Adventures of the Mind
Theologians have sometimes asked whether we shall ‘know one another’ in Heaven, and whether the particular love-relations worked out on earth would then continue to have any significance. It seems reasonable to reply: ‘It may depend what kind of love it had become, or was becoming, on earth.’ For surely, to meet in the eternal world someone for whom your love in this, however strong, had been merely natural, would not be (on that ground) even interesting. Would it not be like meeting in adult life someone who had seemed to be a great friend at your preparatory school solely because of common interests and occupations? If there was nothing more, if he was not a kindred soul, he will now be a total stranger. Neither of you now plays conkers. You no longer want to swop your help with his French exercise for his help with your arithmetic. In Heaven, I suspect, a love that had never embodied Love Himself would be equally irrelevant. For Nature has passed away. All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.
Divine Gift-love in the man enables him to love what is not naturally lovable; lepers, criminals, enemies, morons, the sulky, the superior and the sneering. Finally, by a high paradox, God enables men to have a Gift-love towards Himself. There is of course a sense in which no one can give to God anything which is not already His; and if it is already His, what have you given? But since it is only too obvious that we can withhold ourselves, our wills and hearts, from God, we can, in that sense, also give them. What is His by right and would not exist for a moment if it ceased to be His (as the song is the singer’s), He has nevertheless made ours in such a way that we can freely offer it back to Him. ‘Our wills are ours to make them Thine.’ And as all Christians know there is another way of giving to God; every stranger whom we feed or clothe is Christ. And this apparently is Gift-love to God whether we know it or not. Love Himself can work in those who know nothing of Him. The ‘sheep’ in the parable had no idea either of the God hidden in the prisoner whom they visited or of the God hidden in themselves when they made the visit. (I take the whole parable to be about the judgment of the heathen. For it begins by saying, in the Greek, that the Lord will summon all ‘the nations’ before Him – presumably, the Gentiles, the Goyim.)
On this page two quotations; what Divine Gift Love, charity, enables man to be and do, and Lewis's take on the question of
Men are that they might have joy, which joy comes when at last we find He is no stranger. (An extension to 2 Nephi 2:25)