Questions on C.S. Lewis, Necessary Beings, and Accommodating Culture

Reasonable Faith

Dr. Craig fields questions on the imagination, Leibniz, the Trinity, advice on going into the ministry, and how Christianity should accommodate the culture.

KEVIN HARRIS: Dr Craig, we’ve been busy taking some questions from some groups on Facebook – Christian Apologetics Alliance. Chris says,

C. S. Lewis wrote that he believed stories could “steal past a certain inhibition which had paralysed much of my own religion in childhood . . . Could one not thus steal past those watchful dragons?” I am curious what Bill’s take is on this kind of imaginative apologetics. Have we overlooked capturing a person’s imagination in helping them want Christianity to be true along with providing reasons and evidence for it?

DR. CRAIG: This issue came up at the conference that I participated in in Westminster Abbey on the 50th anniversary of Lewis’ death two years ago. I refer Chris to the videos of that conference as well as the book that is forthcoming based on it. I would really agree with him that imaginative apologetics is something that is valuable and important, but it is just not my calling. I think there is a division of labor, and I have chosen to work upon theism and the historicity of certain events in the life of Jesus. So I haven’t worked in areas like film and poetry and fantasy and so forth, but I am all for those who are working in those areas. We have a different calling, and the body of Christ is gifted in such a way that different people can take different approaches.

KEVIN HARRIS: Michael asks,

If we apply a Leibnizian question to God and ask “Why is there God rather than nothing?” the response would be because God is a necessary being – he cannot not exist. But why is there a necessary being rather than no being? Isn’t it simpler to have no being rather than a necessary being? What determines the necessity of the being?

DR. CRAIG: I don’t think that Michael has really grasped the notion of a self-existent being. This is a being which is such that if it is possible then it exists necessarily. The question “Why is there a necessary being rather than nothing” is a meaningless question. God’s nature is such that if he is possible then he exists. There isn’t any further question as to why there is a necessary being. God exists by a necessity of his own nature.

KEVIN HARRIS: He asks a second question:

Can we somehow derive the concept that God is tri-personal from his ontology? There does have to be more than one person in order for love to be manifested between them, but why three persons? Why not two or four?[

DR. CRAIG: I am inclined to agree with Thomas Aquinas on the Trinity – that this is a revealed truth based on Scripture and not one that you discover by natural reason. I think he is right that you can give plausibility arguments for there being a plurality of persons in God based upon the essential character of love – to give oneself to another. As he says, that will get you two persons in the deity, but it wouldn’t get you exactly three. So I don’t see that as something that we can derive deductively from the fact that God exists…

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Questions on C.S. Lewis, Necessary Beings, and Accommodating Culture | Reasonable Faith