In this chapter Lewis takes another pause from the overall message of Book Four in order to clarify two points from the previous chapter on the obstinate toy soldiers.
1.) "One sensible critic wrote asking me why, if God wanted sons instead of 'toy soldiers,' He did not beget many sons at the outset instead of first making toy soldiers and then bringing them to life by such a difficult and painful process."
There are two parts to the answer:
- If man had not rebelled and the Fall had not happened, the process would not have been painful or difficult. God created us with free will so that we might have the opportunity to truly experience love and infinite happiness, but because of this freedom, we were able to choose evil, and it is only because of this choice and its consequences that the transformation from toy soldiers into sons is such a hard one.
- The second (and more difficult part) is that there is only one true Son of God, and when we begin to ask, "Could God have begotten many Sons of God?" we may be going above our heads. If we are discussing finite things in the natural world, we can think of alternatives and ask whether things might have been different. We can trace our steps backward and theorize about the different outcomes which might have resulted if we had altered the path in any number of ways. "But when you are talking about God - i.e. about the rock bottom, irreducible Fact on which all other facts depend - it is nonsensical to ask if It could have been otherwise. It is what It is, and there is an end of the matter."
Beyond this though, Lewis says that it is also problematic to imagine the Father begetting many Sons because in order to be multiple Persons they would all have to be different from each other in some way, as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all different in the roles they play and the relation they have to one another. But the idea of many Sons seems to present a difficulty that cannot be solved without adding in components of the natural universe, like space and matter, which would take away the transcendent Divinity of God.
"Human beings are not [separate creatures]. They look separate because you see them walking about separately. But then, we are so made that we can see only the present moment. If we could see the past, then of course it would look different. For there was a time when every man was part of his mother, and (earlier still) part of his father as well, and when they were part of his grandparents. If you could see humanity spread out in time, as God sees it, it would not look like a lot of separate things dotted about. It would look like one single growing thing - rather like a very complicated tree. Every individual would appear connected with every other."
That is actually quite the opposite idea. It is precisely because we are all interconnected and a part of one large organism that our individual differences are so important; we each offer something and contribute to the life of the organism in unique ways that no other person could. So every person's value is infinitely important.
"I feel a strong desire to tell you - and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me - which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs - pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them."