Defend the Faith Like C.S. Lewis, Part 2

C.S. Lewis used several lines of reasoning to make the case for the Christian worldview. Two of them are explored in this article.

by Robert Velarde

A-Sword-for-AslanAs I mentioned in part one of this article, C.S. Lewis used abductive reasoning to argue that the Christian explanation of reality — the Christian worldview — is more reasonable and probable than the alternatives. (Recall that abductive reasoning is similar to reasoning used by scientists in that it uses reasonable evidence to come to the best explanation.)

Now I’ll take a closer look at two of Lewis’ key arguments that use abductive reasoning:

1.)The argument from Christ

2.)The argument from longing

God or a Poached Egg?

Jesus once asked his disciples, “Who do people say I am?” After hearing a few replies, he put forth a more pointed and personal question: “‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?'” (Mark 8:27-29).

In exploring the alternatives regarding the claims of Christ, Lewis used abductive reasoning to conclude that the most probable explanation is that Jesus is who He said He was. In Mere Christianity, Lewis provides a brief presentation of his argument: “I’m trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.”

Beyond some biblical hints at such reasoning (John 8:48-49 and John 10:33), the core of this argument goes back to Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 263-339), who outlined it in Demonstratio Evangelica (“Proof of the Gospel”). Lewis popularized the argument in Mere Christianity. Since then, several apologists have expanded it to include other alternatives beyond the traditional “Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?” options. Based on the evidence and the truth of the Bible, these apologists, like Lewis, conclude that the most reasonable explanation is that Jesus is who He claimed to be…


Defend the Faith Like C.S. Lewis, Part 2

The Poached Egg

Recommended Resources:The Chronicles of Narnia | The Great Divorce | Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life | The Screwtape Letters