Animal vs. Diabolical Self


“The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.”

~Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

What do you think?

16 responses »

  1. Whoa! C.S. Lewis does not mince his words! I think he is biblically correct though since that is exactly how the Pharisees acted and Jesus called them on it. No wonder people don’t want to be around Christians! It’s a good behavior/mental check that we all need to do. Thanks for the quote, I think I need to read that book!

  2. Hey, Punkin! He surely does NOT mince words! To think how very difficult we (Christians) can be, and yet we feel we’re so “right” in our actions. Self-righteousness (good deeds done in the flesh) is not what He requires. HIS righteousness, in us and through us, is the only saving grace.

    It’s a must read, in my opinion.
    ♥ U!!

  3. I love this…. CS Lewis didn’t hold back, for sure. πŸ™‚ Neither did Jesus when he dealt with the self-righteous people.

  4. Hey there, Heidi! Thank you for commenting. I was here yesterday, trying to respond to you when my computer died (I’m borrowing my son’s now). I had a good response that I can’t remember at all!

    It took me a very long time to understand Jesus’ words to the Pharisees. For the longest, I thought they were the people who were “trying” to get it right…not at all understanding that they never would, they never could. When I was growing up, we had extra rules, so what was the big deal that the Pharisees added more??? To finally see the grace of God, well, it took a very long time.

    Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

    Oh, goodness, that whole chapter in Matthew 23. Whew!!
    No wonder Lewis spoke so boldly against the self-righteous. Wow…

  5. Pingback: Is it wrong to doubt? | Christianity Q & A

  6. Hey Sis,

    Just catching up on a few of your posts.

    While i generally agree with him C.S. confuses me a little. Two things inside of me competing with my ‘human’ self??

    The way i see it is as one all too human thing inside of me comprising C.S.’s two (my fleshy Ego, born of the earth) and it battles the part of the spirit placed in me from birth i am trying to help regain it’s rightful place – in charge – so as to follow God’s will to the best of my present abilities?
    Am i muddled somewhat here do you think?


  7. Hey there, Love. I believe the biblical account of the spirit within: In the garden, when God told Adam and Eve they would die if they ate of the tree of Good and Evil, He spoke truth. Yet, they didn’t “immediately” die in the flesh; however, something in them did die: they felt shame, they hid themselves from God, and they tried to cover up. I believe the image of God in them died and when we read further we see this is true…

    Genesis 5:1-2 “In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.

    1 Cor 15 explains this death of man:
    For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

    We are dead until we believe in Christ, then we are given the Holy Spirit to live. Our dead spirit that wanted to hide from God, that tries to cover ourselves up with good deeds, that feels intense shame for the evil we have done, has now, in Christ, become alive.

    Col 1:12-14 explains what happened in the spiritual sense:
    We give thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

    Since Adam, all of us are born into darkness, the “domain of darkness.” We are natural, of the flesh, dead men, spiritually speaking. When you say you have a part of the spirit placed in you at birth that battles with the flesh, I don’t see that, unless you are speaking of your spiritual birth, when you were born again in Christ. Yes, that spiritual birth gave you a new Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to help you walk in light.

    Ephesians 3:1-10 explains: And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus , so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

    We can’t boast about any good we’ve done. Only through His Spirit are we able to do the works He prompts us and enables us to do. The self-righteous prig is the one who has trusted only in self and believes he is better than anyone who lives in the outward deeds of the flesh. However, you see, he lives in the flesh, too. He’s not relying on the Spirit of God, he’s not trusting in the grace of God, he’s not asking the Spirit’s power to enable him. He’s still trusting in his own “good” deeds. Anything done of the flesh is fleshly, only the things of the Spirit remain.

    I think that covers the question, unless I completely muddled it up further. :-/

    If you will spend time in 1 Cor 15, I think it will help you to see what happened to us in Adam and what happens to us in Christ. Many people read the chapter only at funerals, but in the spiritual sense, we are resurrected to new life in Christ while still living on this earth and in this flesh. The battle between the Spirit and the flesh won’t be completely finished until we stand before Him in glory, but we have the power within to do what He’s asked of us while still living on the earth. In communion with Him, in relationship, we can hear His voice within…For we have not been given a spirit of fear, but one of power, and love, and self-control. ~2 Tim. 1:7

    Love you, Love!

  8. Thank you for your thoughtful reply Sis, it is much appreciated. And no – i don’t believe you ‘muddled’ it any further πŸ˜‰ Quite the reverse.

    1 Cor 13 contain’s ‘my’ creed but i did not just read those verses; i read all of Cor 1 and 11, not that i’m saying i know it as well as you, but it is up in the old noggin somewhere’s πŸ˜‰ Talking it over with you helps clarify and make it more real as opposed to simply my interpretation πŸ™‚

    New insight – from what i read above. God created Adam in His own Image (Adam had ‘part’ of God within Him, as did Eve) but then Adam sinned, was cast out and created man in his image and we are the result. Born of flesh/sin – Right?

    But God can re-enter our lives, assuming we truly believe, and He so wills it, through Grace as He did with Christ who had to fall (as a man of flesh) and be made low before He could be raised Up – No? Allowing those who believe in Him to be forgiven from past sin. (But not immune from future sin).

    So, it is not by our choosing we come into Spirit, but by His. I still believe though that His Spirit is always with us, even when we turn away and follow our own desires. We can always choose at any time to turn towards Him rather than away from Him and so increase our chances of receiving His Gift. Christ being the truest example of human behaviour for us to follow if we wish an Eternal Life, as opposed to a simply Earth-based one.

    One question: in the first para you say “the image of God within them died…” Can God’s Image ever die or do we merely choose to not believe it exists within us/them when it is eternal and ever-present?

    Much Love ❀ ❀


  9. Hey, Love! I need to clarify something before trying to answer your last question. I’m not sure what you mean by: But God can re-enter our lives, assuming we truly believe, and He so wills it, through Grace as He did with Christ who had to fall (as a man of flesh) and be made low before He could be raised Up – No? Allowing those who believe in Him to be forgiven from past sin. (But not immune from future sin).

    Two early church hymns tell of the supremacy of Christ and what He did on the cross:

    Philippians 2:5-11
    Have this attitude (this humility) in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
    “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

    Colossians 1:15-20
    “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
    For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authoritiesβ€”all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
    and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”

    And then the modern-day chorus:
    He came from heaven to earth, to show the way.
    From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay.
    From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky.
    Lord, I lift your name on high!

    The first hymn tells us He existed in the form of God before becoming man. He laid aside His powers as God to live as a man, to suffer and understand our difficulties, to the point of more than what most of us will ever endure. God resurrected Christ because He completely fulfilled the Law through being obedient to the point of death. In the second hymn we see the equality of Christ as God. He was not created, but was the Creator. He is the firstborn of the dead. He reconciled all (made peace through the blood of the cross) things to Himself. And, one day, all will recognize Him as Lord.

    We receive this gift by Grace through Faith. Nothing we do can get us the gift, or take it away. It is from God – Eternal Life.

    All that before your question…whew!! πŸ˜‰

    God didn’t die when His image left man… WE died. We are conceived in sin. We are born with a dead spirit within us. “Dead Man Walking” is all men without Christ. When Christ enters through the Holy Spirit at salvation, then we become alive. We have nothing good in us until Christ. All the good we have is Christ.

    That’s the way I read the scripture. That’s what I understand it says about the need for a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord.

    On another note, I’m attending a Messianic Congregation these days. I love it! Closest thing to what I understand the first century church was like. πŸ™‚

    Much love!!

    ❀ ❀ ❀

  10. Your efforts are very much appreciated Michelle and help me clarify my human understanding of a superior level of thought re matters of the Spirit πŸ™‚

    OK, so, as i presently understand it from Genesis, God created the first man and woman in His Image and made them ‘perfect’ – they could walk in the way of God – without fault doing His will.

    Then they committed the first (original) sin by disobeying God’s will and doing what they should not have done (followed their own will in opposition to God’s). Thus they became imperfect and caused their progeny (human race) to be born of imperfection (not being directly OF God but of man) Nothing they could do themselves could return them to the original ‘perfect’ created state of Adam and Eve. We became ‘without’ God.(in us)

    Through Christ, God was able to show how we could become like the Original Creation who had the ‘Breath’ of God within himself (Gen 2.7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.)

    So unless we acknowledge Christ for who He is and believe on Him, and act as He acted we will remain of the flesh and ‘without’ God. If we do this truly we are then much more likely to receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit within and thus ‘be’with God (again, like Adam was). That was the gist of my statement. The Genesis verse gives another perspective on what i was attempting to make clearer (but not doing it very well πŸ˜‰ ).

    “man became a living soul”.

    Man may be born of Flesh and be of the earth but it is true to say that we are all more than just flesh – we all have a human soul – do we not? That soul is not OF the flesh but of spirit and may be coerced/corrupted/overcome by the flesh and not be able to follow it’s desire or enable our flesh body to correctly follow the will of God; the will of Holy Spirit.

    From my first comment to your post i see our soul as being the thing which is at ‘war’ with our flesh – the two desiring different things from and for us as individuals, coming from two different places but being combined within each of us. Whereas CS Lewis seems to think there is an animal-like being and a diabolic (devilish?) ‘self’ within us as well as other selfs/beings/spirits?

    Does that make sense?

    God Bless ❀


  11. I’m not sure where the disconnect is between us. At times I think we’re saying the same thing, but then something is said in a way that makes me think of another verse. For instance, I don’t see soul and spirit as the same, but they are so closely related that the difference may seem to be without a distinction. :-/ The verse from Hebrews 4:12…

    For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.

    And then 1 Thess 5:23…

    Now may the God of peace Himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I think it was our spirit that died in the garden and the spirit that is revived, that comes to life, in Christ. I believe that is the ‘mystery’ that Paul speaks of in Colossians 1.

    In reference to speaking of the change that occurs within us…Paul speaks of the old man vs. the new man…and the inner person. I love the way Colossians 3:1-17 describes this process and our responsibility to be involved in the change.

    I think that is what CS Lewis was talking about. We still live in the flesh. We still have the flesh warring with our better nature in Christ. To deny it is to lie to ourselves and not understand the battle we face. The animal self wants these base desires, but the diabolical self lies to himself about how very corrupt he is able to be. Whenever we believe we are better than anyone, we have become “diabolical”, to use Lewis’s terminology. Pride is abhorrent to God. We are never to think of ourselves as more important than others. Our life in Christ is a sacrificial life, not a “better than you” life. Our love is to pour forth from a changed heart to all living, whether in Christ, or not. To feel we’re “better” through self-righteousness is to not understand the gift we’ve been given. Only faith in Christ makes us righteous. His righteousness is imputed to us and His Spirit fills us to do the good He wills.

    I really think we’re saying the same thing. When I start to explain things in my own words, I get muddled. I keep going to scripture because I know it’s not wrong, but I sure can muck it up with too many words. And again, I’ve used too many words…

    Please, forgive my long-windedness. O.o

    God bless you, Brother!

  12. You NEVER have to worry about using too many words on me, Sis! πŸ˜‰ Of course you are forgiven. πŸ™‚

    I really think we are close to saying the same thing too – just from fairly different background perspectives ( everyone has their own unique set of circumstances by which they come to believe). What is important is what we agree upon (lots) to what we may appear at first to differ.

    regarding soul and spirit: No, not EXACTLY the same and particularly not ours to God’s. Surely His is above all else, but of the same nature (ie. not of our earthly self in origin). You Hebrews quote confirms this as it compares soul and spirit in the same relationship as joints from marrow – the latter both of the earth and the former both of a higher plane of being than the flesh is.

    When you say “Our spirit that died in the Garden” would that be the same as saying His Spirit being withdrawn from Adam/Eve, or their souls dying within them or something else? I agree he has the power to breath New Life into our soul (spirit?). Am just a little uncertain about our soul currently being ‘dead’ as opposed to not being able to overcome our flesh body desires or to get us to turn back towards God and do only His Will. (I feel that is the purpose of each person’s soul).

    I really agree with all you wrote here about CS πŸ™‚

    Going off on a tangent for a little.. was thinking about the part of Genesis i was studying yesterday where Adam fell and what followed after… I’m sure it was allegorical and not exactly literal but God says “Who told you you were naked?” as Adam had covered his nakedness with a fig leaf.

    It’s not like Adam had a bunch of other folks around wearing fig leaves or clothes to compare and feel ashamed about and he was Created in that condition by God Himself so why would Adam feel he had to ‘cover up’?

    Then after God turfed them out of Eden Genesis says “God made them coats of skins and clothed them”. (Gen 3:21).

    Why would God make them clothes? Could they not learn to do this themselves?

    it’s not a super-important point but it’s all those little things adding up that make it harder for me to fully understand/have faith.

    Hope your Sunday was spent in Him and full of joy. πŸ™‚ ❀


  13. I’m glad to have someone who doesn’t mind my wordiness. Thank you, Love. πŸ˜€

    When you say β€œOur spirit that died in the Garden” would that be the same as saying His Spirit being withdrawn from Adam/Eve, or their souls dying within them or something else?

    I believe mankind died spiritually. Not that our spirit left us (or Adam and Eve would have literally died), but that our ability to understand the things of the Holy Spirit, died. Our ability to be holy, the image of God in us, had died and now mankind “did only evil continually” (referring to the verses right before Noah’s story). Until Christ’s resurrection and after the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit did not dwell in man. And now, on this side of the cross, only by believing in God’s gift of eternal life through the shed blood of Jesus do we receive His Spirit within. With the Holy Spirit indwelling us, we are now able to do the good works He prepared beforehand for us to do. The true Christian, the one who truly believes, now can commune with God, moment by moment, and His Spirit will empower us to do His will, as we stay in fellowship with Him. I totally believe this is what Jesus taught while he lived upon the earth, and also why His followers were able to withstand the persecution they endured…and can still withstand it to this day. I have a relationship with God, the Father, through Jesus Christ, His Son, because I have believed He is the Son of God and He died for my sins. Through Jesus’ death atonement was made for all sin. I have been redeemed (bought back) from spiritual death and have come alive through His Holy Spirit. He indwells me. I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Do I? Not always. I am still flesh. I still struggle with passions and unholy desires, but I can overcome through Christ…as I remain in fellowship with Him and don’t “quench” (Philippians, I believe) the Holy Spirit within.

    As for fig leaves and garments of skin… Wow. I understand that to be the beginning of the sacrificial system. Adam tried to cover himself, but fig leaves don’t last. Blood is the covering for sin. God killed animals for the man and woman. I believe He taught them at that time that this was the only pleasing way for mankind to now approach Him. Blood had to be spilled as a sacrifice, to show the death that occurred within us, and to cover our guilt. It is seen in the story of Cain and Able and why Able’s sacrifice was pleasing, but not Cain’s. It is seen in the sacrifice Noah gave after deliverance from the flood. It is seen in Abraham’s sacrifice. Over and over again, before Moses, sacrifice is made. It’s also seen in the pagan world. The truth became twisted as man became more and more twisted and the world fell deeper and deeper into evil. However, the truth of the blood is seen throughout scripture. ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’ (Leviticus 17:11 and Hebrews 9:22) Some have said that is the common thread, the red blood of scripture, that holds all the story together, from beginning to end. I believe it.

    So…there you go. Another essay. I’m not really covering these topics exhaustively…I’m not a biblical scholar. I hope I’m not adding to the confusion. A really good book to get on sacrifice is Trunbull’s, The Blood Covenant. I think it’s still in print. It covers sacrificial systems throughout the world and then brings it back to scripture. Good stuff.

    I spent Saturday at church. (Messianic congregation so we meet on Shabbat) It was great! Thank you!! πŸ™‚

  14. Hi Sis – am glad your Sabbath was spent in Him and went well for you. πŸ™‚

    Thank you so very much for your reply – it made some very good points i trust your knowledge of and helps me see things more clearly, albeit from a different point of view.

    I’m happy that (i believe) we both see things in a very similar fashion concerning the Holy Spirit and man’s spirit- even if it may appear otherwise sometimes πŸ˜‰

    You explanation of the fig leaf/skins makes perfect sense to me – i can see the Cain and Able story more clearly than before. – Thanks again ‘little’ Sister πŸ˜‰

    You were in my thoughts and prayers last night ( i had confidence you were doing well and being watched over) – and lo and behold i wake to find your name in my inbox!

    Much Love always <3<3


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