Why C.S. Lewis? Because I think it is clear he’s the 20th century’s most read, most written about, most enduring Christian thinker/writer.
Three Gems about Lewis’ Insights in Wilson’s Book:
- How could we not be story-tellers? We worship God the Writer, God the Written, and God the Reader. How could we not create? We are created in God’s image, and He creates. He created us so that we would do this. He came down into our world to show us how it is done; His name is Immanuel. God loves cliffhangers. He loves nail biters. On the mount of the Lord it will be provided. Exile and return stories are everywhere. So are death and resurrection stories. So are the-elder-shall-serve-the-younger stories. And the whole thing will come together at the last day, as promised in Romans 8:28, with trillions of plot points all resolved, and no remainder. And the great throng gathered before the throne will cry out, with a voice like many waters, saying, “That was the best story we ever heard.”
2) Having said this, in The Screwtape Letters, Lewis took a jab at modern man who is accustomed to carrying around a mass of contradictions. “Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together in his head” (The Screwtape Letters, 11). And Owen Barfield once said that Lewis himself was utterly unlike this, saying that what Lewis thought about everything was contained in what he said about anything.
3) A blind, purposeless, and material process does not and cannot know that it is blind, or purposeless, or material. It cannot know anything. If thought is simply the froth on the waves of our brain activity, then one of the first things that thought loses is the ability to know that there is even such a thing as brain activity, or froth for that matter. If human argumentation is simply the epiphenomena that our brain chemistry produces, then there is absolutely no reason to trust human argumentation—including any arguments that urge us to believe that argumentation is simply the epiphenomena that our brain chemistry produces.
I have read C.S. Lewis probably as much as I have read anyone except perhaps Jonathan Edwards, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and J. Gresham Machen. And there are some excellent bios of Lewis out there. I wrote about one just last week. But Wilson is a Lewis of today, in my view. He is courageous. He is not content to seek the applause of men. He is, like Lewis in his day, or like Calvin in his day, and Machen in his day, a biblical thinker, a wordsmith, and a man of courage.
We have a lot of men who began well but who have stumbled and made shipwreck of their professed faith. Very often, the men of the hour fell away because their idols were cultural relevance and men’s applause rather than the crucified and risen Savior, the Christ.
Wilson’s book is an impressive book about one of church history’s greatest minds, C.S. Lewis, but it also encourages me that God has raised up Doug Wilson, too, one about whom others will hopefully write biographies. Both men deserve to be heard and read and reread.
1 Douglas Wilson, The Light from Behind the Sun (Moscow: Canon Press, 2021), 110.
2 Ibid., 98.
3 Ibid., 54-55.