C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy - Lesson 23

Problem of Pain (Part 3)

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. 

Michael L. Peterson
C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy
Lesson 23
Watching Now
Problem of Pain (Part 3)

I. Story of Camus

II. Knowledge of God

III. Fall of Man (chapter 5)

A. Pseudo-scientific argument against a human fall

B. Philosophical argument against a fall

  • 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
Problem of Pain (Part 3)
Lesson Transcript


Vanishing Grace by Phil Yancey, didn't I? And, you know, I'm just interested in sort of stories of people's journey. And that was Francis Collins intersecting the personal journey of Christopher Hitchens. But I wanted to read from another another book that I had a little bit of a hand in some time in the mid-nineties. I was contacted by an elderly gentleman named Howard Moomaw. Actually, I was at home on a Saturday afternoon. I worked at the university across the street and he was in the library here and found Faith in Philosophy, which is a journal I published for over 30 years and had them call me. He thought maybe it was a seminary faculty at the time. Elderly gentleman. He introduced himself. He was I was once the pastor, the minister of the American church in Paris, and I pastored there for the last ten years of Albert Camus life. And we became personal friends. And as was well, you know, it's clear in the textbook. The textbook Kamerow is he's an atheistic existentialist. And as he says himself, he learned from Sartre that in a world where God is dead and science has explained everything, then humans are alone and desperately without hope or meaning. So Howard said to me, We became friends on that Saturday afternoon and we stayed in contact. He says, I've got a story. I don't want to die with me. And I thought you could help me get this published. And so I sat riveted as he told me of his interactions with Albert Camus, who I mean, we all know the name of the myth of six of us, The plague, the Stranger. We're there. Okay? And I mean, we're talking a major influential voice in the middle of last century.


And in many ways, the idea is they don't go by the name of existentialism so much anymore. But it's still clear if God is dead, the world is without meaning and without value, and humanity is desperately alone. That still remains the same. So even though in the in the current culture, the thought of the very visible voice is out there in the religion science discussion, they're claiming science has described all of reality and God is not included, you know. So the same sort of consequences follow. So partly for that reason, I've gone back to this book that I actually have almost never read since I helped him publish it. I had a friend, John Cooper, who ran a professional editing agency, and I just turned him over to my friend. John had done a Ph.D. with Paul Tillich at Chicago and was a Lutheran minister in the area, taught part time for us to college for a while, But I had to sort of examine John and see how much of Tillich, you know, might be residual, if you know what I mean. Okay. So John really helped helped this elderly gentleman very close to 90, I think, at the time and he's since deceased get this thing published. But he said upon being appointed as the American the minister to the American church in Paris and of course Europe as has been depopulating his churches for a long time. He thought he would try to work up interest in church by having a great conductor. But he was an organist. That's what he was, an organist. Do a concert on a Sunday afternoon. I can't think of the name of this fairly famous organist. And so then he would greet people as they left.


One went out the door. Typical minister strategy, You know what I'm saying? Okay. But one person said in the very back of the pew, seen it against the wall. He said, well, Tim French tear him on his head. And was the and waited for everybody to process out. And I'm sure he was so famous he didn't want to risk being recognized and just swarmed. And he introduced himself when he was shaking hands, leaving. I'm Albert Campbell and I need to talk to you. And so this book, Albert Campbell and the minister, I came out a few years ago and tells the story that's absolutely unknown in all the textbooks. Well, I teach Intro to Philosophy and we do Cameroon start. You know, you get the textbook atheist profile of Kamau. And so I'm glad this story was told. He talks about Kamau simply saying, I'm tired of the whole I quote, I am dissatisfied with the whole philosophy of existentialism. And I'm privately because he was a very public person. I'm privately seeking something that I do not have. He says, The reason I have been coming to church, Howard, is because I'm seeking I'm almost on a pilgrimage. You live that other world. World is meaningless. There is no God, you know. He says, I'm on a pilgrimage and I'm seeking something to fill the void that I'm experiencing and no one else knows. Certainly the public and the readers of my novels, while there, they see that void because it's represented in my books. They're not finding the answers either in what they're reading that I give them. But deep down, I am searching for something that the world is not giving me. Very interesting comment, he said. After ACS, I learn from Saad that man is alone.


We are solitary centers of the universe. He says. But you, Howard, have made it very clear to me on Sunday mornings who's going to church on Sunday mornings that we are not the only ones in this world, that there is something that is invisible. So he's not using typical Christian lingo. He's just searching. And he says, the fact is, one of the things that I have noted in the Bible is that many of its characters, many of its chief characters I'm sorry many of its chief characters were confused, just like the rest of us. He says they seem to be on a kind of pilgrimage. And so I've been reading the Bible. He says this is a long conversation. At the end of the conversation, he goes through Nicodemus. And Howard said to him, Albert. You are seeking the presence of God himself. It is. Albert, look to me. Look me squarely in the eye and with tears in his eyes, said Howard, I am ready. I want this. This is what I want to commit my life to. That was the end of a meeting. The next meeting he recorded, I'm not going to read it all. He brings up to Reverend Mama on the meaning of baptism. Asks about baptism. And so Mum was talking to him and he says, It's a symbol of your commitment. And he said, Well, I was I was baptized as a child and being a good Methodist was appointed by the Methodist bishop of Ohio to the American church in Paris ten years ago. Being a good Methodist, he says, Well, there's no reason for baptism, you know, And this is. But Albert didn't like that response and seemed to need the experience. He says, Probably my remark to Albert proved to be a mistake.


He said right away he he jumped on me and said, Howard, I'm not ready to stand up publicly and become a member of any church. I have difficulty attending church. I have to fight people all the time. After a service, even after your church. When I come to your church, when you're preaching, I leave before the service is over just to get away from them all. He's very famous. I mean, just hugely famous and influential. So it gets Albert to come down and he walks with him. He walks through what the the public ceremony would be. And Albert said, I'm not sure I'm ready to do that publicly. And he says Albert was was cringing. So he said. He says, Why don't you study this a little bit more, Albert? And we will we will talk about it again soon. So he just felt like he'd kind of gone as far as he could go. His appointment, ran out in Paris, came back to Ohio, and learned that just a few days after he returned, Kemmu had run his red convertible into a tree or something on the French Riviera and had been killed. And so he talks next chapters about going back and retracing the path Camille might have driven. So he never did get baptized. Going to join a church, the sort of public official kinds of things. But here you get a great thinker. I mean, we've got Lewis himself, who was on his own pilgrimage from atheism and materialism, you know, and all, and finally to a form of general theism and on to Christianity. And then with Campbell, I just kind of study these I just think these are really interesting. And in his heart, in his mind, it looked like he was there.


But the kinds of overt gestures we would want, they didn't they didn't happen. But nobody knows this. Every textbook to this day ignores this little book and presents him as a And then, of course, officially in his writings, he's an atheist existentialism. And so the textbooks aren't wrong about that. His writings do have that sense of meaninglessness and so on. But he couldn't live with any longer. That's really interesting to me. So Kimeu Albert Kimeu in the minister had a little hand in that, but what a shock on Saturday afternoon to be called by this gentleman who was just before I die. I've got to tell somebody this story is what he told me. Well, let's let's pray and we'll get into the material. Father, thank you for your presence with us. Thank you for being in the lives of these various individuals that we study, that we can observe, not just their intellectual process, but the the personal sense of longing and need that we believe you built within every human being. Help us to honor that as we learn to be better servants of yours in Christ Name, Amen. Trying to think where we left off. Remember where we left off? I think we're back on chapter five last time. Yes. A little spell. Last name a moment. That's an interesting name, isn't it? Emma. Emma. Emma. He's got a degree from Yale and was ordained in Ohio in the Methodist church. And then I guess through the Methodist bishop of Ohio at the time. So this would have been like 1950. What's his first name? Howard. Howard. I was thinking of the others. Howard Moomaw Interesting gentleman in the camp. Albert Kimmel. Yeah, I think in French. I don't do French. Uh, it's.


It's Albert. See, I am U.S.. So if you, if, if, you know, if we think about the great existentialist writers of the middle of the last century start camp, you probably tower over everybody else. There were theistic existentialism or just atheistic. But that theistic existentialism was its own animal. It agreed that we couldn't have objective knowledge of God. It agreed. So I don't see how classical orthodoxy could agree. Lewis wouldn't agree with that. You can have objective knowledge of God is not the totality of our relation to God. There's personal commitment, there's relationship. But I don't want you to say you can't you can't have any any knowledge. It's there's the shadow of card hanging over the 19th and 20th century that faith is not now. So you can have faith for the theistic existentialism. Existentialism. And that's a leap. It's an irrational leap. And it's born out of desperate need. But it could be to Judaism alone. Martin Buber, His book I and Thou taught this to thinkers of the Catholic theistic axis. But I think the most prominent people on the stage, on the intellectual stage, were the atheists who said, Yeah, you cannot objective lives God, and he's irrelevant or He's dead. So we just have to drudge on with our lives and move on. This book records an episode. One of the chapters. Kamau took him to search apartment in Paris and and Mumbai witnessed a big blow up between them. Irreconcilable differences. And they never spoke again. As I understand it, Sartre was just demanding that Camus join the Marxist Party in Paris because there is no God and the state or the society becomes the absolute. Then what we have to do is stick together, help each other, hopefully with a lot of status kinds of programs.


Until we all die, we make the best of it. Hanging together is the human race, and even at the time, Kamau was maybe considering Christian faith. And he's already started his friendship with Mama, who is right there in the apartment. And so he said, We left with Kamau, and it was kind of like the I'll never see you again, anathema to you and anathema to you kind of thing between between Sartre and Kamau. And that was that's quite a powerful man who knows these things, you know, And even back then, Kamau in articulately says the state is not the answer. I said to 30 last night some my mind. Yes, The existential assertion we can't have objective analysis right now is to say the opposite. How do we hold that ability to have objective knowledge about intention with the concept of revelation? I think about three steps either Would you say I am? Yeah. You're blessed because that is given to you as opposed to if flesh and blood has not the empirical has not given it to you. Well, could take us a little for a figure. Lewis is interested in those kinds of topics, though I could always justify something like that by just saying, Hey, Lewis was interesting. But I think if, say, knowledge with God relation to God is is multilayered, has multiple aspects and orthodoxy is always thought there's an objective dimension, there's God is real. He's given us various ways of accessing his reality and the mind is not irrelevant to that. We can formulate doctrine, we believe coming out of the great councils that we've formulated a whole series of, of affirmations that that crises are of the same substance as are that the second person of the Trinity is of the same substances as the father, and he's Trinitarian in his nature.


We believe those things are about reality, not just human constructs, though we like to play church with. So there's an objective dimension. It's not the kind of objectivity that the strict empiricist types who demand that the only thing that's objective is what's tangible. And so there was there was always a a reductionism about what objective knowledge means. But the shadow of card from the late 18th century hangs over the 19th and even even into the 20th, because the interesting system was really born in the middle of the 19th century with Kikau a religious person. A Danish Lutheran, and he follows the county in point, which is in the preface to Colin's critique of Pure Reason. We're speaking of the book to come 700 pages in my translation of the Norman Kim Smith translation. He says in the preface, I have found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith. Now, when you say that kind of thing, you've already driven a wedge. You're divorced. Knowledge and faith. I've had to deny knowledge, but the mechanisms and all the rational categories we have the way the human mind seeks knowledge. But I deny that those apply to God in order to say something about faith. Well, then, faith is not knowledge, and knowledge is not faith you've driven. And that that wedge, that dichotomy, I mean, is still with us and it just comes out in different language and different settings is in the church for sure. Interestingly, the dichotomy, that kind of dichotomy, which has its own variations in the church, is also accepted by nonbelievers. If science is knowledge, then faith isn't knowledge and faith much. Just say it's irrelevant. So are they right? Well, the spirit of existentialism coming out of the middle of the 19th century is is really so influenced by can't that faith is not knowledge.


And so in the 20th century, when existentialism has taken various twists and turns, it still got its theistic and religious strand. It still got atheistic strand running down through intellectual history. The dichotomy is still there. I don't know if I answer that very well or not. Think so. I mean, as you're talking is forming thoughts about it as well. And I was just thinking about the idea of reason as far as the process by which we come to know something is being worked with and through in the process of revolution. Yes. I think that's where I that's where I meant to follow that remark that I just made with the other kinds of layers. Or if if our relation gods kind of multilayer loose would say this. He does say this in so many words, there's got to be some some kind of objective dimension or we're living in unreality. We can call it true, you know. And so. On the other hand, there's also this deep need, which we were talking about, Camille, reflecting Lewis's whole argument from joy, the longing for something the world can. I mean, that's almost a quote from Camille here. I'm longing for something the world can like. Lewis says that almost exactly about himself and his own search. But he says his search was was intellectual. Yes, intellectual. And he sorted through different interpretations of reality. But it was also personal. And there was it was driven by a need, a felony that he was finally able to get to the surface and realize I need to act upon this need. I think that's really interesting. So when when Peter says, Your Christ, the son of the living God, there's got to be something objectively true about that.


That is and ran through his mind. There's also got to be some kind of deep personal awakening. And so I said, there are layers here with both. And there's another word or kind of language to use modes of revelation, modes of real objective knowledge and revelation and tension in the world and more. Yeah, because you can talk of revelation being objective or you can maybe the reception of it can be deeply personal, deeply subjective. I don't use those distinctions very much, but something both objective and subjective was going on in Peter's. Peter's sort of declaration. You're the Christ, the son of the living God. Of course, you know, even Louis himself was like this. And he says this about himself in his autobiography, demanding that if there is a God, that God make himself known certain ways, almost always empirically. So you get this a lot from different philosophers. Hey, God, if you're real, then spell in my alphabet soup. Spell your cause I'll believe. But see, they missed those kinds of things. Missed the theme that I do think is present in the in the Peter Passage you're quoting of the the sincere. Seeker. God does not seem to be in the business of just sort of complying with anybody's arbitrary demands so that they can claim they would then come to know him or believe in him. And I think that I think through the theme of the Sincere Seeker is also, I think, very important. So again, layers and layers. So there has to be some kind of openness and not just an arbitrary jump through this hoop. I mean, I believe there's a God. Yeah. Bertrand Russell was asked one time because, you know, he was such an influential philosopher right at the turn of the century, first few decades of the 20th century.


He was asked what he would do if he died and found himself before judgment, before God. And he said, I would simply say, not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence. It's not fair to hold me. You know, this is my interpretation. It's not fair to hold me responsible for something for which there was inadequate evidence to believe. I must. Standards of evidence. You didn't meet them. And now I'm culpable for not having believed in you. It's really interesting. And my that needs a lot more analysis. But his standards of evidence have long been shown to be inadequate. And the theme of the sincere seeker. I don't know if that's being satisfied in Russell's life. And so while things look different to you, if if you're sincerely seeking. You weigh things differently, you see patterns differ, you know. And that's very important. Okay. So I hope that was a little bit helpful that this resonates so much with Lewis, his own journey. I think we're about a chapter five, and maybe maybe that would be a place to try to go back and pick up our discussion on the fall of man. So I may say a few things that sort of hook back into where we left off, but we'll try to pick up the momentum and and move forward. Can you think? I mean, is there anything in chapter four of that on human wickedness? We did talk about original sin. We talked about total depravity. All this comes in his chapter called Human Wickedness that gave us the occasion to talk about some of those topics. And he's not speaking of them as a technical theologian, but I mean, he's an Anglican and he understands classical theological categories for these things. And so even writing this book at a low level, it's guided by, I think, pretty accurate theological instincts not to go overboard on how you define total depravity.


You know, he's pretty much an enemy of that anytime it comes up of the idea of this. Devastating, totally debilitating and devaluing condition, often going by the name of a priority. So we can we talk about some of those things. Okay. Maybe we can move on. Unless you see something that you want to correct me on or something like that. Okay. My grandkids know no bounds. They do it. You're wrong. Okay. But I don't hold grades over their heads. It's interesting. In the beginning of this chapter five, The Fall of Man, that Lewis talks about, the biblical story of the fall as a myth. Of course, the myth, the word myth is a technical term. And he says his use of the mirror, the term myth, means a narrative that has symbolic elements that convey significant truth. But it doesn't mean the symbolic elements need to be liberalized. Good to know. Okay. And I mean, that secret meeting I went to in New York a month ago, there was so much of a worry about how to treat a couple chapters of Genesis, you know, symbolic or literal. And it was just it was just really amazing to see as much energy as an energy I didn't have. But because I don't have the same theological background as many of the really stereotypical Protestants who are there. And so what one takes as important or as an issue can really depend on your theological background. So Louis, with his theological background, he has no trouble saying the first couple of chapters of Genesis are amazingly important. But let's get the deep truth. There's truth there. The very deep truth. There were created by God, sovereign and loving Creator, and that our only fulfillment as humans is to center our lives on God, in worship and love and obedience.


And, you know, and somehow that relationship with God has been ruptured and broken. All that truth is there, you know. So he says he calls it a myth. That's a technical use of the term myth. It hardly means falsehood, anything like that. But he says there are arguments out there against a human fall. And he says one argument. He calls it a pseudoscientific argument. And this is this is out there in its own revised versions still in the religion science discussion. The pseudoscientific argument goes something like this early humans were primitive, savage, so forth. And we have no reason to think then that that concepts like goodness would apply to them or innocence would apply to them. I think in response to that. I mean, that's really interesting. I mean, you look at all the different species of hominids, you know, all the homo species grouped together under the under the canopy of hominid. And there are very seemingly varying degrees of expressions of intelligence, varying degrees of expression, of spiritual awareness, either in how they bury their dead or in cave paintings that we've uncovered. You know, and I don't have anything really systematic to say about that, but it's not totally wrong to say early humans were relatively primitive. Well, whether we call them human is really the question. See. Whether the also Australopithecus would be human. Certainly pre-human, you know, and so but the pseudoscientific argument says, you know, why say they were morally good. They didn't have those categories clearly defined that have moral ideals to which they could live up to say, well, they're really being good. I think one good response to that would be to say, really, science can tell us all it can about all of the details of the human and pre-human past.


Great. But science doesn't deal with categories of good and evil and has no business speaking about them. And or about whether there was or was not some kind of moral and spiritual fall. And what that fall exactly look like is much more of a theological discussion than a scientific discussion. Science just does not have the categories. It doesn't have the interpretive lens to get into that. But I encounter this all the time that. We know that there had to be 10,000, maybe 12,000 reproductively active humans. Early humans first have the genetic diversity that we can see in the genome today. Couldn't couldn't go back to a single pair that it couldn't be. So these are really interesting things. And so science can know what it can know, but it shouldn't tramp over into the other territory. And so that could have been a fall or categories of good and or innocent could not apply. So, Louis, if you think about it, he does not object. He does not. And in the face of this criticism against a false argument, against any kind of a fall, he doesn't object to the scientific and factual claim that humans are descended from more primitive hominid forms and lineages. He didn't object that. In fact, he's affirming. He's as best we know, as best we know. But he says we don't make moral judgments about animal behavior. It's only when we we have become humanized and bring standards to our behavior. We make moral judgments. So a lot of times answering a criticism. Intelligently correctly it figure out what part of the criticism may be still correct. And I shouldn't reject it all because that rejection will then look uninformed or unenlightened. And and so he doesn't reject anything, but he stays right on message that science doesn't have anything to say about the spiritual and moral dimension but does not object to.


We know a lot more now about, you know, from a genome project, we were able to use that technology and retro retrospect backed to know, you know, things about the early humans. Okay. So there's a pseudo scientific argument. The philosophical argument against the fall, he says, is that early humans had not developed a social conscience which could be codified as law. Well, if you don't have anything that could be called law, then there's nothing to sin against. So the earliest humans who had not developed a social conscience, if they don't have something that could be a law, how could they send? But I think a reply would run along these lines that the theological and biblical view is not that there was a social sin that the whole set of of early humans sinned against a law. The deeper truth even, is that they separated from God. See, and that's true. I mean, that that over the developmental trajectory of the human race, we become more articulate in society about our expectations for how people should behave, how we should act, how we should act toward others. We have begun to codify morality into what we recognize as, you know, ethical law and so on. But laws are saying there's even a deeper kind of error. But they begin to organize their lives apart from God, not to think of him as the center of their law and so on. And so really, the sin of pride for Lewis caused a set of us to set up our own experience, our own existence, without reference to God. So self-will, pride, self, idolatry, however you want to put it. That's the core of the human break. Not that the civilization had evolved to the point where there were stated laws that were, you know, well-established in that kind of thing.


Be that as it may, one way or the other, Lewis keeps trying to penetrate down to the deeper level. It's about separating our lives off and going our own way. So now we all have a built in gravitational pull away from God. So when our proper role as a human creature is to rely on God and so forth, we now just ignore that and rely on ourselves. Did you did you look at his story, his telling of of the story of the early humans that took several pages. I mean, he got into a best of the best he could do with the scientific information of his day, plus his theological sense of how to tell the story for theological purposes. It's all, I think, pretty interesting. He's way ahead of of I think a lot of ways in which the religious community still thinks about these things. But he does call it does he say this is a myth in the Socratic sense and not in Niebuhr sense? Yeah, I have one. Yeah. He makes a statement that I feel like it's in some ways. It seems to stand juxtaposed to feeling like an alien and not intrinsic metaphysical. Right, Right. He says at the end of this little narrative, which is a new species never made by God, has to have its own existence, had done what itself and itself into existence. Oh, yeah, that's interesting that a new species, not intended by God had sinned, never maybe exist. Yeah. Yeah, that's interesting. Probably he's got some equivocation going on the word species and things, but still, that's. That's an interesting turn of phrase. Yeah. I mean, it confuses the change which made it under God was not parallel to a new development of a new habit.


It was a radical alteration of this constitution, a disturbance of the relation between its component parts and an internal perversion of one of them. Yeah. Yeah. At least he's not going the direction of saying with sin a new substance entered. So with sin, a derangement entered. So the parts were created by God, so to speak. So what we have with sin now is things have a dysfunction. That's a big theme all through Lewis. But he says that they're kind of in an interesting way. But I think you'll find that's a theme through Lewis. So we're not our true selves. He even says at one point in this chapter with the fall, does he say we lost control over our own bodies? I don't know how to cash that out. But, I mean, if you see me on a basketball court, I might look clumsy down the hallway. I'm like a ballerina. I've got full control with a basketball in my hand, my high tops on. Okay. So you can believe there's a myth and there's just a deeper truth. I'm telling. But not literally. It's all up to you. But those are interesting statements to me. Nobody can really nail this down. What is it exactly that constitutes the damage? Well, we know it's departing from God. We can say it at the deepest. But then how does that cash out? Is that when sickness entered and pain? He even says, no, it couldn't be. There had to be sickness and pain and death long before there were humans or there couldn't even have been humans. Because you have to weed out the weak in the pre-human subhuman animal kingdom to get the degree of health and function, such as it is the degree of health and function and adequacy that various species reflect.


And that means pain and death. He, as he says himself, we're part of the of the animal world long before humans appeared. And so too for him to make a comment like that. He says the soul lost total control over its own body. He's not explicitly committing there to a dualism of of two substances, a sole substance and a physical substance. You could be more Aristotelian, could you, or atomistic and say the soul is the form of the body. The soul won't exist without the body, but the soul is not reducible to the body, you know. So there are different metaphysical models of what how to think about soul that that we can discuss here. It's not like I think a lot of people instinctively say we use the word so it must be in a substance that it can exist totally on its own without a body could mean that Plato thought that early Christian centuries pulled a lot of Plato into there. Or you could think the soul, the mind, the self is more intimately tied to the body, is still not reducible to the body, not merely the body. And but somehow, with all those metaphysical debates possible beneath the surface. His statement. The soul lost control over its own body is still really interesting. And yet I don't even know what what to make of it. Could mean that now pain and death and cancer and that just now is able to enter it just to see how scientifically we can't say that. Yeah, I just I think he kind of says that the combination of the two events and the partition of consciousness, that rationality in which God allows the Spirit to kind of supersede natural law, and I guess that's what he says.


And then with the fall, the spirit of natural law takes back over to the sense of which death, pain and suffering sickness existed pre the pre or pre the pre biology event. Yep. Then there was the pre volume and it's kind of I guess obviously perfection. I think there's a lot of Augustinian. Yeah. He says like the the spirit the spirit had control of the body such that you could basically choose when you would die. And he makes that statement. Yeah. Like you could let how you want it not to be hurt, how you want it that eventually that spirit will fall. Yeah. You know, a lot of those statements are hard to understand exactly why he would feel he should make them. You could choose when you would die, you know, I guess you do a living will. I don't know if they had if they're lawyers back then, but you're very interesting. But again, it just strikes me he's he's he's exhibiting the difficulty with good theological instincts, rock bottom, good theological. His exhibiting the difficulty of articulating in what. The effects of the fall. Consist. Would you say that's a fair and as smart as he is? I can look, I could put him down, read another author who gives it a shot, another article. And I would I almost feel like nobody ever nails it. And but what I like about Louis is he does know the deepest truth truths. We separate from God and all this other stuff. So lost control over its body. I know no empirical description of what's happening there. Spirit before the fall could somehow supervision on natural law give me a mechanism for how? You know, I just want a little bit more than that.


I will say this, that I'm really big on taking what is kind of a lay presentation in Louis, and I've got this project Go. I think I gave you I gave you the book proposal, I think in the online classroom that I submitted to Oxford. So this time next year I hope to turn it, turn it in the manuscript. But I'm just saying, the lay kinds of arguments Louis makes can be given greater intellectual sophistication, more appropriate to like the give and take in the philosophical arena. And what he says the spirit at one point was able just to sort of supervision on it, because natural laws are running the world. But here comes a creature, Homo sapiens, emerging on the face of evolutionary history that. He's committed to is not just controlled completely by natural law, by physical law, it somehow can have top down influence. Kind of like this other weather pyramid. But all the physi all the physical aspects that make up our functioning. If we see mind or self or soul is kind of the the highest aspect of our humanity, take that away. We really are just kind of hairless apes, you know? And so when you reach that level, it can exert top down influence. But without that. Whether it's the great apes or the chimps or the bonobos, things that are close, really close to us, you know, or anything else in nature, living or not living organic or not organic. It seems totally a product of all these natural laws, but we make choices. We think I can take this course of action or I can take this other course. So there's something we have that I just think is hard to talk about. But you can you can say we exert top down causality, but up to the point of brain development are more complex brain and so on.


A neural system are. It looks like things are kind of physically determined. Physical processes are determined by the various laws that science has told us about that run the world. But with the appearance of humans, we have now this new power that can be contra causal. So. So partly. So again, my point is I can take comments that he makes that I think, well, that could be a little more precise. It doesn't mean he's stupid. He's just writing for a certain audience and, you know, for certain purpose. For my purposes, I want everything to be more precise, to be kind of transferred into a crisp inner arena of of analytical precision and was put in that arena. It needs sympathetically, not sympathetically, but sympathetically to be represented a little more sharply and substantially than what it might seem like on the surface of his page. I really know very little out there that does this for loss, puts him in interaction with a lot of the great philosophers, with a lot of the great philosophical ideas, and sees sees how he, you know, put on the same level and he's some help. It's a lot of what he intended to say, but it's just express for laypeople. So if he's seen the spirit before the fall had complete ease and complete control, the human spirit of of our total being, I translate that sympathetically in a little more technical way of of putting it. We call it contra causal free will that all the causes of nature that make everything else do what they do don't totally control the human rational. Person we now can exert a top down. Cause that's. That's the way it's talked about these days. Yeah. So that. That all part of the country.


Causality, you say like with Paul the apostle Paul. No. In in contrast to with the contra with the fall. Yeah. I'm sorry. I mean are you saying that you no longer have that complete. I think that's, that's what we're saying. The passage seems to suggest that one time the spirit had what ah he says is like a complete, complete. He says another way to explain is organic processes. Obey the law. That's going well. Yeah. And that's maybe a little bit extreme too. Yeah. He says his organs would set an appetite based on judgment so we could no longer his stupor. But a consciousness response. Yeah, Yeah. Of tissues are obedient to your. Well, it's a natural. Yeah. And there's a colonial classicist in him there a lot of classicist instinct being. And again, I wouldn't liberalize much of that in Lewis myself, but I would say, hey, he's getting at the damage done by separating from God. And I don't know that it has to cash out exactly the way he so as me. Should we take a break and then come back in a little while?