Relativist said, 'The world does not exist, England does not exist, Oxford does not exist and I am confident that I do not Exist!' When Lewis was asked to reply, he stood up and said, 'How am I to talk to a man who's not there?'" (Schultz, 1998)
Lewis: A Biography
This quote shows how, in truly CS Lewis style, the writer took the everyday questions about religion and faith, tacking them head-on. Lewis was a Christian writer who was deeply influenced by the teachings of God and His Scripture.
CS Lewis was born, in 1898, in Belfast, Ireland. He was educated at various schools throughout England (Hooper, 1996). In 1914, he began studying Latin, Greek, French, German and Italian and later moved to Oxford. His education was disrupted by the first World War but within two years, he resumed his studies.
In 1924, Lewis became a teacher of Literature and Language at Magdalen College in Oxford, where he remained until 1954. During this time, he wrote the majority of his work. Lewis later moved to Cambridge where he spent the rest of his life teaching Medieval and Renaissance Literature.
C.S. Lewis is known as a man who was dedicated to the pursuit of truth. He "believed in argument, in disputation, and in the dialectic of Reason." (Schultz, 1998) At the beginning of his search for truth, Lewis was an atheist. He ended up becoming a Christian, which influenced a great deal of his writing.
Lewis' writing is not known for its reformation of or separation from the popular religious beliefs. He merely defined, defended, and united the community of Christianity on what it "purely" is. (Schultz, 1998)
However, in many of his works, Lewis separated himself from popular religious views about Christianity, particularly from the traditional schools of thought within modern and historical Christianity.
Lewis took on a liberal view of Scripture and distanced himself from a Fundamentalist view of the Bible, which is a verbal, literal inspiration of Scripture. Instead, he presented a new approach to Christianity, which was no doubt inspired by the Scriptures that praised the Bible's use of myth.
Views of Scripture
Lewis reinforces in many of his works that he had a high view of scripture and believed in miracles.
In the Bible, it says," Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book" (22:7-11). The books of Revelation say that God will bless those that obey the faith and curse those who do not. The Bible also discusses heaven and hell. (Hooper, 1996)
In the Bible, John saw angels as staunch defenders of the regulative principle of worship, who did not tolerate false worship. CS Lewis was inspired by this passage and he wrote about the "shadow side" as a result. (Hooper, 1996)
He basically wrote that people who respond in faith are blessed forever, while those who do not will suffer forever. This is a harsh theory, as Lewis says that the gates of hell are locked for the inside.
Scripture does not make it clear to readers whether or not they will recognize their loved ones when they die. The Bible merely tells us that will be taken into Christ's own body. Lewis expands on this theory in "The Great Divorce." (Schultz, 1998)
The Great Divorce" talks about the resurrection bodies, saying that the old will look young, while the young will look old and wise. He also said that some bodies would wear clothes, as a sign of special grace of God while others would be naked, but fully clothed in righteousness. Revelation is the only book that talks about clothing in the afterlife, so Lewis was obviously inspired by these books.
As for repentance, Lewis holds that it "is not something God demands of you before He will take you back...; it is simply a description of what going back is like." (Schultz, 1998)
Lewis believed in an evolutionary animal ancestry of man. "For long centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself" (The Problem of Pain)
He accepted that the Book of Genesis account came from pagan mythical sources. "I have therefore no difficulty accepting the view of those scholars who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier Semitic stories which were pagan and mythical" (Reflections on the Psalms) (Cunningham, 1967)
Lewis did not believe in a bodily resurrection (C.S. Lewis: A Biography). He rejected the theory of the total depravity of man. "I disbelieve that doctrine" (The Problem of Pain) (Cunningham, 1967)
His view of Scripture was woeful. He believed that the Book of Job was "unhistorical." He also believed that the Bible contained "error," and asserted the Neo-orthodox concept that the Bible "carries" the Word of God and is "human material" (The Problem of Pain).
According to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, "CS Lewis was essentially a philosopher, his view of salvation was defective in two key respects: (1) Lewis believed and taught that one could reason oneself into Christianity, and (2) he was an opponent of the substitution and penal theory of the Atonement." (Cunningham, 1967)
According to Dr. W.W. Shrader, a Baptist, "C.S. Lewis would never embrace the Fundamentalist view of the Bible. He would not accept the theory of "total depravity of man." He rejected the "substitution theory" of the Atonement." (Cunningham, 1967)
Lewis wondered why Christians often emphasized either good works or faith to the exclusion of the other, saying, "It does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary... If what you call your 'faith' in Jesus Christ does not involve taking the slightest notice of what He says, then it is not faith at all." (Schultz, 1998)
Scripture as Errant Source
In Lewis' eyes, the Bible was the foundational source for Christian thought and belief. The Bible was an authoritative source in all matters of faith and practice. Lewis understood the nature and authority of Scripture in a way that lined up with the convergence of centuries of Christian thought, which is why his works were so well-accepted.
The fundamentalist view of inerrancy, which made the Scriptures seem to be a textbook, was unacceptable to Lewis, which believed that the Scriptures contained error. To him, the Bible was a treasure that bore the marks of having been written by human beings who had witnessed God's message (Cunningham, 1967). Still, he believed Scripture to be the living, life altering word of God, in which God still communicated to humans.
Basically, Lewis believed that while Scripture was authoritative, it was also extremely human. He wrote, "The human qualities of the raw materials show through. Naivety, error, contradiction, even...wickedness are not removed." (Cunningham, 1967)
Therefore, according to Lewis, the result was "not the Word of God in the sense that every passage...gives impeccable science or history. It carries the Word of God; and we (under grace, with attention to tradition and to interpreters wiser than ourselves, and with the use of such intelligence and learning as we may have) receive the word from it not by using it as an encyclopedia or an encyclical but by steeping ourselves in its tone or temper and so learning its over-all message." (Cunningham, 1967)
Issues With Christianity and Scripture
Two of Lewis' works, "The Problem of Pain" and "Mere Christianity" address issues that he struggled with in Christianity (Beversluis, 1985). "Mere Christianity" talks about the core set of beliefs surrounding Christianity. According to Lewis, Jesus is what He claimed to be in the Bible, which is the Son of God.
Lewis says that according to the Bible, Jesus was literally born of a virgin, crucified, buried, and physically rose from the dead. "Mere Christianity" supports the Bible strongly, teaching the basics of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are all of one God.
Lewis believed that the gospel accounts are accurate and written by men who were witness, such as the apostles (Beversluis, 1985). He believed that God promised through the Old Testament prophets that He would send His Son to die for the sins of His people. Lewis was obviously inspired by the Bible and tried to convince his readers that the supernatural does exist and miracles do occur.
Mere Christianity" consists of three separate broadcasts, one of which is called "The Case for Christianity" (Beversluis, 1985). In this broadcast, Lewis addresses a major issue in defense of his religion. Because the Bible scriptures can be confusing, Lewis addresses many questions that can come to mind when trying to find the truth in it.
This issue, which he labels as "Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe," deals with the existence of moral law; the idea of a power or mind behind the universe, and that this power, which is God, is good; and the attributes of Christianity.
Law of Nature
According to Lewis, the law of nature attaches humans to a…