February 20, 2019 Eric Blauer

Barren Wombs and Cold Marriages

Provocative thoughts on Sexuality, Marriage, Childbearing, and Contraception in the writings of C.S. Lewis

I’ve been struck by these provocative passages in the writings of C.S. Lewis regarding marriage, birth, contraception, and chastity. They touch on sensitive subjects, but I think we need to seriously think about in this culture.

In today’s Western culture morality, sexuality, marriage, biology, and gender are being reshaped by Pharoah’s magicians. The Secular State has produced increased economic hurdles to marriage and continues to prescribe anti-creation ideologies and philosophies through the Public Education System that are shaping a generation to embrace non-procreative sexualities.

Sex education is increasingly an anti-marriage, pro-contraception and abortion platform that has normalized a life of indentured servitude to self, sex, success, and money. We are living in a moment when the “civil” masks that Abortion has worn for the last decades are being proudly removed and the hideous reality of its intentions and actions are being celebrated by the deceived and the godless.

This has produced a growing mass of the brainwashed and debt-enslaved among the emerging generations, resulting in a prolonged childhood and adolescence phase going way pass what use to be considered and expected as adulthood. Too many are sidestepping the traditional life stages of maturity that used to force through necessity, men and women to grow up, support themselves and others and devote their lives to the needs and betterment of the next generation.

Colossians 2:8 warns Christians: 
See to it that nobody enslaves you with philosophy and foolish deception, which conform to human traditions and the way the world thinks and acts rather than Christ.

Lewis tackles these ‘philosophies’ in his writings from many different angles. He attempts to challenge the worldly presuppositions and conclusions of these arguments and works to equip thinking Christians with solid reasoning and truth.

We would do well to examine our own thinking regarding marriage, procreation, contraception, and abortion. Making sure that we are not passing along the same type of thinking and actions that build a type of tomorrow that undermines the Biblical values and beliefs we say we believe in.

I understand that there are sins, sorrows, and sufferings connected with many people’s personal stories. Our fears, failures or frustrations are real and require pastoral care and personal growth and healing. But the overall cultural issues must still be addressed and what is wrong or harmful has to be exposed to prevent those we love from following our own paths or falling into the trap of the enemy of their souls. If you are someone who is struggling with infertility, post-abortion trauma, sexual abuse or some other related matter, I want you to discover the healing, grace, and forgiveness of God. To be sustained by His wisdom and comfort through your trials or blossom into a satisfied life that has embraced and submitted to the limitations of His sovereignty.

These issues are discussed not to shame or exalt a reality of living that you may or may not be able to experience at this time, but are intended to equip us to escape error and thrive in life as the flourishing people God intends us to become in soul, home and community.

That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis:
“The Stranger mused for a few seconds; then, speaking in a slightly sing-song voice, as though he repeated an old lesson, he asked, in two Latin hexameters, the following question:

“Who is called Sulva? What road does she walk? Why is the womb barren on one side? Where are the cold marriages?”

Ransom replied, “Sulva is she whom mortals call the Moon. She walks in the lowest sphere. The rim of the world that was wasted goes through her. Half of her orb is turned toward us and shares our curse. Her other half looks to Deep Heaven; happy would be he who could cross that frontier and see the fields on her further side. On this side, the womb is barren and the marriages are cold. There dwell an accursed people, full of pride and lust. There when a young man takes a maiden in marriage, they do not lie together, but each lies with a cunningly fashioned image of the other, made to move and to be warm by devilish arts, for real flesh will not please them, they are so dainty (delicati) in their dreams of lust. Their real children they fabricate by vile arts in a secret place.”

Shortly after this, when the others in the house meet Merlin, the following discourse occurs:

… the Stranger [Merlin] was speaking and pointing at her [Jane] as he spoke.

She did not understand the words; but Dimble did, and heard Merlin saying in what seemed to him a rather strange kind of Latin:

“Sir, you have in your house the falsest lady of any at this time alive.”

And Dimble heard the Director answer him in the same language:

“Sir, you are mistaken. She is doubtless like all of us a sinner; but the woman is chaste.”

“Sir,” said Merlin, “know well that she has done in Logres [England] a thing of which no less sorrow shall come than came of ‘the stroke that Balinus struck’. For, Sir, it was the purpose of God that she and her lord should between them have begotten a child by whom the enemies should have been put out of Logres for a thousand years.”

“She is but lately married,” said Ransom. “The child may yet be born.”

“Sir,” said Merlin, “be assured that the child will never be born, for the hour of its begetting is passed. Of their own will they are barren: I did not know till now that the usages of Sulva were so common among you. For a hundred generations in two lines the begetting of this child was prepared; and unless God should rip up the work of time, such seed, and such an hour, in such a land, shall never be again.”

“Enough said,” answered Ransom. “The woman perceives that we are speaking of her.”

“It would be great charity,” said Merlin, “if you gave order that her head should be cut from her shoulders; for it is a weariness to look at her.”

…[Dimble] thrust Jane behind him and called out,

“Ransom! What in Heaven’s name is the meaning of this?”

“…And his appalling bloodthirstiness.”

“I have been startled by it myself,” said Ransom. “But after all we had no right to expect that his penal code would be that of the Nineteenth Century.”

…”The Pendragon tells me,” [Merlin] said in his unmoved voice, ” that you accuse me for a fierce and cruel man. It is a charge I never heard before. A third part of my substance I gave to widows and poor men. I never sought the death of any but felons and heathen Saxons. As for the woman, she may live for me. I am not Master in this house. But would it be such a great matter if her head were struck off?”

Two chapters later, Merlin is asking if they can’t enlist the Christian kings and knights of the day in their fight against “That Hideous Strength,” and Ransom informs him, quite prophetically, of our present reality:

Ransom shook his head. “You do not understand,” he said, “The poison was brewed in these West lands but it has spat itself everywhere by now. However far you went you would find the machines, the crowded cities, the empty thrones, the false writings, the barren beds; men maddened with false promises and soured with true miseries, worshipping the iron works of their own hands, cut off from the Earth their mother and from the Father in Heaven. You might go East so far that East become West and you returned to Britain across the great Ocean, but even so you would not have come out anywhere into the light. The shadow of one dark wing is over all Tellus.”

“Is it then the end?” asked Merlin.

The Pilgrim’s Regress by C.S. Lewis:
Mr. Sensible:
“That wild impulse must be tasted, not obeyed. The bees have stings, but we rob them of their honey. To hold all that urgent sweetness to our lips in the cup of one perfect moment, missing no faintest ingredient in the flavour of its µονόχρονος ἡδονή(fleeting pleasure), yet ourselves, in a sense, unmoved—this is the true art. This tames in the service of the reasonable life even those pleasures whose loss might seem to be the heaviest, yet necessary, price we paid for rationality. Is it an audacity to hint that for the corrected palate the taste of the draught even owes its last sweetness to the knowledge that we have wrested it from an unwilling source? To cut off pleasures from the consequences and conditions which they have by nature, detaching, as it were, the precious phrase from its irrelevant context, is what distinguishes the man from the brute and the citizen from the savage.

I cannot join with those moralists who inveigh(vigorously denounce) against the Roman emetics* in their banquets: still less with those who would forbid the even more beneficent contraceptive devices of our later times. That man who can eat as taste, not nature, prompts him and yet fear no aching belly, or who can indulge in Venus and fear no impertinent bastard, is a civilized man. In him I recognize Urbanity—the note of the centre.’

[Roman emetics: It has been traditionally believed that the Romans would eat to excess, purge themselves, and then eat again. By approving of Roman emetics and modern contraceptives, Mr. Sensible suggests that one may seek physical pleasure without bearing the natural consequences.]

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, p. 49:
“Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues. There is no getting away from it: the old Christian rule is, “Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.” Now this is so difficult and so contrary to our instincts, that obviously either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong. One or the other. Of course, being a Christian, I think it is the instinct which has gone wrong. But I have other reasons for thinking so. The biological purpose of sex is children, just as the biological purpose of eating is to repair the body. Now if we eat whenever we feel inclined and just as much as we want, it is quite true that most of us will eat too much: but not terrifically too much. One man may eat enough for two, but he does not eat enough for ten. The appetite goes a little beyond its biological purpose, but not enormously. But if a healthy young man indulged his sexual appetite whenever he felt inclined, and if each act produced a baby, then in ten years he might easily populate a small village. This appetite is in ludicrous and preposterous excess of its function.”

So Who was “Balinus” and what was “the stroke that Balinus struck?Balinus (Balin) was a would-be knight of King Arthur’s Court. At one point in the legend, he sets out to avenge a man slain by an invisible knight traveling under his protection. The villain turns out to be the brother of the Grail King Pellam, and Balin kills him at a feast in Pellam’s castle. Pellam goes to avenge his brother, shattering one of Balin’s swords. Balin then goes from room to room in the castle to find another weapon. Though a voice warns him not to, he enters the room where the Holy Grail and the lance used to pierce our Lord was kept. Balin seizes the lance and runs the weapon through both of Pellam’s thighs. This “Dolorous Stroke” maims Pellam, and turns the Grail kingdom of Logres into a barren land for years to come – the curse for using this sacred spear as a weapon.

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About the Author

Eric Blauer I am barbarian, sage, saint, bard, husband and father. Bow my knee to only One, serve all, ruled by none.

Comment (1)

  1. In the first Fictional story, Merlin wants to bring judgment on Jane because in her marriage she has used contraceptives and prevented a child that was to be born that would have been critical in the fight against evil. He is speaking in the modern world as a premodern would of thought about her desire to prevent children from being born. It’s an intense piece of prose that pits the idea of what worth is she now if her actions may have destroyed the world. It’s a weighty contemplation on the impact of choosing to stop life, to try to control nature.

    In the second, “Mr. Sensible” is saying stuff that seems sensible from a worldy mind. The idea that one can ‘Rob Bees of their honey and avoid the stinger”. That is the lie in all attempts to avoid consequences that God and nature intended to have in place. As he says it: “To cut off pleasures from the consequences”. Such is the temptation presented to us from Mr. Sensible in our pilgrim way. His use of the Roman’s feasting and then vomiting up what they consumed, so they can consume more is a shocking image that captures our madness. There are even more goodies in that chapter.

    The Mere Christianity passage is easier to understand because it is a nonfiction book but it is still a provocative passage that pushes against the modern mind.

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