What are the key words of modern criticism? Creative, with its opposite derivative; spontaneity with its opposite convention; freedom, contrasted with rules. Great authors are innovators, pioneers, explorers; bad authors bunch in schools and follow models. Or again, great authors are always “breaking fetters” and “bursting bonds.” They have personality, they “are themselves.” I do not know whether we often think out the implication of such language into a consistent philosophy; but we certainly have a general picture of bad work flowering from conformity and discipleship, and of good work bursting out from certain centres of explosive force – apparently self-originating force – which we call men of genius.
Now the New Testament has nothing at all to tell us of literature. I know that there are some who like to think of Our Lord Himself as a poet and cite the parables to support their view. I admit freely that to believe in the Incarnation at all is to believe that every mode of human excellence is implicit in His historical human character; poethood, of course, included. But if all had been developed, the limitation is a single human life would have been transcended and He would not have been a man; therefore all excellences save the spiritual remained in varying degrees implicit.
Christian Reflections. Copyright © 1967 by The Executors of the Estate of C. S. Lewis. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. The Business of Heaven. Editing of this collection and preface by Walter Hooper. Copyright © 1984 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.