The troublesome passage came from The Weight of Glory and was quoted in the February In Touch magazine, in a column entitled C.S. Lewis on Love. This is the quote:
"The infinite value of each human soul is not a Christian doctrine. God did not die for man because of some value he perceived in him. The value of each human soul considered simply in itself, out of relation to God, is zero.
As St. Paul writes, to have died for valuable men would have been not divine but merely heroic; but God died for sinners. He loved us not because we were lovable, but because He is love."
"I don't think he's right about that," Frances went on--"I don't think God tests us to find out anything--I think he already knows the nugget of gold that lies within." Other analogies poured out of her-- we aren't diamonds in the rough, but diamonds that have developed angles of roughness--the chaff covers the good grain of wheat.
My mind was spinning as I found myself unexpectedly in "think" mode on a Saturday morning when the house was full of grandchildren. My heart warmed to my friend's position of God's perception of value in us, but my spirit told me there was truth in both views.
We thought of the beautiful Leeland Dayton Mooring song, Carried to the Table. The second verse and chorus is below:
Fighting thoughts of fear
And wondering why He called my name
Am I good enough to share this cup
This world has left me lame
Even in my weakness
The Savior called my name
In His Holy presence
I’m healed and unashamed
I was carried to the table
Seated where I don’t belong
Carried to the table
Swept away by His love
And I don’t see my brokenness anymore
When I’m seated at the table of the Lord
I’m carried to the table
The table of the Lord
We are broken--yet beloved--and we were beloved even when we were broken. Where does that leave C.S.Lewis? Well, I think that as beauty is in the eye of the beholder--so is value.
"God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 NIV