The essential Miserific Vision

Is the world a place of pleasure or misery? Can it be both?

In C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, the demon blasts God as “a hedonist at heart.” He criticizes the fact that “out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are pleasures for evermore.” He adds, “Ugh! I don’t think He has the least inkling of that high and austere mystery to which we rise in the Miserific Vision.”

“Miserific” is a word C.S. Lewis coined. (You won’t find it in a dictionary.) It is a combination of the Latin “miser” and the suffix “fic” — basically meaning the cause of misery.

Although he will tell us differently, Satan causes misery in the world by his deception — his twisting of that which is meant to be good.

God’s design for us is pleasure — “pleasure for evermore.” He is the architect of the summum bonum — the highest good.

Thus, we have two competing visions for the world — the miserific versus that of the highest good. Misery versus pleasure.

Essentially, the world is a battlefield, a place of war where competing ideologies seek to remake the broken earth.

He passed by angels…

O saints, do but let your thoughts dwell upon the love of Christ, who passed by angels and thought of you, who was wounded that, out of his wounds, the balm of Gilead might come to heal you; who leaped into the sea of his Father’s wrath, to save you from drowning.

–Thomas Watson