C.S. Lewis on Foreknowledge, Time, and Eternity

‘Eternity is quite distinct from perpuity, from mere endless continuance in time. Perpetuity is only the attainment of an endless series of moments, each lost as soon as it is attained. Eternity is the actual timeless fruition of illimitable life. Time, even endless time, is only an image, almost a parody, of that plentitude; a hopeless attempt to compensate for the transitoriness of its ‘presents’ by infinitely multiplying them. That is why Shakespeare’s Lucrece calls it ‘thou ceaselss lackey to eternity’ (Rape, 967). And God is eternal, not perpetual. Strictly speaking, he never forsees; He simply sees. Your ‘future’ is only an area, and only for us a special area, of His infinite Now. He sees (not remembers) your yesterday’s acts because yesterday is still ‘there’ for Him; he sees (not forsees) your tomorrows acts because He is already in tomorrow. As a human spectator, by watching my present act, does not infringe upon its freedom, so I am none the less free to act as I choose in the future because God, in that future (His present) watches me acting.’ (C.S. Lewis, ‘The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature’ p. 89)

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3 thoughts on “C.S. Lewis on Foreknowledge, Time, and Eternity

  1. Thomas August 11, 2013 / 1:34 pm

    “Time, even endless time, is only an image, almost a parody, of that plentitude; a hopeless attempt to compensate for the transitoriness of its ‘presents’ by infinitely multiplying them.” But didn’t Lewis believe time would continue in Heaven for us finite mortals? Are we doomed to live a ‘parody’?

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    • Juan Julian Vasquez December 10, 2015 / 1:48 am

      Heaven is beyond the realm and limitations of time. Endless time does not refer to eternity. Eternity is timelessness and is the realm of God; which our conceptualizing minds can not yet perceive.

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  2. charlesenancywmiller December 16, 2014 / 1:41 pm

    I would like to ask a question that interests me very much about Professor Lewis. It seems whenever I have read his books that he believed in immediate resurrection since time and eternity are not the same. What is your opinion?

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