C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters prompted me to compose Wormwood’s Correspondence by way of a response. Screwtape was cast as a senior demon, and Wormwood as his youthful nephew. My wife and I lived for four years overlooking the Hinnom Valley in Jerusalem, which is thought to provide the imagery concerning hell—since it was here that trash was disposed. If so, the prime implication would seem to be that it provides an accommodation for those who no longer serve the purpose for which they were created.
So it was I imagined that when searching for artifacts from the past, I came across a collection of Wormwood’s replies. The following serves as a case in point.
* * *
Dear Uncle Screwtape,
Some time has passed since I received the last of your correspondence. Thus alerting me to the fact that you have been otherwise engaged. Moreover, that you may assume that I have matured sufficiently to carry on the task assigned to me, along with what assistance can be derived from others of our demonic company.
Granted, I have not always been successful. The Enemy is a formidable protagonist, and his followers are often relentless in the pursuit of righteousness. Not uncommonly, it has seemed best not to promote flagrant opposition, but to focus a person’s attention on the lesser good—a topic I hope to address in greater detail in the future. That is, employing their vocabulary, since what they consider good is despised in our privileged circle.
I am sorry to report that my patient has not returned to our fold, but I have seen to it that his testimony has been seriously compromised. For instance, he and his mother were never able to work out the tensions in their relationship. Their attempts at reconciliation proved to be ineffective. Others took notice of this, and were discouraged from joining the camp of the Adversary.
In particular, I have focused my attention on restoring chaos to a world threatened by divine order. I’m not sure you recall that "the earth was formless and empty," and "darkness was over the surface of the deep" (Gen. 1:2). Qualifications aside, it was an ideal situation.
However, the Enemy would not leave well enough alone, and went about bringing order out of chaos. This resulted in a proliferation of life, eventuating in the obnoxious addition of humans. Then adding insult to injury, he had the audacity of declaring the results very good.
They say that every cloud has a silver lining, and that proved to be the case in this instance. Humans asserted their rightful prerogatives, only to be ejected from their so-called paradise. Which was obviously a misnomer, since they had to put up with the domineering Adversary.
Relatively free to fend for themselves, chaos returned. As in the wake of warfare, so that "the earth was formless and empty" (Jer. 4:23). Consequently, it was a pleasure to behold.
In this regard, I was aware that even small changes in original conditions can lead to disproportionate results. Moreover, the human initiative was not a minor consideration, given mankind’s supervision of creation.
It remained to foster chaos at every turn in the road. In the realm of nature, as with what is said to be natural disasters. So also in the realm of social relationships, as in the above instance. Whenever and by whatever means are available.
All things considered, my commitment to chaos has not wavered. As such, I am eminently deserving of anticipated rewards. Not simply for sowing disorder, but attributing it to the inability or unwillingness of the Almighty.
Not that we can rest from our labors. As you have pointed out, although we relish warfare, the Enemy not uncommonly uses it to initiate or restore relationships with humans. Accordingly, we must point out the incongruity between the alleged claim as to divine prerogatives and man’s experience in a gloriously fallen world.
Along with the assurance that humans can in and of themselves achieve great things. Or, if not, to make the best of a difficult situation. Not of their own doing, but forced on them by an uncompassionate deity. With the result that they relegate the Adversary to the past, as no longer an option for man come of age.
No doubt, the best is yet to come. The universe will not survive, and humans will not be around to witness its end. Assuming that the report of hell is true, it will be a preferable place to spend eternity. With this in mind,
I remain your devoted nephew,