Screwtape Letter #19 – Questions

Letter #19

Screwtape seems to be losing it.



My dear Wormwood,

I have been thinking very hard about the question in your last letter. … I hope, my dear boy, you have not shown my letters to anyone. … And, of course, some things I said about not shielding you from the authorities were not seriously meant. You can trust me to look after your interests. But do keep everything under lock and key.

19.1) Before, when we talked about Screwtape losing it, it was in terms of his tirade against God in Letter #14. That had to do with “The Enemy’s” love for us:

For we must never forget what is the most repellent and inexplicable trait in our Enemy; He really loves the hairless bipeds He has created and always gives back to them with His right hand what He has taken away with His left.

Now we see Screwtape trying to “take care of” the issue.

Compare the way he responds to (a) the way we often respond and (b) the way God would like us to respond.





The truth is I slipped by mere carelessness into saying that the Enemy really loves the humans. That, of course, is an impossibility. … And there lies the great task. … Yet we must never lose hope; more and more complicated theories, fuller and fuller collections of data, richer rewards for researchers who make progress, more and more terrible punishments for those who fail—all this, pursued and accelerated to the very end of time, cannot, surely, fail to succeed.

19.2) Screwtape’s logic now begins to reveal much about us.

While much has been “revealed”, will it be understood?

Relate this to when Jesus says -“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”


(BTW – in case you hadn’t noticed it yet, it’s not a coincidence that the color of Screwtape’s words are so close to the color of Jesus’ words. For anyone who is colorblind – Screwtape is in pink text like this and Jesus is in red text like this.)





You complain that my last letter does not make it clear whether I regard being in love as a desirable state for a human or not. But really, Wormwood, that is the sort of question one expects them to ask! … This belief is not much help, I grant you, in producing casual unchastity; but it is an incomparable recipe for prolonged, ‘noble’, romantic, tragic adulteries, ending, if all goes well, in murders and suicides.

19.3) Screwtape’s going to say there is no answer – but why should that stop him from giving one?

It would seem that Screwtape does have an answer for the unanswerable question.

It also seems that Wormwood is possibly beginning to see that his mentor, Uncle Screwtape, isn’t really as helpful as he would have liked. Wormwood has also at least been exposed to the inconsistencies from his “affectionate” uncle.

But that doesn’t mean Wormwood is following through the logic (or lack if) and the inconsistencies presented to him. What about us humans?

Keeping in mind our previous discussion of the passage below from Isaiah, how can some of these things we are learning be used as reasoning against their Father Below?

Isa 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,”
           says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
          they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
          they shall be like wool.
Isa 1:19 If you are willing and obedient,
          you will eat the best from the land;
Isa 1:20 but if you resist and rebel,
          you will be devoured by the sword.”
                    For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.





Failing that, it can be used to steer the patient into a useful marriage. For marriage, though the Enemy’s invention, has its uses. … Like most of the other things which humans are excited about, such as health and sickness, age and youth, or war and peace, it is, from the point of view of the spiritual life, mainly raw material,

Your affectionate uncle


19.4) Screwtape continues to answer the question that has no answer.

We see more indication that Wormwood isn’t quite convinced of the things Screwtape is telling him. Even to this little devil in training – things aren’t seeming to sink in quite as well as hoped. Guess that’s why mentoring – even for the devils – is important.

Sounds like another life lesson for us. What can we learn from this and how can we use it to God’s advantage?








none for this letter. 


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