C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy - Lesson 2

Marks of the Christian Mind of C.S. Lewis (Part 1)

The mind is the organ of reason, imagination is the organ of understanding. To understand what real truth is, the imagination needs to be a part of that. We are created in the image of God and are immortal beings. Ordinary people are extraordinary. The Christian life is most deeply about being transformed resulting in participation in the divine life. It's more than just having one’s legal status changed. There should be transformation in the culture as well as personal. God is in the process of redeeming a wounded universe, including the whole of knowledge and truth in all subjects. 

Michael L. Peterson
C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy
Lesson 2
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Marks of the Christian Mind of C.S. Lewis (Part 1)

Marks of the Christian Mind of C.S. Lewis (part 1)

I. Video on C.S. Lewis’s Life

A. Lewis becomes a Christian

B. Lewis articulates and defends Christianity

C. Importance of imagination

D. Belief in a creator

E. Contribution to culture

II. Student Comments

A. Christianity is a valid worldview

B. Difference between inferential apologetics and comparative approach

III. Marks of the Christian Mind

A. Universality of the Christian faith

B. Transformational perspective

C. Participation in the divine life

D. Holistic approach

E. Creational outlook

F. Incarnational perspective

  • The purpose of the class is to directly engage Lewis’s philosophy and theology. He brings a Christian worldview to engage intellectual movements of his day. The trinity created us to bring us into the fellowship that has been going on with God forever. 

  • The mind is the organ of reason, imagination is the organ of understanding. To understand what real truth is, the imagination needs to be a part of that. We are created in the image of God and are immortal beings. Ordinary people are extraordinary. The Christian life is most deeply about being transformed resulting in participation in the divine life. It's more than just having one’s legal status changed. There should be transformation in the culture as well as personal. God is in the process of redeeming a wounded universe, including the whole of knowledge and truth in all subjects. 

  • There is a sacred quality to ordinary activities as well as symbolic religious rituals. Whatever is true in any field of study is God’s truth. The world is essentially good, but it’s been damaged. God has taken a great risk in allowing people free choice for good or evil. Evil has become present in many forms in the world and it is anti-creational and anti-human. We are not broken, but we are bent. God’s nature is relational because of the nature of the Trinity, so it makes sense that he would make a universe that is relational. We dwell in God and he dwells in us. As disciples of Christ we all share the single vocation of loving God and others.

  • Lewis wants to parlay theological doctrines into dynamic insights and track out their implications for intellectual engagement. He does is with a background of philosophical skill and theological understanding of historic orthodoxy. Instead of arguing about preferences, we need to focus on articulating the doctrines that are universal. Lewis’s ideas are expressed so they can be understood by people not formally trained in philosophy or theology but they have merit in the marketplace of ideas. 

  • The probability of morality as we know it in the human community, given that theism is true, is more probable than morality given any other worldview. Morality at the human (finite) level is anchored in morality at the infinite level. Morality has its most natural fitting worldview home in theism. In using the analogy of light shining through boards in a tool shed, Lewis says, “I believe in Christianity, not because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.” 

  • In Hinduism, Brahman, the hidden inner essence of everything, is beyond human categories of good and evil. Brahman is the only reality. Everything we see is an illusion. The fundamental human problem is ignorance, not sin. Dualism is the idea that there is good and evil at war in the universe. Explaining morality in a dualistic framework is difficult. Dualism assumes good and evil are equal, so you would need a third element to adjudicate which one to choose, and that would be a higher standard. Otherwise you wouldn’t know which one to choose. Naturalism/materialism says there is no ultimate moral nature to the universe. 

  • Lewis begins by discussing our common moral experience as a triggering point to reason toward theism. Then he reasons for a deity that’s interested in morality that’s also a supreme power. With naturalism, we come from a source that is non-rational, non-moral and non-personal, so it’s difficult to understand how you get beings that are rational, moral and personal.

  • Theism is intellectually at least on par, if not superior to, other conceptions of reality like dualism, pantheism and naturalism. If there is a God that theism describes, only one deity of the living theistic religions said that this God invaded our existence. The question is that in comparison to other alternatives, what is emerging as a reasonable explanation of the reality we face?

  • Our rationality being reliable assumes that we can produce a large preponderance of true beliefs over false ones by using rational faculties like memory, abstract reasoning, perception and the testimony of others. The role of philosophy is to analyze and explain the common sense beliefs of the human race about morality and the external world. 

  • The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind. Lewis thinks that we now do not have broad social consensus of Christian truth. He challenges individuals to have a more positive affirming attitude toward intellect and academics. In his view, Christians are ambivalent about the value of the life of the mind and using the gift of our intellect to serve him.

  • Premise one: every natural desire corresponds to one real object. Premise two: There exists in us a desire that nothing in the temporal world can satisfy. Conclusion is that there must be more than time, earth and creatures that can satisfy this desire.

  • The Supreme Being, behind the universe as we know it, is a personal being, eternal and the model for how we are to understand our personhood. We can’t understand our own personhood fully, the way it’s supposed to operate, unless we understand what God is, as a personal being. We are not projecting our understanding on God but learning about ourselves by finding out about God. 

  • This is ultimately a book about a clash of worldviews. A worldview offers an explanation of the important features/phenomena of life and the world. In the West, the atheist worldview is often expressed in naturalism. Lewis argues for theism based on what is true internally of us, rather than argument from design. Discussion is not whether a particular miracle has occurred, but in principle, is it a possibility.

  • There is a supernatural power or being that is ontologically distinct from nature (transcendent). It is self-existent. Every world view must propose what is fundamentally real. For the naturalist, it is the physical world. For the theist, it’s a transcendent deity. Everything that is not God is dependent/contingent on God for its being. The theist says that the deity can bring about events that would not have happened by the regular operation of nature. 

  • What’s important to Lewis is freedom of rational thinking, free from physical causes. Naturalism undercuts the power of reason because everything is determined by physical causes. If evolutionary naturalism is true, then the probability of our cognitive faculties being reliable for truth is low.

  • If you believe in naturalism as a worldview, miracles are impossible. Since a naturalist worldview says everything is determined and thought is only adaptive, the ability to have free rational thought to logically evaluate naturalism undercuts the naturalist position.

  • Rational thought and moral consciousness are points of entry of the supernatural into the realm of the natural. It involves both. It’s not a dichotomy. Naturalists believe that the nature of human persons is limited to material processes. Substance dualists believe that mind and brain are two separate substances that are mixed for now, but at death one will cease to exist and the other will continue to exist. Emergentist sees the animal form taken to another degree of complexity by the natural realm getting increasingly complex and dualist in function as opposed to substance.

  • Scientific law is economical summary of what experience always reports: regular cause and effect. Laws are regularity based on coincidences. Causality is the basis of law. Hume says that laws are regularities based on coincidences. Hume says that you can only know regularity because that’s all the human mind is capable of. Peterson’s view is that a miracle is not changing a law of nature, it’s changing with the “ceteris paribus” clause – preventing all things from being equal and changing the nature of the item. 

  • There is nothing about nature that makes miracles impossible. The naturalist can’t see nature accurately as a creature, not just an independent fact but it can’t stand or explain itself. The cosmological principle is that only concrete beings, not general things, have causal power. Causal laws don’t make things happen, only the beings acting within the laws.

  • If God is in fact a living determinate being, and is outside the natural system, he might insert events into the natural system. The laws that we observe in the natural system may be a subset of higher laws that govern the universe. What criteria do you use to determine if a miracle has taken place? Evidence plus intrinsic probability. Whether or not an event is a miracle is also part of the discussion of the problem of evil. Why would God intervene in some circumstances but not others? 

  • In philosophy, it’s referred to as the problem of evil. Given a certain understanding of God and a certain understanding of evil, there is a tension explaining why evil exists in the world.

  • If God chooses to create a nature, this signifies a physical system which indicates a relatively independent nature independent from himself, it would make a lot of sense to say he is frequently intervening.  The same laws that make nature a stable environment in which rational soulish life can emerge, are also the same laws that make us vulnerable. Pain is God’s megaphone to arouse a deaf world. He might whisper to us in our pleasures, but he shouts to us in our pain. Question about whether God initiates the pain or he set up a system which results in pain because of the way it’s structured.

  • Lewis describes the story of the Fall as a narrative that has symbolic elements that convey significant truth. The truth in the first couple chapters of Genesis is that we were created by God, sovereign and loving creator, and that our only fulfillment as humans is to center our lives on God. Our proper role as a creature is to rely on God, so when we ignore that and rely on ourselves, our relationship with God is broken. 

  • God is his creation set forth the problem of expressing his goodness through the total drama of a world containing free agents in spite of, and even by means of, their rebellion against him. The risk is for the possibility of relationship. 

  • Aristotle would say that as a rational, moral being you build your character based on the hierarchy of good traits.  From a Christian perspective, our natural destiny should be on the same trajectory as our eternal destiny. The spiritual and theological virtues are faith, hope and love.

  • As long as God chooses a stable physical order, that physical order will run by its own laws. Any system with  have the possibility of pain. Created nature with natural laws provide a framework/structure in which souls can meet. Some pain is produced by the natural system without regard to the desires of the beings. That humans can inflict pain on other humans is a reflection of the permission by God that he permits this. The wide range of freedom makes it possible for great good or terrible evil. 

  • Lewis thinks that God needs to pierce the shield of our ego and we are embodied creatures so pain is what does it by getting our attention by highlighting how frail and in need we are. 

  • For Lewis, heaven is the unending joyous life of God, the life of the Trinity. The only way I can be fulfilled is to find its proper purpose and relation with God. Heaven is the restoration of created personhood, what it was always meant to be. When we are on the trajectory, we begin experiencing it now. Hell is the lack of fulfillment for which we were made. 

  • Discussion of the movie Shadowlands. Discussion of the nature of relationships. Pain and happiness are not necessarily mutually exclusive.                                        

  • Lewis expresses anger toward God as part of his process of grief. Orthodox Christianity denies materialism which believes that your physical body is all you are, but it doesn’t require body-soul dualism where the soul is the real person that inhabits a shell. Whatever damage death completes in the reign of sin in this world will be undone and swallowed up by the resurrection. The restoration of human personhood will come after death. 

  • Heaven and hell are dichotomous. Whether life is heaven or hell depends on your future trajectory. God is true reality, fixed and can’t be altered. In GD, true reality is God. The descriptions are not meant to be literal. Heaven is the Trinitarian life of God. It’s not a place, it’s a state of being in proper relation to the love and joy of the Trinitarian relations. Lewis describes it as a great dance. 

  • Final comments about themes in The Great Divorce.

C. S. Lewis is an extremely good theologian who does his work for the thoughtful lay person.  But his writings reflect his erudite understanding of the great classics of literature, historical theology, philosophy, and other disciplines.  Lewis says in Mere Christianity that theology is like a map.  We may get where we’re going without it, but it is much easier to use the map.  The map of Christian theology is drawn over the early centuries of the church as the believing community interprets the Bible and its experience of God.  

Of course, the ultimate goal of theology, according to Lewis, is practical:  to draw us into the life of God, or St. Gregory of Nazianzus ((329-374 AD), called it, “the Great Dance.”  I know no theme deeper or more pervasive in Lewis than our need to get the steps right, to join the dance once again.  

In “Meditations in a Tool Shed,” Lewis says that there is a distinction between looking at a beam of light and looking along the beam of light.  He is speaking of looking at reason or using reason—a passage that forms part of his great case that presence of rationality argues for the truth of theism.  We will be doing a lot of looking in this course, largely, “looking at” Lewis himself.  But let us also try to “look along” the same line of sight as Lewis, to see things—God, humanity, spiritual life, and a host of other things—as Lewis saw them.  This means attempting to step inside Lewis’s worldview and learning to interpret fundamental realities the way he did and to deploy his distinctive strategies for engaging other worldviews.  In effect, we will learn to think Christianly by learning to think along Christianly with Lewis.

In 2020, Dr. Peterson published the book, C. S. Lewis and the Christian WorldviewIt is essentially his course lectures in written book form--covering Lewis on all key worldview issues--reality, knowledge, creation, trinity, christology, as well as issues of evil, religious pluralism, and the impact of science on faith. You will also see it listed in the Recommended Reading section. 

Dr. Michael Peterson

C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy


Marks of the Christian Mind of C.S. Lewis (Part 1)

Lesson Transcript


I'm going to play a little mini documentary on why C.S. Lewis matters today and give you a little break from my droning voice. So if I can get it going here. This media is also in the online classroom. I really try to put a lot of things like this in the online classroom. So we'll look at it here. As the Industrial Revolution rolled to the end of the 19th century, a new revolution began that would transform much of Western civilization. The dawn of the 20th century revealed the beginning of a radical shift in the way many thinkers and leaders view the world and our place in. Ancient documents previously held to be biblical truth for centuries were now seen as only primitive superstitions, comforting illusions that have nothing to do with reality. Arts sciences took the place formerly held by philosophy and their realms of study. That which can be seen, couched and measured became the only area of study with any claim on truth. Men and women were no longer seen as being created in the image of God or even created at all. Humans were like all life on earth. Merely advanced animals evolved through meaningless purposeless the chance. And God became merely a figment of childish wishes, something intelligent adults outgrew, like an infant's nursery. It was into this world that Clive Staples Lewis was born in 1898, and it was here that he was raised and educated. It quickly became one of his more vocal adherents as a young man. He wrote to a friend, I believe in no religion. There is absolutely no proof for any of them. And from a philosophical standpoint, Christianity is not even the best of all religions. That is, all mythologies to give their property are merely man's inventions.


In 1925, after graduating with highest honors from Oxford with Degrees in Philosophy literature, Lewis was invited to join the family. Before long, he became close friends with a company of believers, chief among them J.R.R. Tolkien. Much to Lewis's surprise, it was they who began to influence him rather than the reverse. Through these friends, Lewis came to see Christianity as intellectually credible, and despite his great desire to simply be left alone by God is great. Change gradually began to take place. About his conversion, Lewis wrote In the Trinity term of 1929, I gave in and admitted that God was God and knelt and prayed. Perhaps that night the most dejected and reluctant comfort in all of the philosopher's conversion. He wrote, not just to become a Christian and a strong Christian, but the most influential Christian writer of the 20th century. He has an ability to speak about God in a way that doesn't just talk about imagination, but that actually uses imagination and that pulls our imagination in which I would make the argument that without that, you can't really know God. And so there's something about Lewis's role in the canon of Western literature that is genuinely giving you not only clearer articulation of what it means to be a Christian in his own life. He demonstrated what it means to be a Christian in today's modern world. Christianity, for Lewis, was something that captured the mind fire of the imagination and filled the heart. Becoming a Christian was something that changed the very way he viewed the world and the people who lived. Presenting a defense of the Christian faith appealed to reason. Lewis removed obstacles to the belief that many people face Lewis will reason as being the anchor of faith. He wanted a faith that was based only on emotions would be the kind of faith that would change from one moment to the next.


Faith in the sense in which I am here using the word he wrote is the art of holding on to things. Your reason is once accepted in spite of your changing moods. It was pointed out, our hearts must be on fire for the things of God, and so must our reason. While God wants us to be as loving and capable as children. Lewis underlined that God also wants every bit of intelligence we have is the best that God has given us so far as at reaching His world and at fencing with stupidity and ever so gently, but might give a little twist in it. Puncturing the pomposity and the the pretensions of so-called thinkers, for example, in miracles, when he actually goes after the idea that you you can't trust your reason, you can't trust your thinking. If we simply are the product of random chance evolution, that's a kind of presupposition argument. He's basically saying if there isn't a God, you can't actually even trust your reasoning. And of course, I was planting it later on. Took that idea and it's developed that much more completely. So he uses all kinds of arguments, even extremely helpful to me when the imagination is divorced from reason. When faith is divorced from reason, we go to all sorts of strength directions. Louis is an absolute consummate genius in bringing together people together, trying in a good, strong faith and reason. And so by following Louis, we are following the path of orthodoxy. In other words, the path of Christianity, which is rational and faithful. Louis showed us to his own example as a world class literature scholar at one of the world's premiere institutions of learning what it means to have a mind of Christ and to love God with all your heart and all your mind.


For example, he talks about naturalism, the idea that there's not a creator, that we are simply a material product. We are the result of some natural process of revolution. And he said people who believe that have a deep problem because they have to rely upon a brain that was formed by a natural process to make an informed judgment. So how can they know that their brain is reliable? He said naturalism is like someone trying to lift himself up by his color. He won't be able to get off the ground, but he may strangle himself. He started out totally an agnostic, searching every option other religions, science, atheism. He looked at everything in the fact that the fact is he gave it a long term concentrated, serious study and at the end of the path, he found Christianity. I think his most important contributions in general to the world have been always the books of Christian apologetics, a great observing of Christianity, the Great Divorce, his science fiction trilogy are hugely advantageous for people to read because the only other great literature and great science fiction, but they're also hugely instructive about the nature of that. At the time that wrote those, the traditional science fiction was a man went out into the stars and the stars, but not the alien monsters who tried to kill. Everyone is able Jack, until his head man goes out into the stars and is in most of the tries to kill everybody. For Lewis, loving God with all your mind was not really just reading a book or two, but it could be a whole different kind of person. For Louis, this call to use your reason and your faith together was a not just an intellectual pursuit, but a way of being very present in today's modern world by restoring reason to its rightful place.


Louis showed how Christianity could appeal to those who were earnestly seeking for answers to the great questions of life. As a boarding school student, Lewis labeled the mandatory chat just an opportunity to daydream. Looking back on a childhood of tedious church lessons filled with shades and formulaic answers, you don't lose turn to the imagination to recapture the true power of the gospel. And he said that his faith became paralyzed because of what he called its stained glass associations. By recasting these elements, the spiritual truths from the gospel story into an imaginary world. He hoped that he could, for the first time at least for him, convey them in their true potency. The real. But Luis understood that. Learning is not just by the mind alone. The mind, he said, is the organ of reason, but imagination is the organ of understanding. So you need both reason, both cognitive understanding and the imagination. And nothing penetrates the imagination better than Lewis's writing, and particularly his fantasies, which are so popular with children. He said why he thought Narnia was so effective is that the passion of Aslan to people by surprise? They were. They were very familiar with the whole Jesus story. But then Aslan death and resurrection, they didn't see it coming, and therefore it was much more moving to them. I think that's the hallmark of all good news, is that it flies under the radar of your defenses. You have your defenses up against Christian truths that don't believe, that don't want to go there. Don't tell me about it, don't want to hear it. But you get dragged into Tolkien and you get dragged into Lewis. We have testimonies in our worship services quite frequently, and just recently we've had both the Tolkien and the Lewis conversion testimony, Lewis's whole particular reading manuals, and I think he would say, Oh, didn't take a direct form.


It wasn't come down the altar and be baptized. He might even call it pre evangelism. He saw that his gift with his own particular gift was to break down the kind of obstacles to belief that people had then and still have today. So we take reason seriously, as we should, but then we take it too seriously and we forget that there are some things, notably the gospel and the truth of the Gospel that can not only be communicated via reason, it has to be communicated by a story. You're able to access the meaning through your imagination and it awakens in you a hunger for something that you really didn't know that you were hungry for. The idea of story is a fundamentally, intrinsically human concept. The notion of story and narrative, which is genuinely essential for communicating the kind of truth that we find in the gospel. If we're talking about just rational truth, we're talking about facts, then you don't need it. But when you talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ, you're talking about something that necessarily needs, at least in part, to be communicated by a story, period. And Lewis and talking realize that the imagination is the means by which we arrive at the truth. And imagination is not in conflict with visa. In fact, if the imagination leads us in an irrational direction to all, to any rational area, is a failure of the imagination, is what is the failure of the reason, I think. Lewis As a medieval scholar, as someone who had studied the mythology of Norsemen of Greeks, was well steeped in the power of of imagination, the power of story out our creativity. He combine that with his faith in a way that just opened people's eyes to imagining a world where the story of Christ wasn't a myth, but was a live vehicle that somebody had tried to fit in with Jesus.


I have all kinds of cultural misconceptions and preconceptions that would have just made me uninterested. But because Aslan is a myth in the logical mode, you are able to access truth with your imagination that your mind would have defenses against music and trying to weave a spell. Those writes perhaps them. But remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil and share of the worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly a century. Almost our whole education has been directed to silencing this shy, persistent inner voice. I read a quote the other day that truth will always be more important than the facts. And I think to really understand what real truth is, the imagination has to be a part of that. And I think C.S. Lewis understood it very well. C.S. Lewis believed that Christian imagination could expand our sense of what's possible. He believed the Christian imagination could, re-engineered a world that has been disenchanted by the limited possibilities of modern science. Lewis was well aware of the power that stories created by a Christian imagination to present understandable concepts which could be approached in no other fashion, a kind of writing that could express the inexpressible. As a young atheist, C.S. Lewis agreed with many other thinkers of his day that the universe was all there is, that life was just an accident, and that human beings were nothing more than a result of random evolution. But after his conversion, all this changed the order, complexity and vastness of the universe. Became a reflection of a creator of someone beyond the universe. After coming to a belief in God, Lewis also came to see all life as having a divine origin and so on.


Human beings. The image of that divinity. What was it that caused C.S. Lewis to risk his academic reputation and to spend just so much time every day, whether in writing letters, speaking on the BBC, publishing essays, writing books? I believe it's this radical vision that Lewis had for the true destiny of every human being. I think that humanity is what enabled him to speak so profoundly into our lives. He's a person who had experienced grief and who had experienced doubt, who understood that we were all less than perfect. And also, you know, right beside the angels. He speaks to us where we are in a way that almost no one does. There's something about his ability to talk about God in non-religious terms, which is not only important, but at this point vital in today's culture. That emphasis of Lewis, that humanity is of supreme value, very precious, is bearing the image of God is is important because of the dehumanizing aspects of. Of culture, whether it's through media or through scientific advancement, people misconstrue those to devalue and dehumanize. And Louis was always more fond of that kind of trend. Today, we live in a media driven culture where people are bombarded with media messages every day. Some researchers indicate 5000 a day messages we're getting bombarded with in that world. We are beat down, we are lectured to, we are hammered on. And I think we grow smaller and smaller and smaller and. I think Louis understood the radical view of humanity, that we are free, we are liberated. We have, you know, because of what Christ is on the cross. We it's changed everything. You can't say that every human being has a little God in the way some. You know, some people like to say in our culture today that we're all children of God in a general way.


And, you know, if there's a little bit of God in all of us, there's there's something to what they're saying. But that's actually more misleading than it is true. I think what they're saying is that the Bible says God made every human being in the image, in his own image. And that seems to me there's something about human beings that reflects the glory of God. So there's a dignity about every human being. There's a great piece about human beings, even when they're ruined by sin, and you can sense it. In fact, somebody once said, If you even see a ruined castle, it's still magnificent, even though you can't even live in it. But you can see what it was and you can see how great it was designed to be. And there's something magnificent about the room. And I think that even even ruined by some human beings being in the image of God, have this greatness about them. And therefore there is a sacredness about them. Lewis By using imagination, shows what we really are. It's this biblical idea that we are creating the image of God. And that think about that doesn't mean that we're cookie cutters, that we're making the image of God in a simplistic way, but that we're we are something ineffable where something, at least in part ethereal or something eternal to be able to communicate that as Lewis does, is, again, infinitely important. There's almost no one I can think of who's has done it the way he's done it. I mean, that notion that Lewis would often say that you that there is no ordinary person, you are talking to an immortal being, and those are the kinds of ideas that you just wouldn't hear at a revival tent meeting.


Nothing against revival, 10 minutes, but it kind of blew a lot of our minds. Those kinds of very simple ideas. Yet they're rooted in the Christian tradition, but so fresh and so novel. And, you know, you just wonder where those kinds of thoughts came from. I think in The Chronicles of Narnia and the Space trilogy and the Great Divorce, who shows how ordinary people are extraordinary that somehow evolves. And of course, for many people, extraordinary because they make the image of God, woman of us, and we're both unique and yet united in our humanity. And that makes all of us capable of going to have and capable of going to town. So everything we do has eternal significance for ourselves and for others. C.S. Lewis had a radical view of humanity. Here's what he wrote. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations cultures are its civilizations. These are mourning, and their life to ours is as the life of a gnat. You haven't met them because they're such creatures. We are. We are given the choice of which direction to go for our immortality in eternity. But it's earth you get used to, you standing in it. The first domain of any great work of art is surrender. Look, listen, receive. Get yourself out of the way. Or until you have gotten yourself out of the way, you have no idea whether you should have surrendered or not. An experiment in criticism. C.S. Lewis. Lewis wrote about this. It is critical that, as we call ourselves Christians, that we see some differences being made in the lives of people around us and in the kinds of things we are doing. To demonstrate the gospel things that God is calling us to do.


The gratitude to Him for his son's death on the cross in our voice. And I think a lot of times as believers, we're always looking for those things that separate us. And we're always looking for those things that we want to criticize in the culture. And we want to cast as much light on things that we think that are wrong. I like the emphasis on finding the things that unite us, and I love the idea of lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness. I would like to think that the movies we make about politics contribution. Entertainment. I believe that not only entertainment should not only make money, it should also educate and assist society, too. And I think the Narnia Chronicles movies are doing that to a great degree at a time when they desperately need it. It also models what it is for a faithful Christian person to take his gifts and skills and opportunities and sort of parlay them into a contribution to culture that is a faithful witness to Christian faith. He was the purveyor to popular culture of these wonderful ideas, and that tradition is continued. His ideas live on through bands that I work with, like sixpence none originally live on for movies like the Narnia movies and through books. And so he's he's a chain. In fact, his ideas lived on through politicians. There's a great story about Ronald Reagan in 1978 being asked whether Christ was the only path to God, and he regurgitates C.S. Lewis a line that Christ is either a liar or lunatic or Lord. And Reagan gives it spot on. So you have this man, this British man who has been dead for many years, speaking on in pop culture through presidents, through rock bands and horror movies.


Well, I think that the most important thing about Lewis is that the more that he's read, the healthier the tracks will be. So we have to hope that Lewis, in the 21st century, that this Lewis phenomenon and it has been a phenomena since his death. This is an industry now. This is an industry that the number of people reading his books, we have to hope that will continue into the 20th 21st century and throughout the century, because the more people that we see as Lewis, the healthy of the church will be in the end. There's something about taking measure of Lewis's significance that remains beyond our grasp. In the end, the only way to fully appreciate the legacy he left is to pick up his books and to open the doors to the great adventure he left for us inside of. I think that was helpful. That five or six years ago, and I still find it helpful. Did you have any of the speakers to take me out of it? Right. But that you particularly liked or identified. You all know Tim Keller, obviously. Maybe not that you particularly identified with or liked what they said. You know my. Okay. Yes. I just like about. Eric Metaxas, Right. There's a bestselling author. Do you know Metaxas stuff? He's got the big bestselling book on Wilberforce and who's the more recent book on Bonhoeffer. Yeah, I forgot. I mean, these are these are New York Times top sellers and all that kind of thing and widely acclaimed books. Yeah. My guy's Joseph Pierce, a Catholic. He's at I forget what what Catholic school is, but you should hear him. The longer footage that got edited out, he is really passionate. And I think other comments on that.


One thing that it got me thinking about was everybody has a kind of a route, an avenue, a path that they've taken that gets them somewhere in the neighborhood of C.S. Lewis and not just the people on the screen up there, but you folks may as well have your own journey. And somehow C.S. Lewis has intersected that journey. Clearly. Chuck Colson, the great Chuck Colson I admire quite a bit. Greatly influenced by Lewis and his ministry. And I don't know if you know this, but the director of the Genome Project, the Human genome funded by the government through the nineties where that's Francis Collins and Collins was a Christian, at least I think it was Presbyterian in his earlier life. I may not get this quite right, but after the mapping of the human genome looks at at what science had discovered about the 3 billion pieces of code that make up the instruction book, so to speak, for our humanness. And he he looks at the writings of Lewis. He particularly gives credit to mirror Christianity as giving him a framework for seeing this as God's work. And so he wrote the book, The Language of God, because in a sense, it's a code, it's a it's a language of human genetics. And I'd say in the Language of God book, which was a bestseller a few years back, he probably spends ten pages on Lewis early on saying this is how the ideas that I have now about Christianity have been formed very much by Lewis, and that enables me to see the human genome and what science has done in that area as compatible with and in fact, almost as an expression of what Christian faith would say, that if God wants, you know, this really high kind of being to come about in this universe and for it to be embodied, for it to be identified with biological life, I can see this biological finding, i.e.


the mapping of the genome as, as a way of of of that coming about. So whether it's Francis Collins, whether it's Chuck Colson, I thought possibly, possibly some of you would want to say how you came to this, almost like a testimony period. Right. How did you come to meet us? How did you come to be interested in C.S. Lewis? Or did what? What ideas in the film particularly would you think are worth commenting on at this point? Sort of coming out of the film, processing a little bit your own journey or anything in the film I thought was interesting. You mentioned the Christians. They are. Earlier I noticed that not long after you came out and thought how astounding that all of these different pastors, teachers or whatever would all stand. And basically the only reason for that is because you had a number one. Number one, No more, No more number one. Yeah. The wealth of resources that are out there. So that got me to thinking, looking and really interested in this plot. Yes. So we could maybe we could write a book after this class is over. Maybe like the Lewis Driven Life. That's really bad. Isn't that bad? That's really bad. But yeah, I think that little that little documentary kind of frames up, what, 20, 25 minutes frames up Lewis's approach that I want to go ahead and continue expounding in here. One of the quotes near the end, I believe in Christianity, not because I see it, but by it I see everything else. It's really interesting quote You all look to me like maybe your city slickers and didn't grow up in the country where I grew up. I might be wrong about that. I could misjudge people.


But you know what a toolset is? That code is meditations in a tool shed. And our tool shed was unpainted vertical boards. They'd rot, they would warp, and you'd get a little light shining through. So if you go in the dark to show and shut the door, you're in the dark, cool tool shed. But sunlight might, might be coming through the vertical slits, right? That's where that code is from. And he makes the distinction between looking at the beam of light that's coming in or standing and looking along the beam of light. And he says both are valuable activities, which is, I believe in Christianity, not just because I am looking at the light, but if I look along the light within the framework that it provides, if I really understand the framework rich Trinitarian orthodoxy, it enlightens everything. It makes sense of everything that's important in life, in the world. That's exactly what the competing worldviews want to do, is they're offering their own account, their own way of making sense of the important aspects of life in the world. So part of what he's saying is, and one not the only, but a very important apologetic understanding of the faith, I can take it as a point of view and by taking it as a point of view and looking at important things like a sense of morality or the fact that we're rational beings put alongside other worldviews, there's also trying to make sense of why we have a sense of morality, why we're rational beings, and a whole list of other important phenomena that make up life in the world. He believes it can stand on its own two feet intellectually and make every bit as good a sense, if not better sense, than the competing worldviews.


Because in a way, they're all angles or perspectives of of accessing our common lived experience and in our our knowledge of the world. The key is how do you make sense of it? And he thinks Christianity needs to be presented in that way. So I believe in Christianity, not just because I see it, because by it I see everything else, that beam of light that comes in and it shows me the various tools hanging on the opposite wall. And I see things by looking along it. That's a really interesting, you might say, apologetic insight. So much apologetics is sort of inferential apologetics. In other words, I'm going to give you this piece of evidence or this argument. Everybody infer from it that the Christian God exists or that you should believe in the Christian God or some kind of conclusion should come out of that. And all of. So Luis was saying is, hey, let's take the totality of the Christian worldview. Really understood. And with rich Trinitarian orthodoxy and other elements we're going to build. And let's take the other the other points of view, put them all in the intellectual arena and compare them. So it's kind of a comparative approach. And because honestly, you can't always get get the strong inference. There's not always an inference to be had that couldn't be blocked or slowed down. But when you say, we're aware of all that, let's take all the positives and negatives, all the arguments and counterarguments for all the different perspectives and use these in a comparative setting. Christian looks or Christian worldview looks intellectually very potent. Doesn't have to go into hiding. Questions, comments. If I were to characterize Lewis, if I were if we would have done a different segment, an additional segment, I would have liked to have done the segment that Lewis models the Christian mind.


We brought out a few aspects, reason and imagination. I do think his his appeal to the imagination is pretty amazing. And that was that next to the last segment there. But I think there are other elements. And just to mention them up front, I believe they'll play out as we go through the course. It's not about Lewis, per se. It's about what kind of shape, what kind of profile or what kind of operative themes should characterize a Christian mind, The development of a Christian mind. So I just have a short list, actually, but I think it's a good start. And Lewis, I believe, exemplifies these themes in the shape of his mind. So it's not so nearly as much so much about Lewis, but as incarnation and his embodiment of these of these elements that everybody, I believe, should consider building into their own Christian mind and Christian formation. I'd say number one on the list would be the universality of the Christian faith that although there are richly different traditions throughout time and culture that represent the Christian faith, there's something common. And Lewis is deeply dedicated to that idea. There's got to be something that's common to it all in belief and practice. So the first element I would call these marks of the Christian mind or elements of the Christian mind would be the deep commitment to the universality, which really helps you transcend sectarian and denominational differences and encounters and maybe diplomatically find a way to transcend them and position how the Christian faith is being presented in a way that doesn't seem as bound by denominational interests, or particularly, I don't know, jargon known only to only to a certain group. How do we do that? Not only believe that universal, but begin to develop the skill to articulate it in ways that just don't seem so bound to particular groups and and denominations? I think these are really important in our day when the churches is not looking that good to those who are outside the church.


That can vary. Sometimes people really do see the the humanitarian things done by the church and acts of mercy that they do. But there's increasing public image, I think, of the church as a counterculture, as not able to engage culture. Is there a way of positioning the faith as not so obviously tied to the stereotypes that are out there and escapist? And as some of the speakers said, Lewis had a way of doing that in his day. That comes from, I think, first a belief in the universality. Of the Christian faith. Second element of a Christian, deeply Christian mind, I think is a transformational perspective. And Lewis certainly had a transformational perspective. You could unpack that idea a couple of different ways. One is the Christian life most deeply is about being transformed rather than having one's legal status changed, being reclassified. It's about letting the life of Christ take root in our lives and grow and begin to transform us in reality. And that is that's an ancient belief of the church. Another aspect of the transformational perspective, I think, is that Christian faith and Christian belief in Christian practice ought to have a transformational impact on society. And it may seem tougher and tougher to conceive of how that might go, but that's just up every generation up to those who are creative and courageous to figure it out and to grow where they're planted. So transformational where you are in a time and place, you find yourself. Remember the book by Niebuhr, Christ and Culture, and just looking through the table of contents, different relationships between Christ and culture that the church has assumed. One chapters and the Table of Contents. Christ Against Culture. Another chapter, Christ Above Culture. And there could be a little element of truth in any of these, but you work your way down to the last chapter.


Christ Transforming Culture. Not that we'll ever bring heaven on Earth, but the idea that culture is a creature and it's subject to redemption to and redemptive activities in the culture can be meaningful and impactful. And so not everything has to be churchy. I think Lou saw that so transformational both on the personal level and I think also in terms of outward expression and culture, transformational. The third point is that Christian life is participation in the divine life. If one is a robust Trinitarian and understands the inner life of God is itself a fellowship, a communion of family, and realizes that the ultimate invitation to human beings made in God's image is to become members of that family, to participate in that fellowship, to enter the joy, unending joy and fulfillment of that fellowship. These are just wholly new ways that aren't very churchy ways. I don't hear the stuff in church, wholly new ways of expressing what Christian life is about and the participation. That is not just our effort, but but it's God in us bringing us into His own life. A fourth element that I think is a mark of the Christian mind is a holistic approach that there's nothing in human life and really nothing in the whole universe that's outside the scope of God's creative activity. It's all a result somehow of his creative activity or outside the scope of his redemption and transformation. So this is not a major point for now. It may come up a little later. I don't see how we can view the creation as a discard, but that the whole of redemption in eschatological fulfillment is just about humans, that somehow the whole universe is being redeemed and we don't know what that's going to look like.


I can't draw a chart or give you a formula, but the idea that what has been originally created and has become damaged and in Lewis's words, wounded. Not destroyed, just marred, still a castle, but it needs to be healed, uplifted and made whole again. So a holistic approach doesn't leave anything outside of of the reach of Christian reason or Christian redemptive activity, or even the understanding of what's involved in the eschatological redemption of of everything. Including, I think, a holistic approach would include the different topics, the different subject matters, the different areas of knowledge that are legitimate and needed for a Christian to think about. But it's not just thinking about sacred things or theological things or spiritual things, or even pastoral things, sort of properly so-called. But everything should be under under the proper range and scope of Christian thinking. Different ones of us might have a little different calling to emphasize this or that, but it's all so important in the body of Christ as we engage the world redemptive fully. So holism, I think, in that regard as well. The whole of knowledge, the whole of truth. Fifth element, I would say, is a creation of the outlook that God at creation has certain purposes that were going to play out and that we have to view not only ourselves but everything in the universe as his creature, as a creation. And that creation as originally good, has value, and this includes the material dimension. There's not a thing in Christian theology that downplays devalues our materiality. So a creation outlook is affirming of the original and inherent goodness of everything and looks for its original purpose to be restored in God's redemptive activity. Well, I think I think I'll pause on my list and give us another break, and let's do 10 minutes and come back.


We'll finish up for today starting at about 3:00. So you then.