According to CS Lewis, there are two main ways to view the facts of the reality of the universe around us. The first is Christianity, which states that God created everything as good, and some (most) of it has been broken and perverted, falling short of God’s original design. The second viewpoint is Dualism, which Lewis describes as believing that there is a good force and an evil force at play, beyond our perceptions. These two forces are rivals, and are engaged in a war that we feel the blows from.
Though I felt at times that Lewis’ descriptions of the Dualist viewpoint were oversimplified, it makes sense that many people believe this sort of thing. It signifies balance and order. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Good wipes out evil in equal numbers. Yin and Yang. Light and Dark. Many teens (and adults) that I have spoken with over the years believe that the powers at play are God and the devil, that there is a real opportunity for God to lose this fight and for the devil to win since they are evenly matched. But Lewis blows this idea out of the water.
For the evil power to be truly what we think it to be, and for it to be considered equal to the good power, then there has to be no good in it at all. But by its very existence, it utilizes good things such as existence, reason and intelligence (without these it would have no hope against the good). And evil cannot be evil in and of itself. For all evil acts are merely good acts perverted. Lewis argues that non one does evil for no reason, there is always some personal gain from it, be it emotional, sexual, power-driven or something else. Yet people can do good acts without needing an external stimulus. So for evil to exist in equal parts to the good force at play in the world, it would have to have either been good to begin with, or it would have been created by a higher power that could determine what good and evil are.
For if we declare something good and something evil, we have to admit there is a measuring rod that guides our thoughts and actions (as Lewis spent chapters explaining already). We cannot simply declare that one power is good while the other is not arbitrarily. One must be declared evil, and since evil does not exist in and of itself, it must have been good originally or created by something higher than it. God created Lucifer and he fell. He was perverted and now he exercises power in this realm. We are living in enemy territory, according to Lewis, and God has arrived on the battlefield in disguise (if we will allow this metaphor), and He is inviting us to take part in a great campaign sabotage.
I really liked that Lewis ended the chapter with a frank discussion on the devil, stating that he is real, that he (Lewis) cannot claim to know what he looks like, and that one can know him for real. The question is whether or not they will like it when they do. Quite a chilling thought.