So how can something be simultaneously in your will and against your will? He uses the example of a mother who tells her children that she is not going to stand over them every day and make them clean their room because they need to learn to do it and want to do it themselves. Then one night she goes up to the room and finds that it is all a mess and not at all like she would have wanted it. So the messy room is against her will; "She would prefer the children to be tidy. But on the other hand, it is her will which has left the children free to be untidy." If you are the authority and you give any of those under your authority the right to make decisions and choices for themselves, your will may not be for them to make bad decisions or choices, but in giving them the freedoms you did, your will made it possible.
Looking at it from this perspective, it seems then that it is entirely possible and logically consistent that God created man with the free will to choose between right and wrong. Yes, that free will makes evil possible, but it also makes possible the potential for real love, joy, and delight, and the potential to find those things in God. But if God created perfect human beings in the beginning and gave them a perfect world to live in, why would they choose wrong? Lewis reasons that the moment you have a "Self" at all, there is the possibility of putting your Self first, wanting to be the center, wanting to be God. Looking at Genesis in the Bible, this is what Satan put into the minds of the first humans, and it is what he still tempts us with today: the idea that there is something other than God which will make us happy and fulfill our deepest desires. But we can see throughout history that this is a futile pursuit.
"That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended - civilizations are built up - excellent institutions devised; but each time, something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and cruel people to the top and it all slides back into misery and ruin. In fact, the machine conks. It seems to start up all right and runs a few yards, and then it breaks down. They are trying to run it on the wrong juice. That is what Satan has done to us humans."
- God gave us a conscience, awareness of right and wrong.
- God gave man "good dreams," those similar stories scattered throughout all the world religions about a god who dies and comes to life again and somehow gives new life to men.
- God selected a particular people (the Israelites) and spent centuries working in their lives and showing them what kind of God he is (the Old Testament).
Then, along comes a man from among those Jews who claims to be God, forgiving sins and saying he has always existed and that he will judge the world at the end of time. Here's the thing about that... What kind of person says those things?! Lewis basically breaks it down for us like this:
- There is historical evidence outside of the Bible that Jesus existed and that authenticates the Biblical account of his life, so he is more than just a legend.
- If he did make these claims and knew they were not true, then he was a liar.
- If he did make these claims and believed that they were true but they actually weren't, then he was a lunatic.
So we cannot merely say that Jesus was a great moral philosopher or a wonderful philanthropist and good man. Because of the things he called himself and the way he referred to his life and his work and his purpose, when we look at the person of Jesus, we must see him in only one of three ways: He was either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord.