Professor at Oxford University Clive Staples Lewis was one of the most outstanding Christian apologists of the last century. By the end of his professional career, he concluded that the modern theory of evolutionary naturalism is an “illusion of pure water.” The detailed substantiation of this conclusion Lewis has stated in the late works.
Clive Staples Lewis (29.11.1898-22.11.1963) was one of the most outstanding Christian apologists of the last century. From 1925 until his death in 1963, 1 Lewis taught medieval and early modern English literature at Oxford University. The professors were called “one of the most outstanding minds of the 20th century”. Lewis is the holder of three diplomas with honors in the philosophy of Oxford University and the author of about fifty books, mainly on literary criticism and Christian apologetics. Clive was a versatile person and in his works touched on a variety of topics. He was brought up in Christian traditions, but at the age of 15, he decided to become an atheist, in part because in college he encountered distelology – the doctrine of the imperfection of nature.
In his early works, such as “Just Christianity,” Lewis seemed to accept (at least in part) evolutionism. But as a deeper study of this theory, in his works, began to appear a living opposition to organic evolution, which he dubbed the “Great Myth”.
At 33, after many years of internal search and enthusiasm for reading theological writings of such scientists as George MacDonald, Lewis returns to Christianity. MacDonald represented the basis of Christian apologetics in the form of short stories. It was in this genre that later Clive Lewis himself became famous. Soon Lewis becomes “the leading Christian apologist of the 20th century”. He is recognized as “the most popular religious writer of our time, although his main occupation remains scientific activity and teaching at the university.”
Lewis enjoyed great respect. His work was often published in both scientific and popular publications. Being a very influential person of his time, he remains widely known today. His works, translated into 30 languages, are sold in millions of copies. In one of the seven parts of The Chronicles of Narnia, namely, according to Lewis’s book “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” a full-length Hollywood film was shot. Such Christian apologetic works of Lilius as “Just Christianity”, “Suffering”, “Letters of Balamut” and “Man is Abolished” are still very popular and have high apologetic significance.
Many of today’s well-known Christians owe the works of Lewis their appeal from atheism. Among them, Christian Leader Chuck Colson and leading geneticist Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project, are among them. Lewis considered it his duty to return Christianity to the post-Christian world. He devoted his lectures and books to this goal. The results surpassed all expectations, and above all his own.
Confrontation Lewis evolution and naturalism
Lewis was particularly concerned about two themes: evolution and naturalism. He concluded that they are internally contradictory because they do not correspond to facts or logic. In his early works, such as “Just Christianity,” Lewis seemed to accept (at least in part) evolutionism. But as a deeper study of this theory, in his works, began to appear a living opposition to organic evolution, which he dubbed the “Great Myth”. Ferngren and Numbers concluded that as far as their research and reflection were concerned, “the assertions of organic evolution caused Lewis more and more objections.”
Having studied this matter more in-depth, he also rejected theistic evolution. In 1960, Lewis wrote that the theistic evolution of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (“Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)” a crazy evolution…which was extolled to the skies. “Although Lewis criticized the mysticism of de Chardin’s evolutionary fabrications, and not the theistic evolution as such, his arguments concerned other attempts to justify theistic evolution. Lewis attached great importance to this topic. He believed that “from the moment when people learned to think, they began to think about what the universe is and how it happened.”
Then he explained that “In the most general terms, there are two points of view on this score. The first is the so-called materialistic point of view. People who share it believe that matter and space simply exist, they always existed and no one knows why; that matter, which behaves in a certain way, once and for all in a traditional way, accidentally contrived to produce such creatures as we are capable of thinking. ”
This point of view (naturalism) did not impress him because, as he explained, his probability is less than one in a thousand: “Something struck our sun, and the planets separated from him, and by the same other chance, the probability of which is not higher than the probability of the previous one, on one of these planets there appeared the chemical elements necessary for life. The necessary temperature, and thus a part of the matter on this planet came to life, and then, after going through a long series of accidents, the living beings evolved in t Kie highly organized, as we have with you.”
The second point of view (religious) Lewis considered much more rational because “the source of the origin of the visible universe should be sought in some mind (rather than in anything else). This mind has consciousness, it has its goals and prefers one thing to others. From the religious point of view, it is this mind that created the universe, partly for the sake of some goals, about which we do not know, and partly to produce beings like themselves, I mean – endowed with him, like him, with reason”.
Then Lewis refutes the view that creationism is outdated and should be replaced by a modern “scientific” point of view, that is, evolution, aptly remarking: “Please do not think that one of these points of view existed a long time ago, and the other gradually pushed it out. Wherever there used to be thinking people, they existed both”.
Finally, Lewis emphasizes that very often science turns into a religion and that it is impossible to determine which of these two points of view – creation or evolution – is the rights in matters of origin from a scientific point of view. Science “works by experiment. She observes how things, materials, elements, etc. behave. Any scientific statement, no matter how complex it may seem, ultimately amounts to the following…”I put some amount of this substance in a vessel, heated it up to such and such a temperature, and it turned out this and that.”
Lewis clarifies: “I have nothing against science. I just explain how it works. And the more learned a person, the sooner (I hope) he will agree with me that this is precisely what science is about, that is its use and necessity. But why all these objects that science studies exist in general and whether something completely different from them stands behind these objects is not at all a matter of science.”
Lewis concludes that with the help of science this issue can not be solved, because “If something exists” beyond the whole of the reality that we are observing, it will either remain unknown to people or let them know about themselves in some special way…and the real scientists usually do not make similar statements. More often they are journalists and authors of popular novels, who grabbed unchecked scientific data from textbooks.”
In his later works, Lewis explains in more detail why evolution and naturalism cause concern in her.
The opposition of Lewis evolution
With the help of science and naturalistic reasoning, Darwinists try to show that our world and its inhabitants are the result of a thoughtless and purposeless system that emerged under the influence of the laws of physics and chemistry by pure chance, thanks to coincidences in time. Lewis fiercely opposed this understanding, using the arguments of science and logic. His personal point of view on naturalism and Darwinism became clear as early as 1925. In a letter to his father, Lewis wrote:
“The consolation of my life would be to know that the last word is not for the scientist and materialist, and that Darwin and [Herbert] Spencer, undermining the faith of their ancestors, built their foundation on sand from inflated assumptions and irreconcilable contradictions at a depth of one inch from the surface.”
In his book “The Dangerous Idea of Clive Lewis” Victor Reppert (Victor Reppert) offers a detailed, logically consistent explanation of Lewis’s thinking. Contrary to the critics’ dislike, he shows that Lewis’s main argument stands the test of modern philosophy.
One of his most significant works “Miracle” (photo 3) is an excellent critical evaluation of naturalism – a worldview based on the evolution and exaltation of man. According to Lewis, naturalists think that life was not created because they do not believe in the existence of the Creator. Then he shows that, in fact, naturalism is the same atheism. Lewis emphasizes that we are forced to “deduce evolution from fossils” and that “knowledge as such depends on the correctness of reasoning.” Thus, “science will be true only if human reasoning is correct.”
Funeral of the “Great Myth”
In his essay The Funeral of the Great Myth, Lewis explained why he considered evolution to be the “Great Myth” of the nineteenth and twentieth century, which he wanted to bury. He even called the Myth of Evolution a “tragedy”. In 1951, Lewis wrote that evolution was “the main and worst lie in the whole network of deception that now governs our lives” and modern civilization.
Evolution, Lewis explained, reflects the world created by the imagination and is not “a logical consequence of what the vague name” modern science “has.” Lewis also notes that most people believe in evolution because “so scientists say.”
He concludes that the evolutionary theory appeared long before the necessary scientific research was carried out, and in the creation of Myth, “the imagination runs ahead of scientific evidence.” Evolution, says Lewis, struck the minds of a wide variety of people – professors and famous personalities, such as Walt Disney. It “is read between the lines in almost every modern work related to politics, sociology, ethics.” Evolution also struck English literature, as seen in Keats in Hyperion (II 206-15). Lewis stressed that the Myth “is collected from various scientific theories,” supplemented and amended “by emotional demands.” He was very concerned about the harm that caused “insincerity of biologists who adhere to traditional views.” Lewis did not deny science, but believed that “all scientific theories are relative and depend on changing assumptions and public opinion about new empirical data.”
He writes that true science sees in evolution only a hypothesis about the changes that we observe when we study nature. On the contrary, the general public believes that the Myth is a “fact, reduced to the improvement” of living organisms. A common understanding of evolution involves moving “up and down”, and “if science can offer any arguments in support of such an Evolution, they will gladly accept it. If she offers arguments against, they will not be noticed. ”
In summary, Lewis says that we live in an age of absurdity. An example supports his conclusion with a teacher who explained that evolution implies the development of life from simple organisms to more complex plants and animals, then to monkeys and, finally, from monkeys to man. According to Lewis, “science requires more faith than theology”.
He emphasizes that the doctrine of evolution is “exactly a hypothesis” and adds that “the evolutionary doctrine that biologists practice…as a hypothesis is even less convincing than scientists had hoped fifty years ago.” Then Lewis writes that it is necessary to distinguish between what is evolution and what is “the universal evolutionism of modern consciousness. By universal evolutionism, I mean the belief in the absolute correctness of the formula of the universal process: from imperfect to perfect, from small to large, from elementary to complex. This belief forces people to consider it natural that morality arises from cruel prohibitions, mature relationships – from infantile sexual inappropriateness, reason – from instinct, consciousness – from matter, organic – from inorganic, space – from chaos. This, perhaps, is one of those ideas of the modern human mind, which has settled very deeply.”
Evolutionary naturalism, Lewis concludes, “is completely unbelievable, because then the overall development of nature will be completely unlike the development of that part of nature that we can observe.” Regarding what was the first – a chicken or an egg – Lewis wrote: the tacit agreement of the modern world with “universal evolutionism is a kind of optical illusion that arises because they only look at the appearance of the [hen] from the egg. We have been taught since childhood that if you plant an acorn, an ideal oak will grow out of it, but do not say that the acorn itself fell from a perfect oak tree. We are constantly reminded that a person has evolved from a fetus, but they forget to say that the fetus itself appeared from two adult human beings. We like to emphasize that the modern Express is a descendant of the “Rockets”, but we forgot that the “Rocket” itself did not come from an elementary locomotive, but because of something much more sophisticated and complex, namely, the mind of a genius person. Thus, the obviousness and naturalness that most people allegedly found in the concept of emergent evolution are an illusion of pure water.”
Lewis notes that both these examples do not support evolutionary naturalism, but, on the contrary, are evidence of a rational design that manifests itself in development. The appearance of a tree from seed was conceived in advance, just as the presence of more perfect mechanisms is conditioned by the work of the human mind. Neither one nor the other can’t be called the result of random mutations, the mechanism of evolution. Both that and another arose for another reason, whose name is a reasonable design. Lewis adds: “…since the egg-chicken-egg order does not give us an answer to who was the first, it is quite reasonable to seek out the true origin beyond this sequence. To find the true creator of the rocket, you need to stop looking for it among the locomotives. It would also be wise to seek the true Creator of the natural order beyond the limits of creation.”
Lewis questions about natural selection
Lewis did not accept evolution also because of natural selection, which lies at its basis, contradicts the following truth: “…the incalculable evolutionary character of modern thought always causes us to forgetfulness. Everything important and useful can’t survive. More developed organisms often die under less developed ones. Ants, like people, are subject to accidental and fatal death.”
Lewis quotes Professor Watson, who wrote that evolution is “accepted by zoologists not because someone has watched it happen, or…that its truth can be proved logically, but because of its only alternative – Creation – is implausible.”
In another of his articles, after another quote from Watson, Lewis asks a rhetorical question: “Does this mean that the whole controversy of modern naturalism is not based on obvious evidence, but simply on a priori metaphysical prejudices? Is it possible that it was created not for the sake of truth, but in order not to let God in?
Lewis protests, in particular, against the deliberate distortion of facts to fit them under the Myth. For example, “the theory of change has become a theory of improvement,” as a result of which evolution began to explain the emergence of all material:
“Not only terrestrial organisms, but everything is moving” forward and upward. “The mind “developed” from instinct, virtue from complexes, poetry from passionate howls and rales, civilization from barbarism, organic from inorganic, solar system from star broth or traffic jam.”
Lewis concludes that evolution is not a logical conclusion based on the interpretation of data using accepted scientific methods, but this is the result of imagination, so it is so easy for a person to believe in it. We prefer to believe that we and our generation are more developed than the generation of our parents or their parents. And everything that reinforces this faith, Lewis emphasizes, carries our pride.
Advertisers welcome Myth
The myth fell to the liking of advertisers. He reinforces the belief that the old should be replaced by a new, more refined, more economical and better in all respects. People tend to believe in what they want to think, and the availability of evidence is a secondary matter. Lewis gives a good reason why politicians do not let Mifu die: they want to convince us that their proposals are better than previous ones. This was clearly seen in the example of America in 2008, when the electoral advertising companies of both parties, especially the democrats, focused on “the changes that we can believe in.”
Lewis also talks about the miracle of the human mind, which serves as a refutation of evolution and notes that “Myth requires me to believe that reason is simply an unintended and unintended by-product of a senseless process at one of the stages of an endless and purposeless becoming. Thus, the very essence of Myth knocks out from under my feet the only reason for believing that this myth is true. If my mind is a product of the irrational; if what seems to me to be a clear, logical thinking is just a complex of sensations peculiar to my beings, how can I trust my mind when it tells me about the Evolution?”
Lewis emphasizes that Myth “was complete nonsense; But you need to be a complete bore, so as not to admire his charm.” Nevertheless, Lewis advises treating Mifu with reverence, because “He gives us almost everything that our imagination craves – irony, heroism, space, unity in diversity and a tragic ending. Everything that is in me, joyfully responds to it – all but the mind. That’s why those who feel that the Myth has already died for us should avoid mistakes and not try to “debunk” it by any means. Do not delude yourself, believing that we are saving the modern world from something gloomy, drying up the soul. The truth is just the opposite. To awaken the enchanted world from sleep is our hard duty”.
Lewis says that he grew up believing in the myth of evolution and felt – and still feels – “his almost perfect grandeur.”
“Who dared to say that our age is devoid of imagination? Neither the Greeks nor the Scandinavians wrote a better story. Even in these days, staying in a special mood, I sometimes at heart want that it was not a myth, but truth. But is it possible? ”
After a thorough study of Myth, Lewis concluded: he can not accept it because he can not agree with the statement that people and the human mind “is simply an unforeseen and unintended by-product of a meaningless process at one of the stages of an endless and aimless becoming.” One of the reasons is that the very essence of Myth knocks out from under the feet the only reason for believing that this myth is true. Victor Reppert6 writes that Lewis demonstrates perfectly how Darwin used argument in a vicious circle. If materialism or naturalism is true, then scientific thinking can’t be believed. If we are serious about our obligation to spread the Christian faith, then it becomes clear to us that the Myth is a serious obstacle to evangelism, both hidden and explicit. Myth attacks our world from all sides. It affects schools, books, reserves, media and news.
Lewis proclaimed the eternal God, believing that “there was no time when” there was nothing: then there would be nothing now.” In the end, the apologist says that he does not believe in the myth. Lewis is also convinced that the application of the term “creation” to the fruits of human labor “misleads” because we humans are capable only of rearranging the things created by God, and in us, there is no trace of the true ability to create a new:
“Try to imagine another basic color, the third sex, the fourth dimension, or even a monster that does not resemble any existing animal… we recombine the parts created by Him into which He has already invested His meaning.”
Lewis checks his views on the evolution
The primary source of information about Lewis’s anti-Darwinian views is his manuscript entitled The Myth, published after his death. The second important source is the collection of his unpublished letters to Captain Acworth, head of the Movement Against Evolution. About his rejection of evolution, Lewis often spoke in private conversations than publicly. There were several reasons for this. Firstly, he was not a biologist and did not want to openly argue, because he felt insecure when discussing scientific issues.
Secondly, he understood that the constant criticism of evolution on his part would cause great dislike to him and his works and, in the end, would distract attention from his primary works on Christian apologetics. Thirdly, he had once accepted the idea of theistic evolution and only after careful study of it did severe doubts arise in Darwin’s teaching. And, finally, in the book “Miracle” Lewis outlined the weighted criticism of naturalism, which bothered him most. This book is still published and is considered a classic of literature.
Although Lewis did not talk openly about creationism, he indirectly propagated it in many books. So, Lewis writes:
“When the Lord created space and the worlds moving in it, clothed the Earth with air and gave us eyes and imagination, He knew what a heaven would mean for us. He does not do anything just like that. If He knew, then He meant it. Perhaps, that is why nature was created”.
And again: “We are limited beings – we can understand the Governor. His glory is displayed in a variety of forms – stars, forests, water, animals and people’s bodies “and it is in them that we see the proof of the existence of God (teleological argument). The conclusion from this follows by itself:
“When you have perfect health, and the sun shines, and you do not want to think that the whole universe is just a mechanical dance of atoms, it’s nice to reflect on the great mysterious power that flows through the ages, carrying you on yourself. If on the other hand, you want to do something dishonest, then the power of life, being blind, devoid of intelligence and moral concepts, will not interfere with your intentions, how that annoying god who is told about us as a child intervenes.”
Reading and reflecting, Lewis increasingly disagreed with what is now called the theory of evolution. As noted by Fergngren and Nambers, “Lewis particularly objected to the assumption that the human mind and the ordered universe could arise from the inorganic and the irrational.” At the dawn of his work, Lewis tried not to criticize evolution publicly. In the opinion of Ferngren and Nambers, he did not do this because “everyone was so confident and convinced of the rightness of evolution that it was risky even to question it casually. For example, a Marxist and geneticist, John B. S. Haldane, in one article bluntly accused Lewis of misrepresenting his science and mocking scientists in his works. Haldane probably did this because evolution served as the basis for the theories of philosophical naturalism, to which his (Haldane’s) theory applied. By that time, evolution had become the dominant secular worldview. Maybe that’s why Lewis agreed with Aquor and called evolution “the main and radical lie in the whole network of deception that now controls our lives.”
That’s why over time, “Lewis increasingly criticized evolutionism and what he called the fanatical and perverted attitude of his champions”.