1945 by C.S. Lewis.
Lewis's counterpoint to The Divine Comedy follows a busload of the damned to Heaven. When they get there, they are as fragile ghosts - a walk across a field of grass pierces their feet, and drops of spray from a waterfall are as dangerous as bullets to them. At every turn, the heavenly welcoming committee urge them to stay, to put aside the resentments and demands from mortal life and grow more real in God's Kingdom. Almost none of them do; some can't drop their mortal resentment against other fellow sinners, some demand position and power; and some scheme to annex Heaven, or plunder its treasures for their own petty ends in Hell. One intellectual denies the doctrine of Heaven and Hell, even as he stands within Heaven's compass; he can hardly wait for the bus to take him back so he can discuss his experience with his philosophical society.

The symbolism of the damned being too "small" or petty to accept Heaven's conditions is illustrated most clearly in the Golden Apple scene: one wretch, on discovering a perfect golden apple, struggles in vain to drag it back to the bus. As insubstantial as he is, and as densely Real as it is, he knows it would be the only real thing (hence the only thing of any value) in Hell. An angel warns him, to the effect that all Hell is too small to contain even one seed of an apple of this most real of worlds. Another angel invites the narrator to take a look at the abyss through which the bus entered Heaven, and it turns out to be just a tiny hole in the dirt.

The Divine Comedy speaks of "the Marriage of Heaven and Hell", the reconciliation of ego with obedience to God. It's a lovely idea, and not the first literature to suggest that damnation might not be so eternal. Lewis found the idea nonsensical - rather, he felt, damned souls are damned because they refuse to reconcile to God, and He so values Free Will that He even suffers them to sustain a dismal little hole where they may choose to avoid His Presence. It's not an indication of a sadistic nature on God's part, but instead reflects the self-limiting nature of those who choose to stay there.

As Jack points out in his introduction, this booklet was written more as an answer to The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, while drawing upon some of his favorite classical literature and its characters (namely the Divine Comedy).

This book reflects Lewis's disdain for the premise of dualism, that is, that good and evil are co-real, co-existant, and equal forces within the universe. Rather, he believes that the nature of "good" (and its reality and existence) is fundamentally different from that of "evil". According to Lewis, evil is by nature a corrupt derivation, a sham, an ill-conceived, poorly-executed, unoriginal attempt to mimic the good in part while rejecting the whole; good is the fundamental, the one true axiom, being in its nature the expression of the nature of God, the creator, the prime mover. Thus the heavenly kingdom's incredible density - the visitors from the netherworld are themselves but shadows, having lived for so long amidst nothing but shadows, and as such they have great trouble abiding or even comprehending the substance of which all they know are poor reflections.

"Nothing, not even the noblest, can go on as it it now is. Nothing, not even what is lowest and most bestial, will not be raised again if it submits to death. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. Flesh and blood cannot come to the Mountains. Not because they are too rank, but because they are too weak. What is a Lizard compared with a stallion? Lust is a poor, weak, whimpering whispering thing compared with the richness and energy of desire which will arise when lust has been killed." The Great Divorce, p.104-105

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