping, crafting, and carving out Shasta’s life from the very beginning, and when Shasta realized this he was infinitely humbled because such a glorious King such as Aslan was intimately involved with someone like him.  The same is true for all Christian and non-Christian readers.  Thus, I think this story has been, is, and will be used of God to bring many people to Himself throughout the past, present, and future simply because watching Shasta deal with real, hard life, and watching Aslan reveal Himself to Shasta gives the reader a window into God’s heart that is rarely seen in this generation.  Through life, Lewis learned one stunning truth that led his own heart to trust God like no other, namely, that God is sovereign and good.  This is the helpful, not hurtful, message of The Horse and His Boy.

[1] Lewis, 280.

[2] Lewis, 281.

[3] Lewis, 290.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe: The Greatest Image of the Whole

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, perhaps the most well known book in the entire Narnia series, offers a multitude of Biblical imagery for its readers to take notice of.  Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy wander into Narnia through an old large wardrobe and eventually find out from Mr. and Mrs. Beaver its cold, snowy dreariness is due to the reign of the evil White Witch.  After losing Edmund to the White Witch through tempting him with Turkish Delight, Peter, Susan, and Lucy train for battle against the dark forces with Aslan at their side.  It is before the battle that we come to one of the greatest (if not the greatest) pieces of Biblical imagery in the whole of the seven volumes of Narnian mythology, the death and resurrection of Aslan.

As I said, Edmund was tempted and led into following the White Witch through her delectable desert Turkish Delight.  Edmund eventually learned that the promises of the White Witch were as empty and cold as her heart was.  Peter, Susan, Lucy, and others broke into the camp of the Witch’s evil minions to rescue Edmund.  They succeed and take Edmund back to their camp.  By this time Edmund is well aware of his own fall into sin and is very happy to be out of the evil Witch’s grasp.  Back in Aslan’s camp, Aslan takes Edmund aside to have a chat with him, and though the reader does not get to hear the details of it, it is clear that Edmund has been forgiven and restored to his previous position as joyful a Son of Adam.  This section of the narrative has much to tell the reader of temptation, sin, the folly of it, and the graciousness of God in our failure and guilt.

Shortly thereafter the White Witch fearfully strolls into Aslan’s camp and claims to still have ownership over Edmund because he is a traitor, and all traitors belong to her.  Aslan invites her into his tent, they talk, and she leaves the camp without Edmund.  We learn in the pages after this that Aslan made peace for Edmund by giving the Witch something in his place.  Night falls and while the whole camp is sleeping Susan and Lucy see Aslan leave camp walking off into the woods.  They follow Aslan and to their shock eventually see that he is going to meet the Witch and her minions at the sacred Stone Table.  They now understand what has happened.  Aslan has offered the Witch payment by giving her himself in return for Edmunds freedom.  Susan and Lucy watch in horror as Aslan begins to be beaten, mocked, scourged, shaved, and eventually killed by the Witch.  All hope seems to be lost.  The hilltop where the sacred Stone Table was broken in two from Aslan’s death is now empty and Susan and Lucy are weeping over the dead body of Aslan, when all of sudden a blinding light shines behind them and Aslan appears in resurrected bodily form alive and well.  He explains to the girls that there was a deeper and stronger magic from the dawn of time[1] that the Witch did not know about.  The three of them run back to the battle, which is already underway and going in favor of the Witch, and defeat the Witch and her minions for good.[2]

The first thing to be said is that Lewis has surely done a masterpiece here in this narrative.  The reader feels triumphant jubilance as the Witch is destroyed by Aslan in the end after what happened to him.  No doubt Lewis is making a very Christian theological statement in this book.  Sacrifice, love, substitutionary atonement, ransom, burial, death, and resurrection are all present within this passage.  Clearly Lewis has written the death of Jesus Christ into the Narnian mythologies.  The question to at hand is; is this a helpful or hurtful image of the death of the Son of God?  To which I answer; yes and no.  Yes this image is extremely helpful because so much in here is so obviously and richly Biblical.  Space and length prohibit me from going into all the Scripture fueling this image about the substitutionary atoning death and sacrifice of the Son of God Jesus Christ on behalf of His people.  Just as the innocent Aslan took the blame for guilty Edmund standing in his place to die for sins he himself did not commit, so too innocent, perfect, and sinless Jesus Christ was treated by God as sin though He never knew sin, taking the fatal blow for the elect that we would know and treasure Him above all things.  In this manner the passage points forward a reality greater than itself ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

But do you notice that the images are not identical?  This is why I must say that in part, the image of Aslan’s death is hurtful to the readers.  Who did Aslan offer himself up to on the Stone Table?  The White Witch.  Who did Jesus offer Himself up to on the cross?  God, not Satan.[3] It is precisely here that Lewis portrays a divergent view of the atonement called the Ranson-to-Satan theory. This theory defines the atonement of Christ as a ransom paid to Satan to pay for the debts mankind had accrued to him.[4] Origen, along with several other early Church fathers held this view, though they each stated it in a different manner.  Anselm’s writings show hints of this view here and there, but Berkhof shows that this view gradually disappeared for its lack of intelligent support soon after.[5]

Therefore, though this is by far the greatest piece of Biblical imagery (probably the one piece which stood out most to Lewis’ critics) in the entire Narnian mythology and therefore incredibly helpful, it is faulty in its understanding of atonement and therefore hurtful to the reader no matter the age.

[1] The reader is left feeling that this stronger magic from the dawn of time is the love with which Aslan loved Edmund and gave himself for his freedom.  Also echoes of the creation event at the dawn in Narnia where Aslan sung Narnia into existence come back to mind from The Magicians Nephew.  Perhaps Aslan was moved by love to create Narnia?

[2] This story is found on Lewis, 172-186.

[3] See Romans 3:21-26, Jesus died for God, not Satan.

[4] Berkhof, 384.

[5] Berkhof, 385.

The Magicians Nephew: Singing Creation Into Being

In response to the invigorating inspiration I’m feeling after drinking deeply of Narnia and C.S. Lewis throughout the Desiring God Conference this past week, I’ve decided to focus on his fantastical work of fiction, The Chronicles of Narnia for a few days.

May you breath deep of Narnian air this week 🙂

Though The Magician’s Nephew is in the Narnian mythology is filled with wonderful images and fantastical stories the most astounding theological encounter in this book occurs when the reader watches Aslan create Narnia.  This scene begins in the end of chapter 8 and comes to completion at the end of chapter 9.  The scene is breathtaking to read,

In the darkness something was happening at last.  A voice had begun to sing…it seemed to come from all directions at once…Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself.  There were no words.  There was hardly even a tune.  But it was beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard.  It was so beautiful Digory could hardly bear it.[1]

After this scene those present looked above them and saw the blackness filled with stars, and each of them were singing as well.  But the voice of the stars grew fainter as the voice of the one singing drew near.  Wind came rushing, the blackness of the sky turned to grey, hills began to stand up around them, the sky changed to pink and then to a brilliant gold, and as soon as the voice swelled to the mightiest sound it could produce the sun rose over the hills.  And from the sun’s light they all could see the source of the singing, a large, golden lion standing in the middle of the valley.  At this moment we read that two distinct reactions occurred from seeing the lion.  Some of the party present there loved this singing so much they could remain before it for an eternity listening to its pleasure.  Others present, the Witch and Uncle Andrew, could barely stand to be before it, and seemed as if all they wanted to do is run and hide in a hole in the ground to get away from it.  The song began to change after this and the lion began walking toward the party standing there.  With each step the singing lion took with its large paws trees and mountains and animals and rivers and flowers and all sorts of lovely things were bursting forth into existence, until finally, all was created.  Narnia had been created by the voice of the lion.  Aslan stood in the center of a circle created by the all the animals he had just made, and he said to them, “Narnia, Narnia, Narnia, awake.  Love.  Think.  Speak.  Be walking trees.  Be talking beasts.  Be divine waters.”[2]

This scene is clearly theological and clearly very Biblically based and therefore helpful to anyone reading it.  We see that this is the creation story, this is Genesis 1 for Narnia, and just as Narnia came into being by the voice of the powerful lion, so too, the earth, the universe, and all they contain came into being by the voice of God Almighty (Genesis 1:1-2).  Aslan’s voice described here shows itself to be strong and to be powerful, almost in Psalm 29 like fashion when the voice of the Lord is so powerful that it can snap the cedars of Lebanon in two as if they were twigs.  Lewis clearly gives an ex nihilocreation, a creation out of nothing that can only be done by God and no one else.  “While Greek philosophy sought the explanation of the world in a dualism; which involves the eternity of matter, or in a process of emanation, which makes the world the outward manifestation of God, the Christian Church from the very beginning taught the doctrine of creation ex nihilo and as a free act of God.”[3]This free act of God is later defined by Berkhof as “the act of God whereby He, according to His sovereign will and for His own glory, in the beginning brought forth the whole visible and invisible universe, without the use of pre-existent material, and thus gave it an existence, distinct from His own and yet always dependent on Him.”[4]

Thus we see that this creation account is very Biblical, because creation is taking place before their eyes out of the mouth of Aslan.  Lewis probably had in mind here the truth that creation was accomplished, not by the Father alone, but through the Word of God (John 1:1), by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Trinity.  The Father would be represented by Aslan Himself, the Word of God is evident in this Narnian story with creation coming into being by the singing “voice” of Aslan, whereas the Spirit of God is evidently present in the rushing wind (the Hebrew word for Spirit is present in Gen. 1, and can also be translated as wind or breath) at the time of the act of creation.  This is a Biblical creation account clearly depicting the ex nihilo creation which is distinct from and dependent on God for its existence, it clearly shows this as a free act of God, which shows His strength over the devil’s (the Witch hated that Aslan’s power was older and stronger than hers), by the Word of God, and by the Spirit of God.  If we were to be sticklers and want this to be a completely Biblical creation account we would now search for evidence of Aslan creating Narnia for His own glory.  And though this element is not explicit perhaps it is implicit within the narrative itself.  All creatures come to Aslan and obey His voice after there made don’t they?  Whether or not this element is clearly stated, all present within the story know who received, and who still should receive, the glory for creating Narnia – Aslan.  Thus, Lewis wonderfully displays the full Biblical, and therefore helpful not hurtful, account of creation here in the Magician’s Nephew.

[1] Lewis, C.S. The Chronicles of Narnia. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2001, page 62.

[2] Lewis, 70.

[3] Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996, page 126.

[4] Berkhof, 129.

Reality Displayed in Imaginative Fiction

At this past weeks Desiring God National Conference the subject was C.S. Lewis, and as you can imagine Narnia came up quite a lot.  For good reason to, upon reading one story in the Chronicles you find yourself wanting to breathe Narnian air, roam Narnian lands, and swim in Narnian oceans.  Well, I felt like this at least.  Haha, but really.  Joe Rigney gave the best message by far titled “Live Like a Narnian: Christian Discipleship in Lewis’s Chronicles.”  Here’s one of my favorite parts of his talk:

But it’s not enough to simply feel something in response to the objective reality of the world. You must also feel rightly and proportionately to the way the world is….

Aristotle says that the aim of education is to make the pupil like and dislike what he ought [The Abolition of Man, p. 26].

These three realities form the foundation of true education. They also shape the aim of education….

The little human animal will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred at those things which really are pleasant, likeable, disgusting, and hateful [p. 26-27].

Following Plato, Lewis believed that we ought to initiate the young into these right responses, even before they are able to rationally understand or explain what they are feeling. The goal of such inculcation of right responses is that, when a child raised in this way grows up and encounters Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, he will welcome them with open arms, because he has been prepared for, and indeed, resembles them already.

Which brings us, finally, to the function of the Narnian stories in Lewis’s vision of education. The Narnian stories display through imaginative fiction and fairy tale the way that the world really is. Here is courage and bravery in its shining glory. Here is honesty and truth-telling in its simplicity and profundity. Here is treachery in all its ugliness. Here is the face of Evil. Here also is the face of Good. A child (or adult) who lives in such stories will have developed the patterns of thought and affection that will be well-prepared to embrace the True, the Good, and the Beautiful (that is, to embrace Jesus Christ) when he finally encounters them (Him!). Like John the Baptist, Lewis and his cast of Narnians will have prepared the way.


Denominations Are Like Rooms in a Hall

C.S. Lewis is amazingly helpful.  I have not always felt like this.  During my final year in seminary I took a class on Lewis and was tasked with reading all of his works.  My opinion of Lewis’ helpfulness changed from that point forward.  After reading all of Lewis my soul seemed to long for “the place where all the beauty comes from.” (Lewis quote) During that semester reading I screamed through Mere Christianity and decided that one day I’d return to it and linger in it for a while.  Well, this past year I’ve done it and read Mere Christianity 6 times, and each time was like opening a bag of treasure.  One of those treasures is Lewis’ idea about what denominations are like.

I hope no reader will suppose that “mere” Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions — as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else.  [Mere Christianity] is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals.  The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think, preferable.  It is true that some people may have to wait in the hall for a considerable time. . . . You must keep on praying for light: and, of course, even in the hall you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and paneling. In plain language, the question should never be: “Do I like that kind of service?” but “Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this?”  When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors, and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.

We do life in the rooms, not the hall.  I fear that many Christians in our day live in the hall and therefore miss out on those “fires and chairs and meals” Lewis speaks of.  Where are you?  You know where you ought to be don’t you?  Get to it.  Find a room, live in it.

The More Heavenly-Minded the More Earthly-Good We Are

C.S. Lewis once said that, “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” (Mere Christianity, book 3, chapter 10) I’m curious to how some of you would respond to my thoughts on this quote.

Many people, not Lewis, believe that those who are heavenly minded are of no earthly good.  This is not a rare thought, I’m sure you’re in one of two camps on this one: you’ve either said this to someone, or been on the receiving end of someone saying this to you.  Do you think it’s true?  It does seem to be true at first, if one merely looks on the surface of things, because the primary orientation of one who is heavenly minded is heaven, not earth, and that seems strange when the residence of the heavenly minded person is earth, not heaven.  But under the surface, I’m convinced we find different story.

Christians are people who are looking forward to a world greater than this one, one that will never fade away or perish.  Christians are people who live by faith, meaning that they are people who hope in things they cannot see in this world.  Christians are also people who long for that which is immortal swallow up that which is mortal, they long for sin to be gone for good, and they long for injustices to be abolished and reversed once and for all.  Christians are a people who are heavenly minded and this is not to be despised, as if they were merely being wishful or desiring to escape this present reality.  It is what Christians are meant to do.

But is this of any earthly good?  Indeed it is.  The Apostles, very heavenly minded men, began what would eventually lead to the conversion of the entire Roman Empire from a heavenly idea.  The great men of the middle ages who contributed most to the knowledge of mankind were by and large, Christians.  The English Evangelical Christians, inspired by their heavenly values, abolished the slave trade.  For sure, there are many more examples, and yet some of you would respond by arguing that many have also done much harm and ill to this world and those in it as a consequence of their heavenly minded-ness.  This is true, no one can deny that.  But ought we to throw out being heavenly minded all together because some, in the name of a god, did evil?  That would be foolishness to the Nth degree.  I’m convinced that those who did evil in the name of some “heavenly-minded” agenda were really more earthly minded than they were aware.  If someone is truly heavenly minded, they will be of enormous earthly good.  How can I claim such a thing?  Because of one thing.

Those that are heavenly minded only want what is best for all people.  What is best for all people is Jesus.  Therefore those seeking to give you Jesus (true the method of delivery and definition of “Jesus” are needed here), are the most loving people in the world.  Thus, those who are heavenly minded are the most earthly good.

Little Decisions of Infinite Importance

From book 3, chapter 9, “Charity” Lewis says:

Good and evil both increase at compound interest.  That’s why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance.  The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.  An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.

This is fantastic.  Why are little decisions to stand against sin and Satan’s attacks today infinitely important?  Because if we stand against them today we uproot the hold the devil has on us in that temptation.  If we give in to the temptation today, and believe Satan when he says “Sin now, be holy afterwards,” we do nothing but add strength to tyranny inside our souls.  We are in effect building a house for the devil inside of us, which he will certainly use (and occupy) at a later date to launch attacks from.  So reader, will you stand today?  I believe more is hanging on our perseverance than we all realize.

The Competitive Nature of Pride

C.S. Lewis:

There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves.

And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.

The vice I am talking of is Pride. . . .

. . . In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, “How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off?”

The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with every one else’s pride.

It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise.

—C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952), chapter 8.

I’m Glad God Doesn’t Love Like C.S. Lewis Says He Does

In book 3, chapter 9 “Hope” of Mere Christianity Lewis thought something was simple when I think it is not.

The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.

Hmmm….At first glance I can appreciate this quote because we all know that loving people is hard, and doing good toward those people can be even harder. But does this kind of love Lewis recommends honor and glorify God? For one reason I must say no. Why? Because when God calls us to love our enemies, Lewis recommends us “faking it” until we actually begin to love people. If we find it hard to love someone, “act as if you did” is not helpful advice. I fear Lewis is helping us add sin (being unloving) onto sin (faking “love”) and thereby fostering a false piety within our hearts.

How then do we love people when we find our hearts cold, unaffected, and unloving? Pray that God would change your sinful heart, and then treat that person how you would want to be treated. Not sure about you, but I’m thankful that God doesn’t love us as Lewis recommends. God’s love is not fake, as if He were learning how to love us. He loves us with a perfect love by giving us what we needed most when we didn’t deserve it at all – Himself.

To Love is to Be Willingly Vulnerable

C. S. Lewis:

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

—C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves (169-170)

James 5:13 and C.S. Lewis

James 5:13b says “Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.” When I read this, I ask one question, why?  C.S. Lewis has a great answer:

But the most obvious fact about praise – whether of God or anything – strangely escaped me.  I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor.  I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise…The world rings with praise – lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game…My whole, more general difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.  I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. (C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, page 94-95)