Evil can be undone, but it cannot ‘develop’ into good. Time does not heal it. The spell must be unwound, bit by bit, ‘with backward mutters of dessevering power’–or else not. It is still ‘either-or’. If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.
I think earth, if chosen instead of Heaven, will turn out to have been, all along, only a region in Hell: and earth, if put second to Heaven, to have been from the beginning a part of Heaven itself.
The Great Divorce Preface, C. S. Lewis
The attempt (to marry Heaven and Hell in this life) is based on the belief that reality never presents us with an absolutely unavoidable ‘either-or’: that, granted skill and patience and (above all) time enough, some way of embracing both alternatives can always be found; that mere development or adjustment or refinement will somehow turn evil into good without our being called on for a final and total rejection of anything we should like to retain. This belief I take to be a disastrous error. You cannot take all luggage with you on all journeys…
The Great Divorce Preface, by C. S. Lewis
No! There is no escape! There is no heaven with a little of hell in it–no plan to retain this or that of the devil in our hearts or our pockets. Out Satan must go, every hair and feather.
— George MacDonald, in The Great Divorce (A Dream)
C.S. Lewis: It must be understood that my conversion at that point was only to theism pure and simple. I knew nothing yet about the incarnation. The God to whom I surrendered was sheerly non-human.