Chapter 1 - Introduction
Chapter 1 - Introduction E-mail

The Four Loves

Chapter 1 - Introduction

1.  What was the first distinction Lewis makes in types of human love?

     Give his example of each and add an example of your own.

2.  Lewis initially did not consider "Need-love" to be a form of love.  What reasons led him to reconsider?

3.  Why will our love for God predominantly be Need-love?  How does God address our Need-love?

4.  Describe the paradox that "man approaches God most nearly when he is in one sense least like God."

5.  Lewis distinguishes between two things, both of which might be called "nearness to God." 

(a)  nearness by likeness:  humans and angels are nearer to God in the sense that they bear more of his image or likeness than do the animals and plants

(b)  nearness of approach:  we are nearest to God when swiftly approaching our final union with God, vision of God and enjoyment of God

Try to contrast the two by completing the chart:

Nearness by likeness

Nearness of approach


1. able to increase

2. given to us by God


3. made without our collaboration or consent


4.  likeness of image or portrait

4.  union with God in will

6.  What is our willed imitation of God (as distinct from the likeness God has impressed on us) in this life to resemble?

Lewis also calls it "the ­­­­­_____________________ life operating under ______________________________."

7.  Lewis (building on Dennis de Rougemont's remark) says that when we make love into a god, it becomes a demon.  God is love; but love is not god.

How did Oraul in Till We Have Faces illustrate this point?  Or Michael's mother (Pam) in The Great Divorce?  Perhaps you can think of an example from another work of fiction or from real life.

8.  Why is it that natural loves at their best stand in greatest danger of blasphemy?

9.  Lewis cautions against becoming either an idolater or a debunker of natural human love.  He gives examples of each.

Would you characterize 21st century American society as predominantly idolaters or debunkers of love?

How would you characterize yourself?


panegyrics:  eulogistic oration

Imitation: refers to Thomas à Kempis' (1380-1471) devotional classic The Imitation of Christ.  According to Richard Foster, The Imitation ranks second only to the Bible in its impact on the worldwide Christian community.

© 2008 by Allyson Wieland