Thirst Was Made for Water

The following is an exchange from C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, in which a White Spirit (who had been named Dick in life) is trying to persuade his old friend (once an Episcopal bishop but now a ghost) to finally renounce the folly of Liberal theology and embrace the Truth:

‘Well, really, you know, I am not aware of thirst for some ready-made truth which puts an end to intellectual activity in the way you seem to be describing. Will it leave me the free play of Mind, Dick? I must insist on that, you know.’

‘Free, as a man is free to drink while he is drinking. He is not free still to be dry.’ The Ghost seemed to think for a moment. ‘I can make nothing of that idea,’ it said.

‘Listen!’ said the White Spirit. ‘Once you were a child. Once you knew what inquiry was for. There was a time when you asked questions because you wanted answers, and were glad when you had found them. Become that child again: even now.’

‘Ah, but when I became a man I put away childish things.’

‘You have gone far wrong. Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth. What you now call free play of inquiry has neither more nor less to do with the ends for which intelligence was given you than masturbation has to do with marriage.’

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