I am continuing to re-make my way slowly through Mere Christianity
by C.S. Lewis. It is great reading. If you have never read it, Christian or not, I highly recommend it. The section I have quoted below comes from book 2, chapter one, “The Rival Conceptions of God. n it he briefly shows how atheism is irrational because it is self-refuting. Note: Mere Christianity is divided into four books but please don’t let that discourage you from reading it. Each chapter is very short because they were all initially brief radio addresses made during W.W. Two.
For Christianity is a fighting religion. It thinks God made the world—that space and time, heat and cold, and all the colours and tastes, and all the animals and vegetables, are things that God ‘made up out of His head’ as a man makes up a story. But it also thinks that a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that God insists, and insists very loudly, on our putting them right again. And, of course, that raises a very big question. If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong? And for many years I simply refused to listen to the Christian answers to this question, because I kept on feeling ‘whatever you say, and however clever your arguments are, isn’t it much simpler and easier to say that the world was not made by any intelligent power? Aren’t all your arguments simply a complicated attempt to avoid the obvious?’ But then that threw me back into another difficulty. My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too—for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless—I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality—namely my idea of justice—was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.
Lewis, C. S.. Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (pp. 37-39). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Over the weekend I decided to re-read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. It has been very rewarding. At the end of chapter 4, “What Lies Behind The Law,” after explaining the Materialist view and the Religious view, Lewis adds an excerpt on the In-between view called Life-Force philosophy, or Creative Evolution. The moment I read it I thought to myself that it is a perfect explanation of our society today though written 70 years ago.
The wittiest expositions of it [Life-Force philosophy] come in the works of Bernard Shaw, but the most profound ones in those of Bergson. People who hold this view say that the small variations by which life on this planet ‘evolved’ from the lowest forms to Man were not due to chance but to the ‘striving’ or ‘purposiveness’ of a Life-Force. When people say this we must ask them whether by Life-Force they mean something with a mind or not. If they do, then ‘a mind bringing life into existence and leading it to perfection’ is really a God, and their view is thus identical with the Religious. If they do not, then what is the sense in saying that something without a mind ‘strives’ or has ‘purposes’? This seems to me fatal to their view. One reason why many people find Creative Evolution so attractive is that it gives one much of the emotional comfort of believing in God and none of the less pleasant consequences. When you are feeling fit and the sun is shining and you do not want to believe that the whole universe is a mere mechanical dance of atoms, it is nice to be able to think of this great mysterious Force rolling on through the centuries and carrying you on its crest. If, on the other hand, you want to do something rather shabby, the Life-Force, being only a blind force, with no morals and no mind, will never interfere with you like that troublesome God we learned about when we were children. The Life-Force is a sort of tame God. You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you. All the thrills of religion and none of the cost. Is the Life-Force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has yet seen?
Lewis, C. S.. Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (pp. 26-27). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
This upcoming Monday I am speaking in front of a group of college kids trying to answer the question, “Why is God invisible?” in studying for it I have been reading a number of systematic theology textbooks. In Practical Christian Theology by Floyd H. Barackman I came across this excellent reminder that is all too easy to forget:
Remembering our creaturehood, let us reverently seek to understand what God is and the kind of nature He has. Only the Holy Spirit can illuminate our hearts through the Scriptures regarding this deep truth, yet whatever He is pleased to teach us will be only a small part of what God is. If God were understood easily and fully, then He would be little more than what we are. But because He is limitless, we shall be learning about Him throughout eternity, as the experience of the holy angels indicates (Eph. 3:10; 1 Peter 1:10-12). However, it is important for us now to be learning all that is revealed about God.
Steve Cornell over at WisdomForLife has some good thoughts on perhaps the most well known words of Jesus – “Judge not, lest you be judged.” But what did Jesus mean by that? Was he forbidding any and all judgments? I believe Steve Cornell is right that Jesus condemned hypocritical judging. Read his thoughts about it by following this link – http://tinyurl.com/qbsutfv
Nate Saint (fellow missionary of Jim Elliott):
And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives…and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.
Well, I think it is time for another quote from the ever quotable C.H. Spurgeon and this one is a doozy:
Is it a pleasure to you to think of Christ? Do you so love Him, is He so comely in your esteem, that you delight to think of him? Do you frequently think of Christ, just as often as you think of those you love?…Have you a passion for Christ?…Do you think of Christ joyfully?…Do you think of Christ, desiring still nearer access and a clearer view of Him, sighing out with a sacred love-sickness, “O that I were with him where he is, or that he were with me where I am?”…Do you think of him with an ardent wish to be conformed to His image, saying, “Gracious Savior, make me like thyself [yourself]?’ Do you think of Him with practical love, so that you help his cause, (care) for his poor people, proclaim his truth, aid his church, and pity sinners for whom he shed his blood? Do thoughts of Jesus keep you back from sin, and incite you in the paths of holiness for his name’s sake? …What think you of Christ?
- He plants doubts and lies (Gen. 3)
- He fights against your faith (Eph. 6:12)
- He will tempt you with sexual immorality (1 Cor. 7:5)
- He will try to cause disunity amongst Christians (Mt. 13:38-39; 2 Cor. 11:13-15)
- He will slander you before God (Rev. 12:10)
- He will try to take you down through pride (1 Pet. 5:6-8)
- He will persecute you for your faith (Rev. 2:10)
- He will try to cripple your faith through fear (2 Cor. 4:8-9)
- He will try to sidetrack you with worldly things (1 John 2:15-16)
Click here for further explanation of each point.