C. S. Lewis

The writings of C. S. Lewis have been some of my most treasured resources for over 50 years, so this beginning collection of references and quotes is not representative.

Abolition of Man

San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001

"a conclusion in the imperative mood out of premises in the indicative mood: and though he continues trying to all eternity he cannot succeed, for the thing is impossible."

[Lennox cites this on p101 of Gunning for God as a part of a discussion of Hume's "is to ought" dilemma, where Hume has continued to try to give ethics a naturalistic base.]

Appendix: Points out that law codes across civilizations and throughout history (Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, Ancient Indian, Chinese, etc.) reveal a continual resurfacing of the same basic moral standards - do not murder, commit adultery, break promises, take another's property, bear false testimony, or defraud. pp83-101.

Mere Christianity

New York: Macmillan, 1943.
"I am not angry - except perhaps for a moment before I come to my senses - with a man who trips me up by accident; I am angry with a man who tries to trip me up even if he does not succeed. Yet the first has hurt me and the second has not. Sometimes the behavior which I call bad is not inconvenient to me at all, but the very opposite." p28

Miracles

London, Fontana, 1974
"If all that exists is Nature, the great mindless interlocking event, if our own deepest convictions are merely the by-products of an irrational process, then clearly there is not the slightest ground for supposing that our sense of fitness and our consequent faith in uniformity tell us anything about a reality external to ourselves. Our convictions are simply a fact about us - like the colour of our hair. If Naturalism is true we have no reason to trust our conviction that Nature is uniform. It can be trusted only if quite a different metaphysic is true. If the deepest thing in reality, the Fact which is the source of all other facthood, is a thing in some degree like ourselves - if it is a Rational Spirit and we derive our rational spirituality from it - then indeed our conviction can be trusted. Our repugnance to disorder is derived from Nature's Creator and ours." p109.

[Quoted by Lennox on p 205 of God's Undertaker as part of his case against Hume's sceptical naturalism.]

Lewis in Miracles cited by Lennox on p42 of God and Stephen Hawking, saying about the laws of nature:

"They produce no events: they state the pattern to which every event - if only it can be induced to happen - must conform, just as the rules of arithmetic state the pattern to which all transactions with money must conform - if only you can get hold of any money. Thus in one sense the laws of Nature cover the whole field of space and time; in another, what they leave out is precisely the whole real universe - the incessant torrent of actual events which makes up true history. That must come from somewhere else. To think the laws can produce it is like thinking that you can create real money by simply doing sums. For every law, in the last resort, says: If you have A, then you will get B." But first catch your A: the laws won't do it for you."

Laws give us only a universe of "Ifs and Ands": not this universe which actually exists. What we know through laws and general principles is a series of connections. But, in order for there to be a real universe, the connections must be given something to connect; a torrent of opaque actualities must be fed into the pattern. If God created the world then He is precisely the source of this torrent, and it alone gives our truest principles anything to be true about. But if God is the ultimate source of all concrete, individual things and events, then God Himself must be concrete, and individual in the highest degree. Unless the origin of all other things were itself concrete and individual, nothing else could be so; for there is no conceivable means whereby what is abstract or general could itself produce concrete reality. Book-keeping, continued to eternity, could never produce one farthing." p63, 90-91.

The Problem of Pain

New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

"It is impossible at this point not to remember a certain sacred story which, though never included in the creeds, has been widely believed in the Church and seems to be implied in several Dominical, Pauline and Johannine utterances - I mean the story that man was not the first creature to rebel against the Creator, but that some older, mightier being long since became apostate and is now the emperor of darkness and (significantly) the Lord of this world." p119

"It seems to me, therefore, a reasonable supposition, that some mighty created power had already been at work for ill on the material universe, or the solar system, or, at least, the planet Earth, before ever man came on the scene; and that when man fell, someone had, indeed tempted him .. If there is such a power, as I myself believe, it may well have corrupted the animal creation before man appeared." p122-123

Lennox refers to these passages on p84 of "Seven Days that Divide the World" in regard to the fall of man.

God in the Dock

Essay "The Laws of Nature"
"But I was still not quite clear about the physical side of this picture. I had been thinking (vaguely enough) that the bullet's flight was caused by the laws of Nature. But is this really so? ... the pressing of the trigger, the side wind, and even the earth, are not exactly laws. They are facts, or events. They are not laws but things that obey laws. ... "The dazzlingly obvious conclusion now arose in my mind: in the whole history of the universe the laws of Nature have never produced a single event. They are the pattern to which every event must conform, provided only that it can be induced to happen. But how do you get it to do that? How do you get a move on? The laws of Nature can give you no help there. All events obey them, just as all operations with money obey the laws of arithmetic. ... Up till now I had had a vague idea that the laws of Nature could make things happen. I now see that this was exactly like thinking that you could increase your income by doing sums about it. The laws are the pattern to which events conform: the source of events must be sought elsewhere".

"Is Theology Poetry?"

"I was taught at school, when I had done a sum, to 'prove my answer.' The proof or verification of my Christian answer to the cosmic sum is this. When I accept Theology I may find difficulties, at this point or that, in harmonising it with some particular truths which are imbedded in the mythical cosmology derived from science. But I can get in, or allow for, science as a whole. Granted that Reason is prior to matter and that the light of that primal Reason illuminates finite minds, I can understand how men should come, by observation and inference, to know a lot about the universe they live in. If, on the other hand, I swallow the scientific cosmology as a whole, then not only can I not fit in Christianity, but I cannot even fit in science. If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on biochemistry, and biochemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees. And this is to me the final test. When I am awake I can, in some degree, account for and study my dream. The dragon that pursued me last night can be fitted into my waking world. I know that there are such things as dreams; I know that I had eaten an indigestible dinner; I know that a man of my reading might be expected to dream of dragons. But while in the nightmare I could not have fitted in my waking experience. The waking world is judged more real because it can thus contain the dreaming world; the dreaming world is judged less real because it cannot contain the waking one. For the same reason I am certain that in passing from the scientific points of view to the theological, I have passed from dream to waking. Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself. I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
Windows of Creation
Evidence from nature Is the universe designed?
Reasonable faith
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