he can only woo

Speaking of God’s relation to humans, Lewis writes:

Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves….

From The Screwtape Letters (New York: Macmillan, 1943), 45-46.

I like the language of wooing and cake eating that Lewis uses, but I’m not so sure that God never ravishes. Certainly, God’s felt presence in any full sense would entirely overwhelm us, but his wooing at times can be fierce. I am reminded of this poem about God’s ravishing, the teachings of Maximus the Confessor, and Hendriksen’s definition of kingship as harmony with God’s will.

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