The Don: Humble Science

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‘But he [Joseph] came to believe in the Virgin Birth afterwards, didn’t he?’

‘Quite. But he didn’t do so because he was under any illusion as to where babies came from in the ordinary course of nature. He believed in the Virgin Birth as something super-natural. He knew nature works in fixed, regular ways: but he also believed that there existed something beyond nature which could interfere with her workings—from outside, so to speak.’

‘But modern science has shown there’s no such thing. ‘

‘Really,’ said I. ‘Which of the sciences?’

‘Oh, well, that’s a matter of detail,’ said my friend. ‘I cant give you chapter and verse from memory.’

“But, don’t you see.’ said”I, ‘that science never could show anything of the sort?’

‘Why on earth not?’

Because science studies nature. And the question is whether anything besides nature exists—anything “outside”. How could you find that out by studying simply nature?’

——C.S. Lewis, “Religion and Science” in C.S. Lewis Essay Collection & Other Short Pieces (HarperCollins Publishers, 2000), pp. 143–144

The Don: “I See Macbeth, but Where’s Shakespeare?”

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“The Russians, I am told, report that they have not found God in outer space…

Looking for God—or Heaven—by exploring space is like reading or seeing all Shakespeare’s plays in the hope that you will find Shakespeare as one of the characters or Stratford as one of the places. Shakespeare is in one sense present at every moment in every play. But he is never present in the same way as FalstafFor Lady Macbeth. Nor is he diffused through the play like a gas.

If there were an idiot who thought plays existed on their own, without an author (not to mention actors, producer, manager, stage-hands and what not), our belief in Shakespeare would not be much affected by his saying, quite truly, that he had studied all the plays and never found Shakespeare in them.” —C.S. Lewis, “The Seeing Eye”

The Don: Waking from the Myth of Scientific Cosmology

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

The Threat in the Trenches (Psalm 11)

In the LORD I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
     “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
     they have fitted their arrow to the string
     to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed,
     what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:1–3 ESV)

Often the enemy uses a big boom so that friendly fire becomes the greatest threat. The hazard posed by the wicked outside the walls isn’t as dangerous as the advice from those inside them. The fool in the trench is often more deadly than the distinguished sniper across the line.

When the secularists, evolutionists, humanists, and materialists ridicule the Bible, our dukes are up. When our friends give advice, our guard is down and our ears are open. Professing Christians tell us that inerrancy and inspiration are indefensible. They must be abandoned for higher ground. Likewise, marriage, gender, penal substitutionary atonement, and even truth itself are “advised” against for the sake of the faith and the perpetuity of the church. What faith is left to defend by the time we’ve retreated to their higher ground?

The church is a mighty ironclad. She has long been bombarded by pagan shells. Faithless cowards hear modern clangs and think them louder than the ancient arsenal. They panic telling us to jump ship, unaware of the shark infested waters we sail in.

David receives advice from those concerned about him and the kingdom. Dealing with the facts as presented their counsel seems reasonable and logical. The problem is that it fails to take in the fact—God. The counsel given in vv. 1–3 is as godless as the taunts of the wicked. In contrast, David exclaims.

The LORD is in his holy temple;
     the LORD’s throne is in heaven;
     his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.

When we’re advised to abandon the Bible or it’s truths because of some new threat, nothing has changed. God still reigns. It is in the eternal, omnipotent, immutable God that we take refuge. “How can they say to us…?”

The Apologist: Evolution a Theory with Many Unroofs

[E]ven if I were still and agnostic, as once I was, I would not accept the concept of evolution from the molecule to man in unbroken line. My rejection of this does not turn upon my being Christian, but comes rather because I think this concept is weak and certainly has not been proven (in any sense of the word proven). It is a theory with may unproofs.  —Francis Schaeffer, No Final Conflict

The Apologist: Proof of God’s Existence as Inescapable as Yourself

Each time one man communicates with another, whether he knows it or not, even if he is the greatest blasphemer that ever lived or the atheist swearing at God, even when he swears, even when he says, “There is no God”—he bears testimony to what God is. God has left himself a witness that cannot be removed. —Francis Schaeffer, Genesis in Space and Time

The Apologist: There Are Only a Few Possible Answers and Only One Intelligent Answer

Man is shut up to relatively few answers. I think we often fail to understand that the deeper we go into study at this point, the simpler the alternatives become. In almost any profound question, the number of final possibilities is very few indeed. Here there are four: (1) Once there was absolutely nothing and now there is something, (2) Everything began with an impersonal something, (3) Everything began with a personal something, and (4) There is and always has been a dualism. —Francis Schaeffer, Genesis in Space and Time