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a different take on the Syrian refugee crisis…..

Enough taquiyah already-read the Quran

David Wood answers pro-Muslim ‘religion of peace’ bullshit. Wake up peoples and read the Quran. Culpable ignorance is no excuse, its not phobia if they really are out to get you.

PS Obama, Cameron and other leaders  continue to insist that the Paris murderers (like Boko Haram, Al Shabab, Al Quaeda, ISIS and all the rest of them) are ‘nothing to do with Islam ‘The Religion of Peace’.

On the BBC  Radio 4 religious affairs ‘Sunday’ programme an apologist from the Quillam foundation calling for a ‘reformation’ in Islam, making comparisons with the Protestant Christian Reformation.

the comparison is misleading on several levels. The Protestant Reformation was about abandoning corruptions, accretions and alterations to the simple faith of the founders of Christianity and getting back to the Bible. If there was war, and there was, it was down to the corrupt Roman Catholic Church and its partners refusing to allow freedom of belief. With any Islamic reformation, it’s the other way around.

the Wahhabists who are, with Saudi money, driving violent and oppressive global jihad ARE doing reformation. They are going right back to the violent teaching and example of Muhammed. They are the reformers, they see the liberalisers and modernisers in Islam as heretics and apostates. That’s why they kill them when they can.

Don’t take my word for any of this, look it up.

What has this to do with evolutionism? There is an indirect connection in my view-as secularist thinking, based on evolutionary origins beliefs, has come to dominate Western thought, God and Christ have been neglected and pushed out of public life and morality. Islam is moving into the intellectual, cultural and spiritual vacuum created in Europe by the secularisers. Of course they don’t admit this, how can they without admitting they are wrong? Hence the bizarre  partnerships between leftists and Muslims against Christianity.

There is more to it than that, deserving of a longer discussion, but for now at least please do not take ‘Islam the religion of peace’ or ‘all religions are the same’ assertions without at face value. Check the facts, please. All the more so if you live in post-Christian Europe and hope to have grandchildren.

Germaine Greer says something sensible-and is banned by her intellectual grandchildren

Veteran sexual revolutionary Germaine Greer has been in the news again lately. In the most bizarre irony, she is being torn into and censored by her intellectual grandchildren for not being sufficiently in tune with the spirit of the age. But she is a queen of the sexual revolution, who did more than most to create the spirit of this present sexually ‘liberated’ age.

see this brief BBC item

And again here in The Independent, where we read,greer

“Germaine Greer may be barred from giving a lecture on women’s rights at a leading British university after hundreds of its students signed a petition accusing her of holding “misogynistic views” about transgender people.”

The petition calls on Cardiff University to cancel the event featuring the 76-year-old feminist author and academic, who has been invited to give a lecture entitled “Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century” next month.”

Talk about revolutions devouring their children, or in this case their grandparents.

what did she say to cause such offense? That men who are so deluded about who they are that they swallow female hormones and have their balls chopped off do not become women. Sounds pretty factual to me.

Brendan O’Neil writing on Greer in the Spectator wrote

” If you want to know how crazy, even Kafkaesque, this young millennium has become, consider this: yesterday it was reported that a person with a penis — Caitlyn Jenner — will be named Glamourmagazine’s Woman of the Year, while over at Cardiff University a woman who has done more than most to secure the liberation of womankind — Germaine Greer — was denounced by a swarm of Stepford Students as ‘transphobic’, someone who should make all right-minded people feel ‘sick to [their] stomachs’.” (my emphasis-SH)

‘Right minded people’ eh? Well now we know what we are supposed to think, on pain of public disapproval and being denied a platform.

The current crop of student revolutionaries, rushing through the door that revolutionaries like Germaine Greer, John Lennon, D H Lawrence etc opened for them, are telling us (as Greer et al did, and still do) what ‘right thinking’ is. These people, like Stonewall ‘our work continues until you have changed not just your behaviour and speech but your most deeply held beliefs’, will never be satisfied with anything less than total victory. As I have written in my Kindle novel ‘Darwin’s Adders: A Chronicle of Pagan England 2089’, they want the Bible banned as hate speech and on mental health grounds. Folks, they are getting there.

I am not phobic about homos (*) or people with even more extreme sexual delusions. I pity their mental confusion and disapprove of their actions.  If I had a choice (and I don’t) I would decline to pay for the sexual mutilation they wrongly term ‘gender reassignment’. I don’t enjoy their company, they probably don’t enjoy mine, so we can agree to go our own ways, as long as we limit our disapproval of each other to thoughts and words. I mean, I’m not asking for the law to forbid them to disapprove of me or call my beliefs wrong, provided they leave my person, livelihood and property alone.

But I don’t have a phobia. This is important. People. Listen, think and speak while you can.

A PHOBIA (look it up) is an IRRATIONAL FEAR. having a phobia is to SUFFER FROM A MENTAL DISEASE. Peoples, if you have a DISEASE then the State can give you COMPULSORY TREATMENT to CURE you. Please excuse the bold capitals but this really matters. They are closing in on the language itself, just like in George Orwell’s 1984. If you aren’t allowed to SAY things, before long you won’t be able to THINK them. The revolutionary Left has known this for at least half a century- why do you think they put so much effort into controlling education, journalism and the BBC?

C S Lewis addressed the issue of redefining crime (including ‘thought crime’) as disease in some of his essays and in the novel ‘That Hideous Strength’. I do genuinely fear for freedom of speech, but that’s not a phobia. Like my fear of Islam, it is evidently well founded in demonstrable fact.

It’s not paranoia if they really are coming to get you. We have, not for the first time, been warned. The Left is adept at twisting and changing the meaning of words, of attaching baggage to words and phrases, in order to change the way we think. To control us.

(*) if homophobia is a word, then homo is a noun and can be legitimately used to describe the people who claim to be the subjects of homophobia (a misleading neologism that the Left invented at around the same time as that other highly dishonest neologism ‘Islamophobia’. Compare and contrast?

Don’t lose your soul

Don’t. You’ll be sorry.

John Piper reflects on State Socialism

An excellent and I thought balanced reflection on socialism by John Piper.

He points out the good intentions in socialism but argues that at best they are borrowed from Christianity and at worst (and in practice, if unrestrained by the kind of genuine morality that does the right thing when no-one is watching) will lead to ruin. As in Greece, where unrestrained unfunded entitlement spending has led to collapse.

Worth a few minutes to listen or read.

DNA check and repair Nobel prize. Evolution’s central mechanism fails utterly.

Three scientists, TomasLindahl, Aziz Sancar, and PaulModrich, have received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in recognition of their outstanding work in discovering and describing DNA check and repair. Well done them. There is a great article explaining this exquisite and indispensable biochemistry here.  See also here and here and here. 


The Nobel Prize was only announced a few days ago, but the biology and it’s dire implications for evolutionism have been known about for a while, see this article by Jonathan Sarfati from 2010. I only learned about this utterly marvellous-and indispensable- system around 10 years ago at a lecture on a new anti skin cancer drug called imiquimod. I also heard about ‘toll like receptors’ from a Cambridge professor of epithelial biology, whose name escapes me. Reference was made to ‘beautiful molecules’ which had been ‘heavily conserved in evolution.’ My jaw dropped.

That last phrase about ‘conservation’ in evolution is very interesting-when scientists use it they actually mean that the chemical processes in question are essential for life and found in all organisms. They assume that evolution (which for them is a fundamental given, regardless of any evidence against it or lack of actual examples or viable mechanisms) must have come up with them very early on, since life can’t survive without them…err, how exactly does that work? Reminds me of Michael Behe’s joke about how a man gets out of a 20 foot hole with sheer walls. He nips out of the hole, gets a tall ladder, then uses it to escape.

Please look up DNA check and repair, reflect on its absolute necessity for the survival of all organisms including you and I, and then ask how it can have evolved by gradual stepwise accidental improvements over millions of years. Because DNA cannot survive without being continually repaired, but of course the DNA check and repair is coded for by the information on DNA.

It is not even theoretically possible to postulate  organisms with DNA but no DNA check and repair systems to maintain their DNA  surviving for millions of years, gradually getting better all the time by natural selection for slightly better versions of this indispensable system. Gradual succesive incremental changes which are selected for at the level of the whole organism depends on the absolutely minimum condition of a reproducing population of those organisms surviving. But we now know that without DNA check and repair, long term survival does not happen. So that’s it, another dead end road block for evolution.

Friends, there is not one free living organism on the planet that doesn’t have functioning DNA check and repair. Viruses don’t count as they are obligate parasites and arguably not even alive. Bacteria (see below) have simpler systems than humans, proportionate to the needs of a far smaller and simpler organism, but they still need their DNA check and repair.

A few quotes from the GIZMODO article

>The human genome is damaged thousands of times every day. With that kind of “DNA decay,” as Lindahl put it, the genetic code shouldn’t be stable enough to have allowed life to evolve—or persist. Since life obviously exists, cells must have some way to repair the constant damage to DNA.<<<

This is terrible news for the neo-darwinian hypothesis. See above-how did our supposed evolutionary ancestors survive before they supposedly evolved the capacity to repair their DNA? If as the author states (and he’s right) cells must have some way to repair the constant damage to DNA’ then what did cells do before it evolved?

>As if it weren’t unnerving enough that DNA just breaks down on its own and has to be repaired a few thousand times a day, it’s also vulnerable to damage from outside sources, like ultraviolet radiation.<<<

Not as unnerving as the fact that this wonderful mechanism so obviously speaks of a Creator, before Whom we are accountable.

>>An enzyme called exinuclease moves along the strand of DNA until it encounters a damaged piece; then it stops in its tracks and cuts the damaged section out of the DNA strand by breaking chemical bonds between the nucleotides. DNA polymerase fills the gap with the right sequence of nucleotides, and DNA ligase seals up the repaired strand of DNA. It’s as good as new<<<<

It’s not just one enzyme, it’s a team of enzymes working together. Each is indispensable. Enzymes are complex proteins which have to be assembled from just the right sequence of left handed amino acids. Evolutionists cannot account for the unguided origin of even one protein, it is mathematically impossible. When several different proteins which don’t work AT ALL unless they are all work together is added to the equation, the prospect of them evolving simultaneously by random mutations recedes beyond infinity.

>Nucleotide excision repair fixes other types of damage to DNA, too, and the mechanism is the same in organisms ranging from single-celled bacteria to humans; only the proteins involved are different. E. coli gets the job done with just three proteins, while human cells take fifteen.<<<

The committed materialist will say ‘bacteria have simpler systems, we evolved from bacteria, so we are permitted t believe that complexity was just added gradually over billions of years’. This doesn’t get rid of the problem at all, since (to begin with) even the bacterial check and repair system is indispensable and irreducibly complex.

>>With trillions of cells in the body, each dividing every 7 to 15 years, and 3 billion base pairs in a strand of human DNA, there are a lot of chances for a tiny mismatch in transcription. And because we’re talking about your genetic code, a tiny mismatch can cause major problems in your body, such as cancer.<<<

Exactly. DNA exhibits a high degree of functional, specified complexity. Random messing with it is never good (the few examples of situationally beneficial mutations such as sickle cell disease, antibiotic resistance are generally due to ‘broken or blunted genes’, not new coherent information, as Michael Behe has shown in ‘The Edge of Evolution’). Mutations are often disastrous, just Google on genetic diseases. DNA mutations are overall BAD, and even if a few arguably beneficial examples can be produced, the overall direction of travel is downhill, and this is well documented in John Sanford’s book ‘Genetic entropy and the Mystery of the Genome.’

In addition to the marvelous evidence of design and absolute necessity for the DNA check and repair enzymes, there are 2 other deadly difficulties for evolution raised by this chemical pathway. First, it recognises and stops nearly all mutations. Mutations are essential to evolutionary hypothesis, since they are the only possible source of the variations, without which, as Charles Darwin wrote ‘natural selection has nothing to work on.’ Next, as we see in this secular science article, ‘a tiny mismatch’ in our DNA can lead to a deadly disease ‘such as cancer’.

So, evolution only has one mechanism for producing variation, mutation. and we find that there is a mechanism in our cells apparently designed to weed out nearly all mutations. Tell me evolutionists, if mutations are good for us (and if evolution were true, they must be {*}), then why would evolution conserve a system that prevents most of them? What’s more , in conditions such as xeroderma pigmentosum in which DNA check and repair is disabled (by a mutation!) we find the most severe harm is allowed due to random decay of the unrepaired genome.

I rest my case. No further evidence is required to satisfy Darwin’s test of falsification ‘‘if it could be shown that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have come about by numerous gradual changes then my theory would fail utterly’

DNA check and repair could not have come about gradually, since it is absolutely indispensable to the continued survival and successful function of DNA. There are no living bacteria, plants or animals that lack a DNA check and repair mechanism, nor can any be credibly theorised. This well deserved Nobel Prize is another bundle of oil soaked rags under the funeral pyre of the Darwin Mythos.

(*) spoiler alert: molecules to man evolution is NOT true. It has never been observed and (see above) has no credible mechanism for the creation of new features necessary for it to advance. It is a blend of pagan myth and atheistic philosophy which is passed off as science by trickery, bullying, indoctrination and censorship.

Review of ‘Eve’ by ‘The Shack’ author William Paul Young

I bought and read this book as it seemed to address the Creation and Fall story. I was going to write a review of it, but have been very busy lately. In any event, I noticed that had done a review of it which I thought was detailed, accurate and fair. I have therefore not written a full review but linked to theirs, saving myself perhaps 2 hours at a busy time of year.

Read their review with references here. 

The book is a fictionalised re-telling of the story of Adam and Eve’s Creation and Fall.


Don’t read it. It’s absolutely terrible. Bad storytelling, terrible theology (in as far as it is even intelligible), a weak and diminished God, the effects of sin minimised. An unholy mess. This kind of ‘not even wrong’ stuff represents the down side of free speech. It’s really, really bad. If you read it, don’t blame me if it messes with your head.

If you are interested in a fictionalised reflection on Adam, Eve and The Fall, C S Lewis’ ‘Perelandra: A Voyage to Venus’ is far better written, respectful of The Deity (the depiction of the Trinity in ‘Eve’ is frankly sacrilegious) and although potentially controversial in some areas is respectful of orthodox Christian understanding. The theology here is so confused that if I were William Young’s pastor I would be very anxious about his orthodoxy and indeed his Christian walk.

It would be bad enough if a Wiccan feminist with post-modern views on religion had written this, it’s atrocious to think that people enquiring about Christian faith and the creation/evolution issue might think this in any way represents mainstream Christian thought.

Experimental art, cookery and music-OK. Experimental re-imaginings of what God might be like if designed by a post-modern feminist-NO! 

I am well aware of the opprobrium and disapproval that tends to be heaped on ‘fundamentalists’ who cry ‘heresy!’, but as Alister McGrath wrote in his book on heresy, the populist idea of a heretic as a brave, original, adventurous maverick who is coming like a ‘breath of fresh air’  against an ossified hierarchy which is determined to strangle new thought and insights is a myth. Not so much a breath of fresh air as a stale, sordid and stinky puff of intestinal gas.

In Christian terms, a heresy is a bad old idea that has been carefully tested and rightly thrown out.  The trouble is that people who are ignorant of their Bible and of church history dredge up these old, failed ideas and re-introduce them as if they were their own original thoughts. And they will always find an audience-2 Timothy 4: 3 says

‘For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.’

As C S Lewis so rightly said in his sturdy and well reasoned defence of Christian biblical orthodoxy, we do not want to be original anywhere near so much as we need to be right. The much maligned mediaevals knew this, we have forgotten it.

C S Lewis, equivocal evolutionist or closet creationist? Part 13, Essays


Lewis wrote many essays which appeared in various publications including the Spectator, The Observer and many other outlets. Some, like the reply to J B S Haldane’s criticism of his Space Trilogy, were not published during his lifetime but found posthumously among his papers by his secretary Walter Hooper. I have read most of the those essays which are widely available (see bibliography) and although only a couple are directly about our subject, it is often touched on indirectly. This appraisal of comments in his essays concerning human origins and destiny is inevitably incomplete: as ever, the reader is encouraged to read the complete works for themselves. I have summarised what I take to be the sense of what Lewis wrote concerning the subject of this treatise.

‘On Living in an Atomic Age’ (first published in a magazine called ‘Informed Reason’ in 1948) reflects on the fact that although we now live ‘under the shadow of The Bomb’, we and our ancestors have always known we would have to die someday, whether by accident, sword, or fever etc. Therefore in one sense nothing has changed, the prospect of nuclear Armageddon simply concentrates the mind. Ah, but people said, we know that but are worried about the end of our civilisation and perhaps humanity as a species. Lewis responds that ‘if Nature is all there is’ then this end too is inevitable, and so what? He refers to the universe running down, the stars cooling. If Naturalism (including evolution) is true then our minds are accidents, our values (if any) are meaningless, suicide was a blameless and logical course of action if we find life disappointing. Life only makes bearable sense, he writes if we and Nature ‘…share a common Creator ‘ (Lewis’ capital C). He finds the naturalistic (i.e. evolutionary) explanation for human life, consciousness, reason and morality ‘unbelievable’

There is, he writes, a hopeless discord between what our minds claim to be and what they must be if Naturalism is true. This essay doesn’t deal with the science of biological evolution directly, but taking the fear of nuclear annihilation as its starting point, develops an argument that Lewis has made elsewhere that Naturalism, the belief that ‘the cosmos is all that there is or ever will be’ as Carl Sagan put it, is a counsel of despair that few if any of us could live with if we took it seriously. However, most nominal atheists in fact borrow ideas of value, meaning and morality from theism, without acknowledging the debt. He takes all this as a strong pointer to there being a Creator and Nature being ‘a good thing spoiled.’ He thereby rejects the philosophical implications of molecules to man evolution and declares it a world view unfit for us to live by. For ‘If our standards are derived from this meaningless universe they must be as meaningless as it.’ There is a better way.

Dogma and the Universe (first published in The Guardian (*) 1943)

Here, Lewis examines the charge still often brought against Christianity that it obviously can’t be true because science has disproved miracles. Only uneducated and gullible people living in the past could believe it, we know better now. He explains how unreasonable this view is. He cites Ptolemy (90-168 AD) in refutation of the ‘simple historical falsehood’ concerning the Mediaevals’ ideas about the size of the universe (also cited in Religion and Science) and remarks that as with a hostile arresting policeman, whatever Christians say will be taken down and used against them.

He says that Genesis is written like a folk take, but that taking it in the context of the rest of the Bible, we should be careful not to dismiss it as a truth statement because of that, citing God’s rebuke to Job, ‘Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?’. This paragraph is mildly ambiguous, its main message seems to be that we should avoid making man the measure of all things since the purposes and actions of God in creation are greater than we can imagine. Since God must be greater than we can conceive, we can hardly expect to understand every aspect of His creation.

Using the example of an uneducated African and a Harley Street specialist, both believers, regarding the bodily resurrection of Jesus. They both believe it, and will use different levels of sophistication to describe what they think happened, but the more educated man is at no advantage to the unschooled peasant. He may not know any detailed human physiology, but he knows that dead men don’t get up and walk-unless a mighty miracle has occurred. They will have different mental pictures of the Incarnation and miracles, but are united in denying the materialist belief that matter ‘…by some blind power inherent in itself has produced spirituality.‘ And Lewis denies this doctrine, the central tenet of evolutionism. He finishes the essay with an urgent  call to repentance, before the inevitable moment when ‘…all that seems to divide us from  God flees away and leaves us naked before Him, like the first man…’

‘Horrid Red Things’

This essay takes its title from the words of a girl who, when told that if she took too many aspirin tablets she might die, said that aspirin tablets couldn’t be poison as they hadn’t got ‘horrid red things’ inside them. She had a mental picture of poison as something red. This was factually incorrect, but the assertion that an aspirin overdose could be fatal was correct. He reasoned from this that while many Christians had mental pictures of various Christian doctrines, e.g. Christ sitting at the right hand of God the Father,  which were not the full story, this shouldn’t bother us. The theologically and philosophically trained believer might have a more sophisticated view of the Godhead, but this wouldn’t get him any closer to God. What’s more, the more sophisticated view would still be a word picture as much as the children’s picture book image. It was cheap of atheists to mock and deride Christians for using word pictures to try to imagine the unimaginable, especially as they do the same thing regarding what they believe but have not seen (e.g. unseen hypothetical entities like ‘self assembling molecules’,  the ‘big bang’, swim bladders morphing into lungs, etc.)

Man or Rabbit (first published by the Student Christian Movement in Schools, 1946). In this he writes  that Christians believe that men were created by God, have gone off the rails, and need to be reconciled through faith in Christ, whereas the non believer claims that men are the result of the blind workings of matter. he goes on to say that ‘The Christian and the Materialist hold different beliefs about the universe. They can’t both be right.’ Again, the essay strongly encourages men to be reconciled to God through Christ, castigating the laziness in enquiry, wilful ignorance and intellectual dishonesty that are used to avoid acknowledging God as our Lord. Still very much an issue today I’m sorry to say from the Dawkins parroting, cheap quips and intellectual stink bombs I find some atheists regularly using on Facebook.

The key points on creation/evolution made in this essay in many ways stand for a dozen or so of his shorter works which contain very similar observations. Lewis freely refers to God as our creator, emphasises the Fall and our need for reconciliation through penitent faith in Christ-God incarnate who died for our sins, rose from the dead and ascended to heaven from where He will come again to judge the living and the dead, and contrasts this view of life, which he holds to be the highest truth, with that of the Materialist, who believes in evolution. I don’t know how much more clearly we can expect Lewis to declare on which side of the creation/evolution debate he stands-given that he largely stood aside from the biological arguments and accepted millions of years.

The World’s Last Night (Religion in Life, 1951)

This essay looks at Christian teaching about the return of Christ and the Final Judgment. As with many of these essays, it addresses a theological difficulty (the apparent misunderstanding of the early Christians that Christ was returning within a few decades) and ends with a call to repent and believe in the Gospel while there was still time. (Incidentally, many of his works include this Gospel call-he wasn’t writing for the fun of it but to do his bit in the Great Commission.) It is of interest to us as it addressed evolution to some extent, making points which are enlarged upon in the next essay I will consider.

It seems ambiguous about biological evolution. Lewis seems almost to contradict himself, for he says that he is not concerned to refute Darwinism as a biological theorem and assumes it is correct, but he then goes on to pick great holes in it, to utterly oppose its philosophical ramifications, and assert that ‘…the modern myth of evolutionism…arose earlier than the theorem.’  He writes that a theory of development of progress was so much in vogue with revolutionary philosophers that there was a demand for a scientific justification for their world view, and that if no evidence had come forth for evolution ‘…it would have been necessary to invent it.’ In fact, that is exactly what did happen, and on a great scale, and still happens to this day. In The Screwtape Letters Lewis talks about ‘The joke that is assumed to have been made’ which I find very apt, considering the number of times people refer to evolutionary proofs or rebuttals of criticisms which are assumed to have been made but are not in fact demonstrated.

Ernst Haeckel’s embryo drawings are one of the strongest examples of deliberate invention of evidence. That Lewis refers to the false ’embryology recapitulates phylogeny’ argument which was based on Haeckel’s proven fraud is indicative that he was taken in by this dishonest argument, a pity but as discussed there was not an active creation science movement in his day and the means of dissemination of ‘evidence’ was controlled by the evolutionists (the worldwide web has massively increased the ability of Darwin dissenters to reply). Despite this, he was aware (for he says so in this essay) that Darwin had by no means demonstrated the origin of any species but merely the elimination of some. He states that he is not concerned here with the science of evolution but shows, I think successfully, that at the very least there was strong confirmation bias at work, with various ‘sceptics’, revolutionaries, atheists and liberals all very much wanting science to produce an origins story which displaced the BSG (Big Scary God). And that is just what Darwin came up with, as if to order.

Funeral of a Great Myth

This Is an interesting and nuanced essay that should be read in full. It recycles some of the arguments in ‘The World’s Last Night’ but goes further in exposing the tendency of adherents to mythologise evolution, turning it into a dynamic narrative of historical, social even cosmic progress. Again, he is almost infuriatingly hard to tie down, stating that Darwinism is a respectable biological theory with which he has no real quarrel, then pointing out that it fails to explain the origin of life, or of species, and that it ignores the issue of harmful variations which, citing J B S Haldane, a convinced evolutionist, allegedly outnumber useful ones by 10 to 1 (as we now know, it’s far, far worse than that.)

So at best Lewis seems to be damning biological evolution with faint praise, he may even be going further-ridiculing its audacious pretentions but cautiously keeping his options open to avoid drawing fire. We know from this letter to Bernard Acworth of 13.9.51 that he worried that should he directly attack biological evolution, the fire this would draw might detract from his successful general Christian apologetic work. I think this was a very real fear, and given Lewis’ uniquely effective role as an apologist, he was right to turn Acworth down, just as a specialist soldier who has been assigned a particular role in a campaign should not abandon it to take on another for which he is less well equipped.

Having got the issue of biological evolution out of the way, somewhat ambiguously, he then launches his attack on the mythology that surrounds evolutionism-his real concern.

Citing Wagner and Yeats, he argues that the myth of ‘Progress’ existed prior to Darwin’s theory and that this led to the enthusiastic embracing of it when it emerged. In a beautiful phrase, he said that for evolution ‘Imagination runs ahead of evidence.‘ That is just so true. Look for example at the reporting of the Philae Comet lander. From before the blessed thing was even launched, we were being told repeatedly by the BBC that sampling the frozen water on the comet would give us clues (for ‘clues’ read ‘ mountains of overwhelming evidence’ ) about how ‘comets brought water and the building blocks of life to Earth to kick start evolution). They had settled on this narrative from before the launch, and the BBC in particular have repeated it at every report. Admittedly it was a very clever bit of rocketry, all intelligent design of course, but when you drill down through the hype and evaluate the substance, the scientists are not one micron closer to an evidenced unguided origin of life story that holds water. And yet I saw a post on Facebook last week boasting that the finding of a few very simple chemicals on the comet more or less solved the problem of abiogenesis. This is a good current example of ‘imagination running head of evidence’ in evolutionary mythology.

Lewis mentions how convenient the progressive evolution story was to revolutionaries as it supported their view of history, also to industrialists and salesmen as it reinforced the idea that ‘new’ was always better. It appealed to sexual revolutionaries like Freud who wanted to smash up the hated ‘Victorian Morality’ and replace monogamy with a sexual free for all (that worked out well, didn’t it?) and Marx with his dreams of a progressive historical dialectic. Left and liberal political parties today delight to describe themselves as ‘progressive’ by which they mean applying humanist philosophies as against wanting to conserve old ideas (like honest money, punishment of crime, a small State, sexual monogamy for life etc) that derive from the hated Bible. Lewis refers to the dream of Man as God (a major theme of That Hideous Strength).

Lewis says that the idea of a dead universe that somehow made itself alive and of grunting savage cave men who somehow developed civilisation  are very different from the world we actually see around us (for example we see civilisation descending into savagery in the Middle East today.) Such supposed evolutionary trajectories are accepted not because they bear any resemblance to phenomena we see today but as they contribute to the evolutionist meta-narrative (i.e. myth) of ‘progress’.

He concludes the essay saying that he ‘believes the myth no longer’ and that we have the painful duty to awake the world from the myth’s enchantment. But we had better go about it carefully, because people are very attached to the myth. This, I have found to be very true-attacking Darwinism is like attacking Muhammad to a true believer. For after all, if the laws of physics, matter and energy, a cosmos exquisitely fine tuned for life, the solar system, earth with its sun and moon, biosphere, plants, animals and ethical and rational (?) man did not make themselves, then they must have been made by a greater power. And if that is so, as he put it in a chapter title in Mere Christianity ‘We have cause to be uneasy.’

Please note: I recognise that Lewis is equivocal about biological evolution here and although expressing well informed scepticism does not absolutely reject it. His main target is evolutionism as a philosophy or world view that accords with neither good science nor Christianity. I also acknowledge that many evolutionists will deny that biological evolution has any metaphysical implications. But I am not persuaded by their denials.

In conclusion: Lewis in this essay expresses scepticism about materialist answers to the origin of the universe, life, the species, and the supposedly beneficial variations that evolution requires. Without absolutely damning biological evolution as bad science, he argues that the theory, plus much baggage about ‘progress’ that comes with it, was eagerly embraced by revolutionaries who wanted to throw over the established social and political order, especially as regards the Christian God. I argue that Lewis was either being disingenuous, somewhat muddled or playing a very deep game here, because as our Lord said, if you have bad fruit, there will be a bad tree behind it. How could biological evolution be a innocent scientific theorem just like gravity or the speed of light, entirely consistent with a genuine Christian faith and walk, given that various godless philosophical developments evidently harmful to Christianity have apparently arisen organically from it?

Myth Become Fact (1944)

This is as good a place as any to examine C S Lewis’ ideas about myth. To him, an eminent scholar of language, the meaning of words and the myths themselves, the word did not equate to ‘daft made up story’. As we read in biographies, a late night discussion with J R R Tolkien and Hugo Dyson at Magdalen College about Christianity as a true myth was pivotal to his conversion. In this essay phrases like ‘I most constantly deny..that the doctrines of historic Christianity are merely mythical.’…’it is the myth that gives life.’   ….’The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also fact.

He mentions this view in Mere Christianity and several other places. The story of Jesus contains mythic qualities of God becoming man, old prophecies fulfilled, miracles, heroism, betrayal,  victory after seeming defeat, resurrection and ascension. The fact that some of these elements also occur in some pagan stories does not mean they aren’t factually true in the Christian narrative. He was familiar with the assertions of Sir James Frazer in The Golden Bough that the Christian story was just one of dozens of stories about dying and resurrecting gods, often corn gods. Lewis read this book at Great Bookham under the tutelage of the atheist Kirkpatrick during his formative atheist years. It was only later that he realised what poor scholarship and unjustified conclusions it contained.

As he mentions in SBJ, one of his common room peers at Oxford, a staunch atheist, remarked that of all the old stories about a dying and resurrecting god, in the case of Jesus’…it looks as if it really happened once.’ All the other cases that Frazer mentioned lacked historical detail, coherence or the plain fact of spread and survival that we find in Christianity. Incidentally, as I have written elsewhere Frazer got most of his facts about pagan beliefs from Christian missionaries, and in The Golden Bough got fundamental facts about what Christians believe so completely wrong that it is uncertain as to whether he had studied the New Testament, which he was writing to debunk, at all.

Lewis asserts that rather than being surprised, let alone dismayed, by these pre-Christian micro christs, we should expect them as part of God using myth to condition humanity to be ready to receive Truth incarnate when He came in the fullness of time. The stories about Adonis, Osiris and various corn deities, John Barleycorn and what not  do not detract from but enhance the Christian narrative, which excels and transcends them as a portrait by a master painter surpasses a child’s scribbling. As he puts it, ‘We should not be ashamed of the mythical radiance resting on our theology.’

This reflection on Lewis’ view of myth,  a very positive and distinct view whether one accepts it or not, is about the Christian faith taken as a whole and does not directly mention creation. However, it is essential background to our understanding of his view of creation and evolution when he suggests there are mythic qualities to each narrative. I argue that an overview of his works indicate that he has made it clear enough that if creation is a true myth then evolutionism is  a false one. 

(*)’The Guardian’ was not the left wing daily national newspaper of that name but a now defunct church magazine in which the Screwtape Letters were first published.

C S Lewis-equivocal evolutionist of closet creationist? Part 12-Reflections on the Psalms

Reflections on the Psalms ( 1958)

This is a reflective and devotional book for believers rather than apologetic. As Lewis wrote in the introduction ‘A man can’t be always defending the truth, there must be a time to feed on it.‘ It’s all worth reading (especially his honest approach to the difficult ‘cursing’ Psalms which most of us ignore and wish weren’t in the Bible) but most is not relevant to our discussion and so I pass over it. These thoughts are on the chapters ‘Nature’, where he discusses creation references in the Psalms, and ‘Scripture’.

How does Lewis view Scripture? This is absolutely vital to any consideration of his views on the creation/evolution debate. There is an amusing but thoughtful American folk song ‘Denomination Blues’ which begins with the couplet ‘I’m telling you people it’s an actual fact, every man don’t understand the Bible alike’. The song proceeds to poke gentle fun at several denominations, finishing ‘You can go to your college, go to your school, but if you ain’t got Jesus, you’re an educated fool.’  Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters that one of Satan’s favourite tricks was to send errors into the world as paired opposites, so that weak and unstable sinners like me can decide which error they dislike the most and gravitate to its opposite error. Thus we have for example ‘liberals’ versus ‘conservatives’, and on a bad day each side can see the others’ faults but is oblivious to their own.

I tend to be a conservative (*), and one reason for that is that I hate and fear  to see precious Bible truth watered down. But I see the danger of ultra-conservative exclusivism which is more interested in judging a brother’s doctrine than loving him. But correcting error may be the most loving thing..then again, developing a judgmental spirit can make you a Pharisee…it’s difficult. Lewis knew this. In the last part of  ‘Screwtape Proposes a Toast’ we find a dreadful wine prepared for the devils’ consumption in which the spirits of two finally impenitent religious bigots from opposite extremes bite and kick each other eternally-a fine bottle of ‘Pharisee’ as Screwtape puts it. So what I’m saying is-let be careful and let the Scripture judge us, not us judge it.

In ‘Scripture’, Lewis discusses his approach to the Bible, which is somewhere between the Catholic and ‘Fundamentalist’ approach.  He says he had been accused of Fundamentalism (a term with negative baggage even back then, it is really toxic now) because he accepts miracles. He defines the Fundamentalist approach as believing that ‘…every sentence of the Old Testament is to be taken as historical or scientific truth.‘ I fear this is something of a caricature of the views of conservative Evangelicals such as myself who like to think that we have a high view of Scripture but are well aware that the OT contains metaphor, poetry, prophecy, apocalyptic, moral instruction and even a few jokes amongst the history. If Daniel, the man greatly beloved, could say ‘I heard but I did not understand’ then hopefully we can get a pass on the really difficult stuff too. I personally suspect that some of the wilder OT stories, such as the 5,000 men slain by Samson with an ass’s jawbone may have been exaggerated somewhat as you might expect in the nature of that particular literary style. Judges is a very odd book that John Piper described in a Tweet as ‘the most sin-soaked book in the Bible’. But dare we extrapolate from the most problematic parts of the Bible to all the others? Peter warned us against this (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Must the Bible submit to ‘science’ or be judges as a science text book, as some suggest? I’m not sure I there is any ‘science’ in the Bible at all, but as ever ‘It depends on what you mean by…’ , and I’m afraid that here is no way of avoiding that old cliché where potent and loaded words like Fundamentalist or evolution are used without watertight definitions. Perhaps Jack had met and was thinking about some dissenting Christians with particularly narrow and rigid exegetical maps of Scripture-they certainly exist. Anyhow, he makes some almost throwaway comments about evolution in this chapter which don’t help us much one way or another but may indicate a view of Genesis 1-3 as myth. We have discussed elsewhere that he had a view of ‘myth’ which was very different from today’s usual meaning.

The key things he seems to want us to take away from this chapter is that the Genesis creation story, whether accurate history or ‘myth’ transmits the idea of ‘…true Creation and a transcendent Creator..’ and that the teller of the story had been guided by God to tell us what we NEED to know, not necessarily what we WANT to know. He amplifies this point about want versus need by considering other difficult parts of the Bible such as the book of Job (which John Calvin had doubts about as historical), the book of Ecclesiastes which seems to depict life without God, and the teaching of Jesus, which although as Lewis (rightly) says contains no imperfection, lacks the systematic nature and completeness we might have preferred and expected. The answer to these seeming perplexities is that God has given us what He knows we need and we will have to embrace it all, not as haughty critics but as humble penitents, if it is to do us any good.

Regarding Nature: the Psalms are full of praise to God as creator of hills, springs of water, grass, sheep, men and stars. The Psalmists evidently offer God praise for the biosphere- in particular the land He has given Israel to live on, but also the heavenly bodies which tell of his extended greatness in space. But, like the prophets (e.g. Zephaniah 1:5 contrasted with Isaiah 40:26), they are very clear to distinguish between Creator and creation. This separation is according to Lewis a distinguishing feature between Jewish and pagan views of the creation.

Using his extensive knowledge of ancient literature and myth, Lewis compares and contrasts the Jews’ view of nature as set out in various Psalms, particularly Ps 104, with that of the nations around them and later pagan cultures. He notes that the ancient Jews from whom these worship poems came had been farmers and shepherds with an organic relationship with the land, and thank God as Creator of nature. This is reflected in their Psalmic praise which contains many nature references, not just thanks for domesticated cattle, corn, oil and wine but also weather and wild animals including lions and ‘great sea monsters’ (presumably whales). This flows over into Job which includes a long poetic discussion about creation in chapters 38-39, in which God addresses Job, beginning by asking him where he was when God was creating the Earth! This remains a highly relevant question to evolutionists today.

But they were not nature worshippers-they made a clear distinction between creator and created which is absent from pagan religions. He notes that in various creation stories the gods themselves are created or born in some way, he offers various examples from  Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek and Norse myths, none of which bears the slightest resemblance to the sparse ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth’ of the Bible narrative. This is significant.

Lewis was a lover of pagan mythology, especially Norse, as storytelling and recreational reading. This love pre-dates his conversion to Christianity which took place when he was an established-and extraordinarily well read-Oxford triple first scholar. He wrote in SBJ how in love he was with the youthful god Balder and the Norse Prose Eddas. Although intellectually an atheist then, quite an aggressive one too, he lived in an emotional or spiritual world of imagined ‘Northernness’ fed largely by artists like William Morris, Arthur Rackham and Wagner. He reflects back on this love of myth and magic in several places, including ‘Funeral of a Great Myth’ and ‘Mere Christianity’ where he expressed the view (unwelcome to some Christians) that the one true God had spoken to pre-Christian pagans through their myths and legends to in some way prepare them for the Gospel when it came. He addresses that theme again in this chapter.

The point being, the way the Jews saw nature, not as part of God but distinct from God, set them apart from other civilisations and faith communities of their era. The Dawkinist quip that Jews and Christians are atheists concerning Zeus, Thor,  Krishna etc and simply believe in one god less than the atheists is childish. There is all the difference in the world between belief in one immanent, transcendent all-sufficient Great Maker and the gaggles of drunken, womanising, capricious little ‘gods of the nations’, so obviously the work of men’s imaginations. And history has underlined this point in that the Jews have survived the millennia, despite scattering and persecution, and have also made a disproportionate contribution to the good of the whole world (Google for example Jewish Nobel prize winners). The polytheistic nature worshipping Babylonians, Assyrians, Canaanites, Hivites, Jebusites, Philistines and all with their little man made gods have dissolved into the mists of time. The atheist narrative that makes Jehovah just another tribal deity is based on prejudice, not scholarship, and Lewis was the man to point this out having been an atheist, a great scholar of myth and a rational Christian. That is a key message of this book, and it is central to Lewis’ wholly positive ideas about Biblical creation story, which is utterly distinct from all other stories.

This chapter on Nature as seen in the inspired Hebrew Psalms reflects Lewis’ mature thought, not merely as a scholar but as a long term devotee of the Book of Common Prayer. He attended Prayer Book style spoken services regularly (he didn’t like singing hymns) and these services always include communal reciting of a Psalm, working through the whole 150 in a year. He didn’t just study them, he knew and loved them. What he writes here, taking the Psalms as his guide, is creationist through and through even if there is some minor equivocation about science, history and myth. As we read in Psalm 96:5 ‘For the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.’ This was clearly C S Lewis’ view and should be ours.

In summary: In most creation stories, gods have beginnings. They are not self existing or timeless, but have preceding causes. They are part of nature, not distinct from it. In this respect (any many other respects) they are utterly distinct from the great I AM the Hebrew Deity. The Dagons, Molochs, Baals and Zeuses of the pagans’ imaginings had been supposedly brought into being by some unknown antecedent or life force or indeed blind chance. The parallels with molecules to man evolution are obvious enough, with Richard Dawkins saying that in the unlikely (to his mind) eventuality of there being a god ‘in the universe’ he would have to have evolved from nature, which he asserts is self existent. As Andrew Sibley points out (see bibliography) this view is remarkably similar to the pagan myths but utterly distinct from the message of the Psalms, from which Jesus so frequently quoted. God is not somewhere in the universe, it would be more accurate to say that the universe is somewhere in God, the transcendently concrete absolute ground of all reality. The Psalms proclaims this message and Jack Lewis got it.

(*) by ‘conservative’ I mean that I tend to uphold traditional, tested values such as respect for authority, life long faithful marriage, God, Church and the Bible with a small State, low taxes, a limited safety net (not all comprehensive ever expanding welfare as it promotes dependency, rewards sloth, penalises enterprise and is always inefficient) and liberty under relatively minimal law. There is in my country (Britain) at the present time a political party calling itself the Conservative Party which does not reflect those values and which I do not support.

C S Lewis-equivocal evolutionist or closet creationist? part 11-Miracles


C S Lewis was an unashamed Christian supernaturalist, a term he used himself to avoid doubt. A plague on the church in his day, much worse now, was the revisionism of people who wanted to get rid of ‘the superstitious bit’ and bring the church into line with ‘modern science’. This liberal revisionism always begins with replacing the Genesis creation narrative with Darwinian evolutionism, often then adds a dash of Marxist economics and Freudian sexuality and goes downhill from there.

Lewis, who called himself an ‘old dinosaur’ wrote against this tendency. He was quite clear that while some of the world’s other religions could stand quite well if you subtracted the supernatural element of miracles, Christianity could not. The most cursory reading of the Gospels make this very clear. The greatest miracle in the New Testament is the Resurrection of Jesus, and as St Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15, ‘if Christ is not raised, then we are of all men most to be pitied.’ To put it in today’s language, “Christianity minus miracles equals mega fail.”

Miracles: A preliminary Study is a book in which he particularly addressed the issue of the supernatural in religion, arguing that although miracles apparently defeat reason by going against the ordinary laws of nature, given that God was a Sovereign being who invented nature in the first place and was enthroned above it, it was perfectly natural and reasonable for Him to perform miracles at His good pleasure. And, given adequate evidence (although by its nature such evidence could not be tested in a laboratory since miracles are singular acts of the divine sovereign will rather than ordinary repeatable natural events) it was reasonable to believe in the possibility of miracles.

He writes of the ‘repugnance’ he felt against supernaturalism in his atheist days. It offended him that ‘nature’ could be interfered with. This is a very strong theme I come across in internet discussion today. But, as discussed in Surprised By Joy, he was very content being an atheist and did not want Christianity to be true. Hence, he was strongly biased against the possibility of miracles. We cannot make sense of the debate without considering the problem of bias on either side whether for or against certain possibilities that do not appeal to us. We are all capable of deceiving ourselves when the facts go against our preferences. confirmation bias and refutation bias equally exist, the whole scientific method of the controlled trial is based on this presumption. Atheists must at least be forced to admit that PERHAPS they DO NOT WANT there to be  a God so MIGHT JUST be biased against non-naturalistic explanations for life. That miracles might indeed be at least possible in principle.

Miracles begins with a proper insistence that we must properly define terms before we can have a discussion. Even 70 odd years later this still hits the spot, if the points he makes seem laboured and the style dated at times. Certainly in the decades since ‘Miracles’ appeared in 1947 Christian apologists like Ravi Zacharias and William Lane Craig have refined the arguments and translated them into today’s everyday language. Lewis was pre-eminent among the giants upon whose shoulders such men stand.

Although Lewis was primarily learned in classics, philosophy and literature, he was by no means ignorant of science and makes it clear that he upholds natural laws like gravity and generation. There is no argument against the empirical findings of science, nor has there ever been from the Judaeo-Christian camp, which has given the world so many of its most eminent scientists including Newton, Pasteur and Mendel who respectively founded the sciences of physics, microbiology and genetics. In fact he stresses that unless men understand the fixed, regular working of nature, they cannot recognise a miracle should one occur. If a race of men should exist who disbelieved in the fixed laws of nature (if such a culture is even possible, because unless men feed, clothe and house themselves they cannot survive and these things depend on fixed laws of nature), they would not recognise a real miracle if they saw one.  A miracle is a localised, historic, specific exception to the normal workings of natural laws. It does not negate those laws, it establishes that there is Something (Someone) above nature who created nature and can intervene in nature at will.

Essentially, ‘Miracles’ is an extended argument against the philosophical assumption of naturalism.

Lewis rightly points out that before we can even ask whether or not a miracle has occurred on any given occasion, we need to first agree the definition of miracles and whether in principle they are possible or impossible. This all turns out to hinge on our philosophy of life. The modern materialist believes that nature is ‘the whole show’, existing in and of itself and giving rise to all else, including consciousness and reason, by unguided naturalistic processes. He explores the extreme implausibility of this position, one of his main arguments being the improbability of reason and morality emerging from Naturalistic (e.g. Darwinian) processes.  In developing and setting out this line of reasoning, Lewis anticipates and lays a foundation for the contemporary intelligent design movement.

Stephen Meyer, a leading figure in the intelligent design movement argues, I think successfully, in ‘Signature in the Cell’, that intelligence is only ever seen to come from intelligence, meaningful information only ever comes from a pre-existing mind. If this is true (And as far as I can tell it is an empirical observation as well as logicall sound) then it defeats naturalism, and therefore also defeats atheism and evolution. Lewis in Miracles essentially argues the same thing in a philosophical rather than a scientific way. As I see it, Meyer is building on Lewis’ arguments and showing much the same thing only using the language of DNA and computer code. Lewis did not have these examples to hand and so argued from his standpoint of reason, history and philosophy-his language and style are somewhat dated but they work.

He deals with several common red herrings such as the relevance of the perceived size of the universe to the Christian faith, pointing out that we have been gravely misinformed about what the Mediaevals actually thought (as a professional Mediaeval scholar he could say this with authority). Like a policeman who says ‘Whatever you say will be used against you.‘, anti-theists argue that if we are alone in a vast universe than that proves we are insignificant and there is no God, and likewise if there are numerous other sentient life forms in our galaxy and elsewhere, that also proves naturalism. Heads I win, tails you lose. Lewis points out here and in a essays like ‘Science and Religion’ that not only did the Mediaevals and their predecessors back to Ptolemy 1,700 years ago believe in a spherical Earth and stars that were bigger than the Earth and millions of miles away, but that nobody thought that this was any kind of argument against God or special creation. It has only become an issue recently, and for no logical reason that he could discover. He asks, if the universe being as it is argues against God and creation, then what kind of universe other than this would be consistent with divine order?

He also shows how thoughtless it is to attribute extreme gullibility about the laws of nature and miracles to our ancestors. Allegedly, our ancestors accepted miracles because they didn’t know any better: modern science has made it impossible to accept the supernatural. Lewis calls this nonsense. Our understanding of natural laws has increased, but the concept that there are natural laws which act reliably-unless overridden by something above and beyond nature- is not new. Modernism did not invent this view, it merely codified it.

Chronological snobbery

He talks about ‘chronological snobbery’, the assumption that because of our gadgets and accumulated knowledge of natural laws we are so much cleverer than our forefathers. He uses the example of the Virgin Birth to disabuse us of this notion. Mary’s fiancée Joseph knew less than a modern gynaecologist about conception and birth, but he knew perfectly well that virgins do not become pregnant without having sex with a man. That he knew this is clear obvious from the text, which tells us he planned to annul his engagement to Mary because of her assumed unfaithfulness. Joseph did not subsequently come to accept the miraculous nature of the virgin conception because he was a gullible dimwit who would believe anything he was told, but because an angel spoke to him. Incidentally, Joseph and his contemporaries might have had some things to say about the gullibility of people today-if we have learned some things, we have forgotten others.

Clearly, there is no empirical way to prove these 2 singular historic miracles (virgin conception and angelic visitation) but neither can they be disproved by an appeal to science other than by the philosophical assumption that miracles can never occur. This, as Lewis explains, is a philosophical belief rather than an empirical finding of science.

Philosophical bias against miracles

This argument does not establish that miracles occur, but, as Lewis explains, if an investigator begins with the axiomatic assumption that God and super-nature cannot exist, then it doesn’t matter what investigation he does, he will always conclude that there was no miracle (***). And he will do so for the same reason that a Marxist will always blame Capitalism, a radical Feminist will always blame patriarchy and  an anti-Semite will always blame Zionism, etc. When we have a strong preference for one particular outcome rather than another, it will taint our research-this principle is embedded in the recognised international standards for medical research through the double-blind randomised controlled trial, designed to minimise bias.

Nature is discussed here in terms which go beyond the scope of this book. Lewis considers the relationship between God and Nature, and us as part of nature to which God has given something extra, e.g. rationality, morality and the ability to contemplate the numinous and sublime, that brute animals do not possess. He is absolutely clear that Nature could not have created herself, as he reasons ‘nothing comes of nothing’ and if at any time in the past there has been nothing, there would be nothing still.  Nature, he observes, has all the air of a good thing spoiled-a benevolent God could not possibly have created it as it is, with predation, parasitism, extinction, sickness, death and all. This accords perfectly with the views of the most uncompromising 6 day creationist.

What the laws of nature can, and cannot, do

An interesting point is made about the laws of nature, that while they describe and predict how events will turn out, they produce no events. Laws are rules that govern events, but events require an active cause. For example, book keeping does not produce money, however useful it is for managing money once you have any. The laws of motion do not set billiard balls in motion, a player is required for that. The laws only kick in once some action has been initiated by a participant. Elsewhere he comments on the entropic running down of the universe which clearly points to an origin, and most likely a deliberate one given the order we see.

Entropy implies a beginning

If we see the universe as a clock running down, Someone had to have wound it up in the first place. Again, Lewis anticipated and perhaps helped lay a foundation for the more refined and scientifically informed apologetics of men like William Lane Craig, of the Reasonable Faith ministry. When I heard him speak on this very subject in Southampton recently he pointed out that materialist scientists had opposed the ‘Big Bang’ theory and cosmic expansion for as long as they were able since it implied that the universe had a beginning, which they didn’t like the idea of-it sounded too much like Creation.

On p 203, Lewis writes ‘Human death…is a result of human sin; Man as originally created, was immune from it….‘ This is a statement of traditional Christian doctrine, derived from a plain reading of Genesis. Lewis writes on man’s ‘descent’, not ascent. The assumption that we began well after an originally good creation and then went horribly wrong as a result of freely chosen wickedness suffuses all of Lewis’ writings.

He also encourages Christians to boldly embrace the supernatural elements of our faith, including Creation and most particularly the Resurrection. He notes the tendency of many to want to avoid the subject of miracles, preferring a more philosophical religion which affirms a kind of Universal Spirit. He warns that this is not authentic Christianity but perilously close to heresies like Gnosticism and false religion like pantheism. He advised sceptical enquirers to read the New Testament rather than books about it, and to beware of the many wolves in sheep’s clothing who were writing falsehood about Christianity today. Plus ca change….

Miracles is not the easiest of Lewis’ theological works, I find some of it too complicated, of arguable relevance. It contains some errors, for example on p224 he refers to the discredited ’embryology recapitulates phylogeny’ argument. But as he wrote ‘Miracles’ in 1947 and I was taught this fraudulent untruth for zoology A level in 1973, we can excuse him (although not my teachers). One more evolution reference, on p244 he makes a passing reference to pre-human ‘..sub-men, as the evolutionists would have it.‘ These 2 references to evolution tie in with his statement in the September 1951 letter to Bernard Acworth where he says that his belief in biological evolution had only ever been of ‘…the vaguest and most intermittent kind.’

Creation is by definition a miracle,

Set against these tangential references to evolution which form no part of his main arguments, Lewis strongly upholds the doctrine of divine, supernatural creation throughout the book. This is no surprise: Creation is by definition a miracle, or series of miracles, while the whole thrust of Darwinian evolution from 1859 to today is tied up with the attempt to prove that miraculous was not required and that we self assembled from space dust (however that and the fine-tuned laws of nature got here) without designer or engineer. I have been arguing with atheists on this very point on a Facebook page this morning (20th August 2015). So by arguing the essential reasonableness of miracles, given God, he is arguing that non-miraculous explanations for Nature and humanity are not inevitably required. There is nothing offensive in God intervening on is creation, at its beginning, middle or end.

He explodes a number of secularist myths by showing that they are based on factual errors and/or faulty reasoning.  He argues, I think successfully, that the human capacity for reason and our universal innate sense of morality cannot be explained in evolutionary terms (i.e. without God). He spends a lot of time on the New Testament miracles of the Incarnation (God becoming man through virgin birth) and the Resurrection of Jesus. He argues that if we accept these miracles, then all the other miracles in the Bible make sense in terms of supporting Gods ultimate purpose, which is that penitent sinners should be forgiven, reconciled, and glorified in Christ so that He will be the first of a new race of glorified men.

Lewis shows how if you subtract the miraculous from Christianity you are then left with 2 great problems. Firstly, you must explain how it was that Christianity was spread from 1st century Jerusalem so rapidly and successfully, despite Roman and Jewish persecution, by men who knew they were lying about having seen Jesus alive in a glorified body after his execution. None of them got rich, most died under persecution, but they maintained their testimony of the risen Christ to the end. There is no historical parallel to this anywhere, brainwashed suicide bombers don’t even enter the same category. As Lewis puts it on p 174 ‘The historical difficulty of giving for the life, sayings and influence of Jesus any explanation that is not harder than the Christian explanation is very great.‘ This ties in with the ‘Mad, bad or God?’ trilemma set out in ‘Mere Christianity.’

The other difficulty, and this applies particularly to professed Christians , is that a Christianity shorn of miracles is worthless. It’s just another ‘whatever we mean by…‘ cult. And, sadly, that is the road to irrelevance, decline and extinction that many liberal churches are travelling today-as noted by Lewis in his comments about ‘milk and water Christianity.’  The first miracles to be ditched are the Old Testament ones, beginning with Creation, and then the tendency to ‘explain away’ and ‘see though’ miracles, including the Virgin Birth, Atonement and Resurrection. Lewis doesn’t quite put it like that here but lays a sound foundation. As Saint Peter (2 Peter 1:16) wrote ‘We did not follow carefully fabricated stories when we declared the coming and majesty of Christ to you but were eye witnesses of His glory.’ And if we accept this testimony, as we must, then we should also accept the OT miracles, including Creation, too on the words of the prophets. Without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Readers may think that I have approached ‘Miracles’ with the determination to extract meanings from it that support my view. I know that there are statements in it that appear to suggest Lewis accepted biological evolution, but I don’t see how this fits with his big story, that miracles happen at God’s Sovereign command. I refer them to my earlier apology and caution set out above. Read or re-read Lewis yourself, with my blessing.

(***)  Richard Dawkins has helpfully confirmed that this is the naturalistic position in his statement that if we saw a statue of Mary waving at us, we must assume a physical cause however much we might be tempted to believe a miracle. He said that all the atoms might randomly move together at once causing the arm to wave. However improbable this was, miracles are impossible so it must be the answer, that or a hallucination. Since he clearly cannot prove that assertion, it is something he believes, therefore is a faith position if not a religion.


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