The Limits of C.S. Lewis

I am a massive fan of C.S. Lewis. He might be my favorite Christian theologian behind Aquinas. But that’s the thing – I think he was a brilliant THEOLOGIAN, not apologist. I think that sometimes he overstretched himself when he tried to prove the existence of God or natural law without resorting to the most prominent philosophical arguments already there. Instead he would try and cobble together his own, which were often well on the right track but not quite on the mark.

For example, I find the entire concept behind “The Abolition of Man” rather misguided. Proving natural law by looking at the historical record is fraught with pitfalls and in the end doesn’t strictly amount to a “proof” anyway. It was a noble attempt but I think it fell short.

On the flip side, as a theologian he was brilliant. “The Great Divorce” is one of the most brilliant reflections on Heaven and Hell ever written, the Narnia books communicate Christian doctrine more clearly than any modern Christian apologetic work I’ve read, and “Mere Christianity” (when it gets past its attempts to prove God’s existence) is a work of singular genius. But even Lewis has his limits.

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3 Responses to The Limits of C.S. Lewis

  1. Sophistical says:

    Have you read “Till We Have Faces”? In my opinion it’s his best book; I think it takes the allegorical style he uses in “The Great Divorce” and TCoN to perfection.

    • No, but you can be sure I’ll check it out!

    • Read it, and enjoyed it, but I think I liked “The Great Divorce” more. Excellent as it was I found the plot (meaning the conversations going on around Lewis) in “The Great Divorce” to be more interesting, and the concept of the book still fascinates me. Couple that together with fascinatingly precise execution and as good as “Till We Have Faces” is I don’t think any one section quite lives up to the best scenes in “The Great Divorce”.

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