The Evangelical Universalist Forum

C.S. Lewis on the atrocities of Joshua and God's goodness vs inerrancy

It seems strange for me for someone to not be okay with slaughters, but be okay with ET.

From what I read he believed in something more like purgatory: “Lewis’s view on hell is often a controversial subject. First of all, that’s because even as a Protestant, he seemed to believe in something like purgatory—which isn’t hell (only the saved go to purgatory)…there’s a kind of tension between thinking of it as something God inflicts upon people (the pouring out of God’s wrath) and the idea that hell is something that human beings choose (self-inflicted misery).” (

Socrates’ answer to Euthyphro is used in Christian form by Hooker. Things are not good because God commands them; God commands certain things because he sees them to be good.

Who is Hooker? Can you elaborate on his position?

I don’t know who is Hooker, but I did find something on the Eurthyphro Dilemma:

I see that Lewis mentioned “Satan” in your quote. Good. Let’s try to recognize the devil’s activities, in contradistinction to God’s activities. But we must understand that unfortunately, both the Bible-writing prophets of old and believers today occasionally mistakenly conflate God and Satan, making God into a two-headed, bipolar monster.

The Scriptures generally manifest progressive revelation–but some human mediators God used to write them show more understanding of His true character than others. So we must totally depend on the Holy Spirit in order to discern which Scriptures take precedence over others, because “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6).

We must recognize that God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17); that Jesus exactly represents Him (John 14:9, Hebrews 1:3); and that Jesus, the Author of Life, explicitly distinguished between the devil and himself:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

Death is an enemy of God (1 Cor. 15:26), and is a power held by the devil, not by God (Hebrews 2:14). The archangel Lucifer who fell (Ezek. 28:13-16, Isa. 14:12-15), the “god” of this age (2 Cor. 4:4), is a deceiver (Rev. 12:9, John 8:44, 1 John 5:19). He is also referred to as a “serpent” (Gen. 3:1, Rev. 12:9).

The unchanging God is ONLY love (1 John 4:8, 16), and although this temporal classroom* (including hell and the lake of fire) is very painful, He has a good future planned for ALL humanity (John 3:16-17, 1 Cor. 15:22), and for all Creation (1 Cor. 15:28).

Regarding Joshua’s campaign of ethnic cleansing (with alleged instructions from the “Lord” to kill men, women, and children, Joshua 6:21, 11:20), I have argued here (“Is God Violent, or Nonviolent?”) and here (“Fighting for God’s Nonviolence: Richard Murray’s Approach”) that the unchanging God does not kill people, nor does He tell others to do so—but the devil surely does.

*temporal classroom
As I have argued elsewhere, the classroom includes Paradise (a temporal subsection of heaven above, 2 Cor. 12:4); earth (here we all are!); Hades below for those who have died without yet receiving God’s free gift of life in Jesus (John 3:3); and eventually the remedial lake of fire, into which the Antichrist and his false prophet, the devil and his angels, and Hades and its occupants will all be cast (Rev. 19:20, 20:10, 14-15, Mt. 25:41).

The Scriptures say, “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27), but regarding the pernicious idea that the lake of fire is never-ending, I have said this elsewhere, but it bears repeating:


Nicely put!

Just passing through. I once made the following notes on this Letter by Lewis:

Socrates answer to Euthyphro’’ – Lewis is referring to the Platonic dialogue Euthyphro here in which Socrates argues that the piety of an action is not pious simply because it is ‘loved by the gods’; it is pious because it is good in itself. Lewis was a Christian Platonist . He believed that God commands thing because they are Good because God is All Goodness. And that although our moral intuitions may be damaged and weakened by the fall – they do give us at least a shadowy indication of the real Good (he called this intuition ‘Tao’ in his little book ‘The Abolition of Man’).

‘‘Richard Hooker’’ was an Anglican theologian and priest in the late sixteenth century who affirmed Christian Platonism against Calvinism.

William of ‘‘Ockham’’ in the middle ages and William ‘‘Paley’’ in the eighteenth century defended the contrary position that is identical to this key idea in Five Point Calvinist theology– that things are good because God commands them even if they seem wicked to us.

That’s it :slight_smile:


Thanks for your input which is enlightening!

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