Concluding Thoughts on Medieval and Modern Science

medieval medicine

In this discussion we have seen how C. S. Lewis has provided a middle ground between medieval science and modern science through both complimenting and criticizing each side.

renaissance science

By exposing the artificial view of the Middle Ages taken by Renaissance propagandists, Lewis has shown us that the medieval mind was not dark but filled with intellectual light.

newton

By recognizing the roots of modern science in the medieval period, Lewis underscored how indispensable belief in a Designer is for exploring a rational universe.

glaxay in hand

By affirming nature and supernature, Lewis demonstrated a flexible view of the origins of the universe while still holding to a supernatural view of ultimate reality.

medical ethics

Finally, by applying eternal values as guides to the scientific enterprise, Lewis built the case for why what man can do should govern what he ought to do.

ethics 2

It seems likely that neither hard-boiled atheists nor dogmatic Christian fundamentalists will be satisfied with Lewis’ views of science. But he does provide a peaceful coexistence between the two extremes and a middle ground from which we can all benefit, for many of us would agree with his statement: “Theology offers you a working arrangement which leaves the scientist free to continue his experiments and the Christian to continue his prayers.”

lab 2prayer 3

If ever there were an industrious renaissance man in the Old Testament Era it was King Solomon. Yet after many work projects he concluded that scientific inquiry and vigorous industry with God left out of the picture was all vanity. In the last two verses of Ecclesiastes which records Solomon’s many projects he provides a wise guideline for both learning and living:

“Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.”

In what sense does activity apart from God lead to futility? Why does Solomon bring in the moral element concerning how we live our lives?

 

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Magician and Scientist

 There is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the “wisdom” of earlier ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue.

lab 3

For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique: and both, in the practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious. 

monk

The Christian medievalist sought to be conformed to the reality of God’s virtue, whereas the compulsion of some scientists is to control the reality of nature to their own will.   

uncle andrewaslan

C. S. Lewis illustrates the misguided scientist in some of his fictional works. In The Magician’s Nephew, we are introduced to Uncle Andrew. Although the children Digory and Polly are at first impressed by him as a worker of magic, soon they see how evil his motives have become. When the children and Uncle Andrew are transported to the newly created Narnia, Uncle Andrew’s own spiritual blindness becomes apparent. He cannot hear Aslan’s voice or understand who he is. Aslan says, “But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh, Adam’s son, how cleverly you defend yourself against all that might do you good!” The magician has struck a bargain with spiritual darkness for power, knowledge, and gain. Unfortunately, it has made him color-blind to those positive spiritual realities which are all around him.

hideous strength

But the magician’s “will to power” may also be seen in the scientist’s laboratory. In Lewis’ science fiction work That Hideous Strength, Dr. Filostrato, an amoral scientific zealot, explains to Mark Studdock his scientific plans to replace organic life through mechanical means. The scientist reveals that he is working with an experimental process whereby a few selected people will be kept alive indefinitely. Technology will be the savior of the human race. But only chemicals and machines can achieve this, not the biological life which Filostrato has found so abhorrent.27 Filostrato’s obsession is to harness and control nature for his vision of the future. It will be a small group of powerful individuals making sweeping decisions for society as a whole.

csl science

As a fiction writer, Lewis was a skillful illustrator of science being perverted through corrupt motives.

Lewis wisely observed how the drive for knowledge and power divorced from ethical grounding can lead to evil. The medieval Christian sought to conform his heart and mind to the law of God. The contemporary secularist can fall into the trap of testing science to see what it can do instead of what is should do.

Read Psalm 119:65-72.

You have dealt well with your servant,
    O Lord, according to your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
    for I believe in your commandments.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I keep your word.
68 You are good and do good;
    teach me your statutes.
69 The insolent smear me with lies,
    but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
70 their heart is unfeeling like fat,
    but I delight in your law.
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,
    that I might learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is better to me
    than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

How does this Psalm speak of conforming our hearts and minds to objective moral truth?

 

 

Traditional Values and Science

right and wrong

C. S. Lewis believed that the Lawmaker behind creation did not just set up the laws of physics but also planted His moral compass in each member of the human race. The trend among some modern scientists to dismiss what has been called “traditional values” as only contradictory echoes from a primitive past troubled Lewis. He wisely recognized the grave risk to the future of mankind in which what science can do was divorced from what it ought to do.

abolition

Observing how this moral relativism was being taught to children in grade school, Lewis wrote The Abolition of Man as a response. In this short but important work, Lewis skillfully builds a case for universal objective values and warned of the consequences of science thinking itself “liberated” from moral restraints. Tapping into the Christian virtues of the Middle Ages, Lewis cites ancient thinkers such as Aristotle and Augustine who taught that one of the highest priorities in education was to instill in children “ordinate affections.” This means to train the next generation in moral guidance concerning feelings and choices. Lewis was convinced that universal values are objectively true but do not come automatically to the child. These convictions must be learned.

grandpa and kid

 

To answer the allegation of contradictory and relativistic mores, Lewis argues that the values shared by all major cultures have surprisingly few differences. He calls this core of ethical beliefs the Tao, borrowing the term from the Chinese word for enduring values. Modern attempts to do away with one aspect of traditional morality in the name of “liberation” always fail. Lewis explains why:

XP Tao

The Tao, which others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgments. If it is rejected, all value is rejected. If any value is retained, it is retained. The effort to refute it and raise a new system of value in its place is self-contradictory. There has never been, and never will be, a radically new judgment of value in the history of the world. What purport to be new systems or . . . ideologies . . . all consist of fragments from the Tao itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the Tao and to it alone such validity as they possess.24

C S Lewis Photos 3

The book concludes by pointing to a distant future in which society is ruled by a small group of scientific and political elite. The controllers have dismissed any objective moral standard to restrain them. Now “liberated,” the members of the ruling class are free to follow their own personal whims in managing society at large. The paradox is that the “abolition of man” leads to the enslavement of the human race by an arbitrary elite.

lab

In the Apostle’s Paul’s letter to the Romans we see a very clear recognition of a moral sense which is resident within the human heart despite cultural and historic differences:

14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them  Romans 2:14-15.

paul writing

Here is what an insightful Bible commentary has to say about these two remarkable verses:

The Jews looked down on the Gentiles partly because they did not have the revelation of God’s will in the Mosaic Law. But, as Paul pointed out, there are moral Gentiles who do by nature things required by the Law. Such persons show that the Law is not to be found only on tablets of stone and included in the writings of Moses; it is also inscribed in their hearts and is reflected in their actions, consciences, and thoughts. The Law given to Israel is in reality only a specific statement of God’s moral and spiritual requirements for everyone. Moral Gentiles by their actions show that the requirements (lit., “the work”) of the Law are written on their hearts. This is confirmed by their consciences, the faculty within human beings that evaluates their actions, along with their thoughts that either accuse or excuse them of sin. This is why Paul called such Gentiles a law for themselves (v. 14).

Conscience is an important part of human nature, but it is not an absolutely trustworthy indicator of what is right. One’s conscience can be “good” (Acts 23:1; 1 Tim. 1:5, 19) and “clear” (Acts 24:16; 1 Tim. 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:3; Heb. 13:18), but it can also be “guilty” (Heb. 10:22), “corrupted” (Titus 1:15), “weak” (1 Cor. 8:7, 10, 12), and “seared” (1 Tim. 4:2). All people need to trust the Lord Jesus Christ so that “the blood of Christ” might “cleanse [their] consciences” (Heb. 9:14).

In what sense does the human conscience provide a receptive point of connection to hearing the gospel?

The Case for Nature and Supernature

tolkien and leiws

 When Lewis was still an atheist, he discussed with friend J. R. R. Tolkien how myth and metaphor are vital in apprehending truth. Tolkien held the conviction that it was through myth that an immense and seemingly incomprehensible universe could be understood. After becoming a Christian, Lewis had adopted Tolkien’s view about the universe and the power of myth. Of this, Lewis wrote: “For these light years and billions of centuries are mere arithmetic until the shadow of man, the poet, the maker of myth, falls upon them. I do not say we are wrong to tremble at his shadow; it is the shadow of an image of God.”18

victorious Christ

Yet these dynamic stories of life and meaning were not there by accident. Lewis believed each ancient story had a vital connection with the historic appearance of Jesus Christ in history. Lewis had come to see that just as a colorful and intricate mosaic which had been shattered into a thousand pieces could also be reconnected with its original design, he believed each pagan story was a piece of a metanarrative which had happened in history through Jesus Christ.

blind see

Lewis believed in all the miracles attributed to this historic figure but believed that the back story had been set up centuries before in the “good dreams” divinely sent to the human race in mythology. Bacchus was the god of wine. Jesus made water into wine at a wedding in Cana. The corn god dies and rises to life in the spring. Jesus Christ died on a cross and rose from the grave. The sacrificial animals of countless clans and tribes could be seen in the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. The pagan myths were pieces of a shattered mosaic, whereas the Christ event was the full portrait made complete and visible.19 Lewis was well aware of Jung’s teachings on universal archetypes in myth. Yet he believed these had been sent by the Creator to make a connection with all people concerning His plan to provide gracious redemption though bloody sacrifice.

Of course, the hardened secularist might initially balk at Lewis’ apparently naïve affirmation of the miracles of Jesus. But Lewis did considerable work in establishing a credible basis for their reality. In his book Miracles, Lewis proposes the theistic view that there are two spheres of existence which travel beside each other in parallel. One is the natural world which follows the laws of physics we experience each day. The other is supernatural which owes its existence to God in another sphere of existence. Only during special times of divine intention do the two streams flow into each other. When this occurs, Lewis believes that God is showcasing a remarkable manifestation of the supernatural for a specific purpose.

Lazarus

This Christian view is predicated on the existence of a Creator and the freedom He has to intervene in His creation. Of this, Lewis writes: “No philosophical theory which I have yet come across is a radical improvement on the words of Genesis, that ‘In the beginning God made Heaven and Earth’. . . . If you compare it with the creation legends of other peoples—with all these delightful absurdities in which giants to be cut up and floods to be dried up are made to exist before creation—the depth and originality of this Hebrew folk tale will soon be apparent.”20 Although Lewis loved the ancient pagan myths, he did not believe they had the same grounding in reality which the biblical claims possessed.

take up your bed and walk

For Lewis the foundation for understanding nature and supernature is the incarnation. He would agree with the apostle John who wrote: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us [lit. ἐσκήνωσεν—pitched his tent among us], and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 NKJV). Lewis believed that” God among us” carried with His ministry miracles that provided corroborating evidence of His truth claims. These signs and wonders were made possible through the introduction of supernatural energy to alter the laws of nature. Therefore, removing miracles from the narratives about Christ would undermine His supernatural message. Of this, Lewis concluded:Top of Form “A naturalistic Christianity leaves out all that is specifically Christian.”  

 water to wine

Here is the account of Jesus Christ’s first public miracle:

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.[a] Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him (John 2:1-11). 

 In what ways does this account of the miraculous have the characteristics of an authentic report of the supernatural?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medieval Inventions and Christian Faith

horse collar

In addition to the intellectual ferment which provided the new wine of modern science, the Medieval Period was also a time of practical inventions: In agriculture there was the invention of the heavy plough, horse collar, and horseshoes.

Wheelbarrow

In manufacturing, the wheelbarrow was made to help with mining and industry along with the adaption of the blast furnace for melting and shaping metals and glass. Concerning the passage of time, mechanical clocks were invented, first for set prayer times in the monastery and then adapted into public clock towers in the town square.

clock

On the domestic front, spinning wheels were improvised to assist in the production of cloth. And in the field of medicine, the first spectacles for farsighted people were invented.14 These were just a few of inventive technologies that assisted in medieval life. To stereotype this period as bereft of human invention, therefore, is to use selective censorship to avoid giving credit where it is due.

But the medieval world was not only characterized by inventions. It also carried highly organized disciplines of thought. The pervasive idea that medieval man would superstitiously seek out Catholic “magic” to stave off the terrible challenges of sickness, bad weather, and death is profoundly misleading.

medieval scientist

In reality, the educated man who lived in the Middle Ages was more of a systematized manager of life’s challenges than a primitive animist using spells and potions. Of this, Lewis wrote: “There was nothing medieval people liked better, or did better, than sorting out and tidying up. Of all our modern inventions I suspect that they would most have admired the card index.”15 In our age of computerized data entry and analysis, Lewis’ reference to the index card seems both dated and almost amusing. But in the big picture, Lewis understood: “At his most characteristic, medieval man was not a dreamer nor a wanderer. He was an organiser, a codifier, a builder of systems.”16 Why is this significant to the development of modern science? Because medieval man developed systems his intellectual descendants would adapt to accommodate new scientific discoveries about nature.

astronomy

Another misconception about the medievalist’s worldview was its allegiance to irrational beliefs such as a flat earth and a primitive understanding of the heavens. To correct this misconception, Lewis wrote: “You will read in some books that the men of the Middle Ages thought the Earth flat and the stars near, but that is a lie. Ptolemy had told them that the Earth was a mathematical point without size in relation to the distance of the fixed stars—a distance which one medieval popular text estimates as a hundred and seventeen million miles.”17 In other words, the educated European of the Middle Ages knew the earth was a sphere and very small in size when compared to many other heavenly bodies. This had been established by Greek philosophers since the sixth century BC.

lewis photo

And so we see that from Lewis’ perspective the roots of modern science can be traced to the Medieval World. Scholarship in the Middle Ages provided the theistic assumptions that made the examination of a rational universe possible. This along with the Greco-Roman heritage helped establish the intellectual foundation out of which modern science grew.

The Creator has placed capacities for creativity and work within the heart of man. What can we learn from these Bible verses on the subject?

30 Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, 32 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, 33 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft (Exodus 35:30).

10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might,[a] for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

29 Do you see a man skillful in his work?     He will stand before kings;     he will not stand before obscure men (Proverbs 22:29).

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23).

Share your thoughts.

The Medieval Roots of Modern Science

 two medieval scientists

The creative ground swell of the “Renaissance,” as it is popularly known, did not happen by accident. Indeed, the roots of the intellectual innovations of the 16th century were first planted in European cultural soil between AD 1000 and 1300. It was during this time that the major medieval universities were first established. The combined contribution of Greek, Islamic, and Latin scholarly traditions worked synergistically to provide a context for more advanced science to be developed.

Christ and science

Often the Greeks are given sole credit for providing the scientific method as the fuel that fed the engine eventually leading to modern science. But this is not entirely true. It was among those intellectual heritages which held a theistic presupposition about the world that the precursor to modern science came to life. The Hebrew who studied his Talmud, the Christian monk reflecting on theology, and the Muslim scholar with his Koran all held in common a belief in a Creator. It was these theistic traditions which purported the idea of a Lawgiver that gave them confidence the universe was built on laws that were rational and fit the mind of man. It was faith and reason which provided a launch pad for the scientific revolution.

lewis writing

Of the belief in a Lawgiver behind nature, C. S. Lewis wrote: “Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator.”

But then characteristically, Lewis went on to challenge the more recent forms of modern science which had abandoned a theistic belief. The seemingly random nature of the subatomic world seemed to undermine a strict rationalistic approach to what is actually at the center of scientific inquiry: “In most modern scientists this belief [in a Creator] has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it. Two significant developments have already appeared— the hypothesis of a lawless sub-nature, and the surrender of the claim that science is true. We may be living nearer than we suppose to the end of the Scientific Age.” Lewis understood the indispensable role that a Designer made in the rational inquiry of science.

Let’s take a look a some biblical references to nature and the Creator:

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings[a]
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas (Psalm 8:3-8).

All these things my hand has made,
    and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
    he who is humble and contrite in spirit
    and trembles at my word. Isaiah 66:2

It is he who made the earth by his power,
    who established the world by his wisdom,
    and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
13 When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
    and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
    and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses (Jeremiah 10:12-13).

“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you (Nehemiah 9:6).

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

Which passage stood out to you concerning the relationship between nature and the Creator? Explain why.

 

Dark Ages Versus Renaissance?

rule of saint benedict

Those who study and love the time period between the fall of Rome and the beginnings of the early modern era often find this time dubiously dubbed “The Dark Ages.” Contrasted to the negative generalization of the Dark Ages was the idealized historic cultural phenomenon of what is popularly referred to as the Renaissance. Taking its name from “rebirth,” this flowering of the arts and the sciences has been perceived as the bridge between the medieval era and the early modern period.

renaissance

But C. S. Lewis begged to differ with this consensus view and often questioned the category of the Renaissance entirely. In his inaugural speech as the chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, C. S. Lewis said, “From the formula ‘Medieval and Renaissance,’ then, I inferred that the university was encouraging my own belief that the barrier between those two ages had been greatly exaggerated, if in fact it was not largely a figment of Humanist propaganda.”

lewis smoking

As the flames of Renaissance innovation and inquiry were fanned, synergism between different disciplines in varied countries gave off such a brilliant cultural glow that the previous millennium seemed dark. But C. S. Lewis saw through this simplistic false dichotomy and perceived the roots of the early modern world as having been firmly planted in medieval soil. The Medieval World was at its foundation Christian while the Renaissance was on a trajectory of Humanism.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.  His praise endures forever! — Psalm 111:10

“Man is the measure of all things” – Protagoras, 5th Century Greece

What are the consequences of a philosophy of life which begins with God versus one that is centered on man?

The Connection Between Medieval and Modern Science

a great Artist

Robert Ohlen Butler’s novel The Empire of Night is a cloak and dagger drama set during the Great War. A beautiful woman has been recruited to go undercover into Berlin. Concerning which side she claims to be on, she remarks: “I will by my art build a bridge between these two warring nations. I take no sides. I love the English but I also embrace our German brethren.”1 Certainly when we think of someone being loyal to both sides in a war, the idea of duplicity seems inevitable. The term “quisling” often comes to mind.

The New Atheists and defenders of “intelligent design” are carrying on an ideological war for the minds and hearts of the current generation. At one end of the controversy, secular scientists demand that God be left out entirely concerning the origins of the universe and man’s place in it.2 At the other extreme, fundamentalist creationists militantly defend a 6,000-year-old earth and seek to quote Bible verses to undermine consensus of scientific theory.3 One wonders if there can be any middle ground between these major warring factions who seek to have their view reflected in the public schools and legal system.

Into the breach steps a man who walks to a different drumbeat. C. S. Lewis was thoroughly trained in the medieval way of perceiving the universe. Yet he made remarkable statements that seemed to compliment contemporary science. So could it be possible for C. S. Lewis to be the healing balm between old world and enlightenment views of science? The answer may lie in the way he compliments and criticizes both sides.

lewis

C. S. Lewis wrote: “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”

The Apostle Paul’s argument for the existence of God appeals to “the things that are made.”

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[a] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”

Why do you think the appeal to a Creator for the orderly design of nature stirs such controversy in media and education today?

C. S. Lewis and Science

IMG_3494

On May 14, 2015 I was able to give a paper at the International Congress on Medieval Studies. The title was Bridging the Gap Between Medieval and Modern Science: The Middle Way of C. S. Lewis.

IMG_3487

The conclusion given here shows the basic content of the work: 

“In this discussion we have seen how C. S. Lewis has provided a middle ground between medieval science and modern science through both complimenting and criticizing each side. By exposing the artificial view of the Middle Ages taken by Renaissance propagandists, Lewis has shown us that the medieval mind was not dark but filled with intellectual light. By recognizing the roots of modern science in the medieval period, Lewis underscored how indispensable belief in a Designer is for exploring a rational universe. By using the mythopoetic dynamic to affirm nature and supernature, Lewis demonstrated a flexible view of the origins of the universe while still holding to a supernatural view of ultimate reality. Finally, by applying transcendent values as guides to the scientific enterprise, Lewis built the case for why what man can do should govern what he ought to do. It seems likely that neither hard-boiled atheists nor dogmatic Christian fundamentalists will be satisfied with Lewis’ views of science. But he does provide a peaceful coexistence between the two extremes and a middle ground from which we can all benefit, for many of us would agree with his statement: “Theology offers you a working arrangement which leaves the scientist free to continue his experiments and the Christian to continue his prayers.”

IMG_3459

C. S. Lewis pointed out the roots of modern science being found in the medieval belief in a Designer behind the laws of nature. Hebrew, Christian and Muslim scholars of the Middle Ages “became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator.”

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalm 19:1.

What aspect of the observable universe stands out to you as a witness to a Grand Designer behind its existence and why?

 

Walter Hooper on Books by C. S. Lewis

hooper in library

For over half a century Walter Hooper has been highly active in editing and writing on C. S. Lewis works. Recently, Dr. Hooper has graciously agreed to write the Foreword to my book As the Sun Has Risen – Scriptural Reflections on C. S. Lewis’ Life and Literature. Here is the first paragraph of his Foreword:

“This is a book after my own heart. Dennis Fisher knows the works of C.S.Lewis so well that, like the fisherman in Our Lord’s parable, he can cast his net into the sea and gathers in some of every kind of Lewis’s writings (Matthew 13:47-48). Thus, he enriches his own writings with Lewis works, many of which will be unfamiliar to some readers. I am pleased he has chosen so many. Fifty-one years ago, when Lewis’s brother, Warnie, encouraged me to edit C. S. Lewis’s literary remains, I found his admirers eager to have any of his works they’d never seen. My job that last half century has been to find Lewis’s writings and make them available to a very eager public. But while I hope I’m wrong, this seems to be changing.”

Hooper then goes on to express his concern about those who reread only a few favorite texts like Mere Christianity or The Narnia Chronicles while never reading any of Lewis’ other works. What has been gratifying to me is that Dr. Hooper understands what my book is about. It is designed to introduce the reader to a wide variety of Lewisian works in a simple way while tying each to a biblical text.

CSL and Hooper

Walter Hooper became C. S. Lewis’ personal secretary in 1963. Since then Hooper has been highly active editing and promoting C. S. literature.

Top Photo of Poets Corner

Here Walter Hooper can be seen in the unveiling of the C. S. Lewis Memorial at Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey. A heartfelt thanks to Hooper in his life long efforts to exalt the Person of Jesus Christ through the works of C. S. Lewis.

poet's corner

What is your favorite book by C. S. Lewis? Can you think of another one of his works you have yet to read? What is it?