The Religious Beliefs of C.S. Lewis
29 SEP 2017
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) became the world's most famous spokesman for Christianity by the 1950s. Born into a Protestant family in Belfast, his mother was a mathematician and his father was a lawyer. Lewis began writing books on Christian apologetics after converting to Christianity in 1931. A professor of medieval literature at Cambridge University, Lewis divided his time between working as an English professor and writing fiction and apologetics. He became world famous for his Narnia fiction series, which he began writing in the early 1950s.
1 Human Free Will
Lewis believed in the doctrine of human free will. In his book “The Problem of Pain,” Lewis argued that God allows suffering in the world in order to ensure human free will. He argued that true love and goodness are impossible without free will. Toward the end of his life, Lewis wrote the book “A Grief Observed” to explore the meaning of his own suffering after his wife died of cancer.
2 Christ's Resurrection
Lewis stayed with the traditional Christian belief that Christ was fully God and fully human during his life on earth. In his book “Mere Christianity,” C.S. Lewis referred to Christ as “the Man who was God.” In the same book, he affirmed his belief in the virgin birth of Christ. Lewis's most famous depiction of Christ's death and resurrection was in his children's fiction book “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” wherein the character Aslan is killed and then comes back to life again.
3 Divine Love
Lewis differentiated between unconditional divine love and the lower forms of love. In his book “The Four Loves,” Lewis argued that divine love is the only form that enables a person to love without regard to self-interest. He believed that divine love was supernaturally implanted into humans by God, a phenomenon Lewis calls “the moral law.” According to a PBS biographical essay on Lewis, he believed that the Christian definition of love was what differentiated it most from alternative religions.
4 The Trilemma
One of Lewis's most famous religious arguments is known as the “trilemma.” It is a response to those who believe Jesus was a great moral teacher but not a deity. Lewis argued that since Jesus most definitely claimed to be God, he is either truly the Son of God or a sinister liar or a lunatic. But he is certainly not a non-deity who was a good moral teacher, said Lewis. He wrote about the trilemma in his book “Mere Christianity.”