I found that the first chapter of Engaging God’s World related very well to our reading from C.S. Lewis today. In his essay, Lewis points out that people are often willing to go against their own sense of morality in order to obtain some promise of happiness, security, and love. Plantinga expands on this idea in talking about the longing which causes us to do unexpected things in pursuit of a goal. He uses the German word sehnsucht, meaning searching or yearning to describe this type of longing. According to Plantinga, all longing – be it for a long hike in the wilderness, love and romance, wealth, or acceptance in a particular social group – is at its root, for the God who made us. He says,
God has made us for himself. Our sense of God runs in us like a stream, even though we divert it toward other objects. We human beings want God even when we think that what we really want is a green valley, or a good time from the past, or a loved one.
Plantinga addresses what I think C.S. Lewis is alluding to towards the end of his essay, “We Have No ‘Right to Happiness.’” Lewis is suggesting that while sexual happiness promises to provide us with lifelong happiness and worth, this promise is empty. Plantinga directly states that we will never find what we are truly seeking by worldly means. He tells us that we will only find our joy, strength, and security in God our Creator. Plantinga also points out that this intense longing, this sehnsucht, is the root of all hope. Our longing for God brings about our hope for a renewed world. We desperately and simply hope for the bringing about of shalom in our own lives and in all of Creation surrounding us. We aspire to see things made right and to see them in the way God intended for them to be.