The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis (Four Stars)

The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis

(Four Stars out of Five)

“Perhaps … all experience merely defines … the shape of that gap where our love of God ought to be.”

As was often the case, C. S. Lewis’ take on love was thoughtful and out-of-step with the thinking of his day. Even more so our day. Five readings of this text have not demised the depth of thought and challenge found in these pages.

This famous investigation of the four types of love exemplified by the Greek words storge, philos, eros, and charios begins with a preliminary discussion of gift-love versus need love. Lewis, like the scholar he was, defines terms and sets the stage for his greater argument.

In the following 141 pages Lewis takes the reader on a relatively painless, though deep, investigation of just what love is and how we express it. Until the last chapter most of his examples arise from everyday life and his citations from literature and psychology. He assures that his reader is with him all the way.

Finally as he expounds on charity, Lewis of necessity moves into the supernatural. His references come more often from scripture. And that is of necessity as his definition of charity begins and ends with a gift-love of God. “Thou hast made us for thyself,” he quotes Augustine of Hippo “and our heart has no rest until it comes to Thee.” A love which not only transforms us but transforms how we love. “In my love for wife or friend the only eternal element is the transforming presence of Love Himself.”

“All that was true love … was, even on earth, for more His than ours, and even ours only because His.”