A Few Notes on C. S. Lewis and Science
by Greg Cootsona
As I read him, Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963), probably the most famous Christian apologist of the 20th century, presented a four-step apologetic. I want to note in what ways this apologetic engages science with Christian faith. Though the final step argues that Jesus is God—which is not strictly speaking a scientific concern—the first three steps confronted the scientifically based philosophy of his early 20th century Oxford. I could also argue that they resonate into 21st century American culture as well.
But I’ll restrain myself on that last point. Instead, let me outline those first three steps:
1. First of all, there is more to the world than just material stuff. Materialism (that there is just brute matter) is in fact self-defeating because, if we are pure materialists, rational thinking is impossible. Lewis’s book Miracles principally presents this apologetic, but it is scattered throughout his writings, especially in the ‘40s.
2. Human beings seek something that this world cannot satisfy, which points to a God beyond this world. “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” This argument appears in The Problem of Pain and in “The Weight of Glory.”
3. There is a Law or Rule about Right and Wrong (or the Law of Nature, or even natural law) that exists in all human beings and points to the God created that law within us. Lewis developed this apologetic in his opening Broadcast Talks for BBC, which became the first section or “book” of Mere Christianity, as well as his 1943 Riddell lectures later published as The Abolition of Man.
Let’s look at #2 for a moment: Lewis’s argument from Joy or desire…
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