Who Invented the Pleasure of Peanut Brittle & Stuff Like Sex?

I recall a humorous conversation we had at work a couple days back about peanut brittle, and all sorts of Christmas and holiday candies, cookies and seasonal delights, and of course spirits of sorts… all possibly being of Satanic origin, and likely concocted and manufactured by Lucifer himself in the bowels of hell itself. “No doubt he and his henchmen are working overtime turning out vats of elixirs and potions and notions, and boxcar loads of the sweet savory stuff in preparation for fattening up hordes of unsuspecting and nonresistant victims during this rapidly approaching holiday season…”

It is so blasted hard to “Just Say No!” to these simple tasty pleasures, and to be good and to do good when faced with such delectable delights, especially for me at this early time of the year… Great Horny Toads! I love the holidays! I am thankful! I love my childhood memories! My mother claimed she could not make candy but for some reason I remember her many valiant and successful attempts during my childhood. And here we are today, not even close to Thanksgiving, and SAMs, et al, are packed with shortbread cookies, and imported chocolates, and dainty morsels from places I cannot even pronounce. 

But then in great comfort to salve my guilty aching conscience (and swollen gut) over a weekend failure with my personal nemesis, peanut brittle, I recalled my friend CS Lewis, and the insightful wit and wisdom he gives us, as he draws back the curtain upon how the tempters of our flesh may really work in their diabolical ways of twisting and distorting that which is created “very good”. Below I quote Screwtape as he counsels his underling demon, Wormwood, of the dangers that lurk inherent when a fledging Christian begins to be “tempted” yet to know, to experience, to enjoy and to understand pleasure as a gift to be moderated, and not an affliction to be avoided. For true pleasure in its pure form and proper use can only originate from a good Creator God, and this Screwtape must acknowledge. Pleasure is a good gift which comes down from above, from the Father of lights.

As as sidebar illustration, one has well said, Adam and Eve are the only two individuals who have ever lived who knew unhindered, untainted marital bliss for they lived in union prior to the entry of sin’s blight of self-seeking misery after one’s own sinful pleasure. Go with that where you might, but it sounds reasonable to me. Sex “post-Fall” has always been tainted by sin, (I reference our natures and not the specific act in marriage), and could never be fully enjoyed to the complete God-given capacity as the gift was intended when first given. ( I know… this is deep water of a speculative sort, but it seems well founded to me.)

A believer armed with this knowledge of the enemy tactics is a threat to the tempter’s diabolical purposes of distortion, which has been the plan of the “father below” from time immortal. “Hath God said…” His perversion of true pleasures contrary to divine design is what is at stake. That is his game plan. It always has been. When believers begin to see and understand that joy is their right, and their Heavenly Father’s desire for His children, a new confidence and expectation of good from God becomes normative. We fear God, but we fear Him in love and hope with gladness of heart. All is lost to the tempters once true believers comprehend that in their Father’s “right hand are pleasures forever more.” 

Follow Lewis… and stand in the brilliance of his argument or the point he makes from the other side! Some folk we are reminded to continually thank God for, and I suppose almost daily. In some way I rejoice daily in what this Irishman did to change my world in the gospel as he enlarges my understanding of God in the world. 

Uncle Screwtape:

“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s (God’s) ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His (God’s) invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which he has forbidden…. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula…. To get a man’s soul and give him nothing in return—that’s what really gladdens Our Father’s heart.”

Uncle Screwtape to Wormwood in “The Screwtape Letters”

CS Lewis

For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand outside…” Psalm 84

Joy in Loving God and Loving Stuff… 

Luke 16:15 (NASB)And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”

Jesus

I think it important to distinguish between essential evil and idolatry. It is uncommon for a “thing” (anything) to touch and embrace essential evil or evil incarnate. Abominations are evil. We know they exist, and maybe we struggle with a few or more… By the contrary and confusing standard of stupid legalism Asceticism is deceptive and attracts the flesh in a perverse religious way as it enhances the illusion of righteousness… self-righteousness. That’s worth a lot in the “wood, hay, stubble” category. Stuff is generally neither an abomination in origin or essence. Stay with me please.

“All things are lawful to me but I will not be mastered by anything. All things are lawful… not all are profitable…not all edify…” (1 Corth 10) Yet, something greater is at stake. There is a greater governing principle a serious-minded Christ-follower must be confronted by. The Pharisee of all ages (times) refuses the greater principle as his preference is pleasure over glory to God. 

Idolatry is that which catapults a thing or thought to supersede beyond its boundary and into the arena of interference with foundational love for God by a subtle or overt attachment to the hidden heart. All such encumbering weights corrupt worship and are therefore detestable in God’s sight. Everything is on the table in such cases. Everything. Anything can be a help or hinderance. Take this iPhone for example…

The really strange thing is that all (most) things morphed to the detestable idol category in God’s eyes are okay and often essential things in their proper sphere. They certainly are permissible when used and even loved in proper context. God has provided to us all things in their proper place. He is the Giver of every good and perfect gift from above. (Spend time with the Preacher in Ecclesiastes for clarity… or confusion.)

Jack speaks to this in the Screwtape Letters.

Screwtape to Wormwood:

“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made all the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable.” 

#CSLewis
Conclusion:

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB)

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

  Herein lies not only a safety net but a driving principle of glory to a higher calling to Another’s standard and perspective that ensures joy without condemnation. 

We need never neglect the cross as the instrument of death that Jesus embraced for us and that He subsequently calls us to daily carry with Him.