In the foreword to his novel "That Hideous Strength," Lewis says it is a fictionalized story that seeks to illustrate the main points he makes in "The Abolition of Man." Join us as we unpack the important themes in these eerily relevant books and reflect on what they mean for us today in terms of living boldly for Christ in an increasingly secular age.
In this final episode, we recap main points from both books, with a particular emphasis on how themes from The Abolition of Man appear and are fleshed out in That Hideous Strength. We also look at lessons we can learn from the Company at St. Anne’s on living wisely and making the best use of time when the days seem evil.
In Chapter 16, the N.I.C.E. banquet at Belbury devolves into Babel-like chaos and terror as Merlin speaks an incantation: “Qui Verbum Dei contempserunt, eis auferetur etiam verbum hominis.” (They that have despised the word of God, from them shall the word of man also be taken away). Merlin releases the animals from their cages, and the leaders of the N.I.C.E. are consumed by their dark masters. The closing chapter chronicles Venus's descent upon St. Anne's, focusing on the male and female order of Creation and the restoration of the created order.
Episode 24: Not as Unwise but as Wise: Reflections from C.S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man and That Hideous Strength In Chapter 14, Mark's imprisonment takes a new turn, as he is subjected to the "Objectivity Room" with the aim of eliminating his emotions and indeed his humanity through exposure to deformed architecture and art which possess no objective beauty or truth. Jane has a vision, followed by a discussion with Ransom about the created order of masculine and feminine. She then encounters Christ in a profound way. The scene moves back to the N.I.C.E. in Chapter 15, where Ransom has managed to get Merlin hired as an interpreter to work with the tramp whom the N.I.C.E. directors have mistaken for Merlin.
Both the Company at St. Anne's and the N.I.C.E. are searching diligently to find Merlin, who has awakened and left his sepulchre. Two different men are spotted in the vicinity; one escapes on a horse and the other is captured by the N.I.C.E. The action picks up as Merlin immediately rides to the aid of the Company at St. Anne's and is revealed as a Christian. Meanwhile, the N.I.C.E. are speaking Latin to the man they believe to be Merlin, but who is actually a tramp, in hopes of luring him onto their side.
This week, we go on an unsuccessful quest with Jane, Dimble, and Denniston in search of Merlin, while the powers at the N.I.C.E. debate about whether torturing Mark would be fruitful or would disrupt Jane's visions. In his prison cell facing hanging, Mark gains clarity about the folly of his obsession with the Inner Ring and falls into despair.
In this week's chapter, the powers of the N.I.C.E. will try to tighten their grip on Mark by entrapping him with planted evidence, and when he flees, he ends up in a showdown with Dr. Dimble about Jane. Dr. Dimble stands fast about Mark and the evil represented by the N.I.C.E. and refuses to reveal where Jane is. Meanwhile, the Director and the Company at St. Anne's prepare to take action and enter the fray based on the spiritual guidance they have received.