Wednesday, September 24, 2014

C.S. Lewis's Flawed Christianity - Part III

In my previous posts on C.S. Lewis, I looked at his views of the Bible itself and Christianity in general.  I focused on his religious tolerance in Part I and on his beliefs of heaven, hell, purgatory, and prayer in Part II.  In this post, I will examine Lewis's views of the Lord's Supper, theistic evolution, and the immortality of animals.

In Chapter 2 of C. S. Lewis on Scripture, Michael Christensen writes about Lewis's view of the Eucharist:
"Lewis might also be on shaky evangelical Protestant ground regarding the Eucharist.  As indicated in the section "What Christians Believe" (Mere Christianity), "there are three things that spread the Christ life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names -- Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord's Supper."  Lewis supposes that his ideas about Holy Communion "would probably be called 'magical' by a good many modern theologians."  He believes in the "real" presence of Christ when Christians partake worthily of the Lord's Supper.  The physical bread and wine are "transposed" into spiritual vehicles that carry the very life and grace of God," (p. 30).
The idea of transubstantiation is another Roman Catholic construction.  Protestantism completely rejects the teaching that the bread and wine used during the sacrament of the Eucharist literally turns into the body and blood of Christ.  Jesus was sacrificed once on the cross:  "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all," (Heb. 10:10).  From the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith:
"In this ordinance [the Lord's Supper] Christ is not offered up to His Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial of that one offering up of Himself by Himself upon the cross, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same.  So that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable, injurious to Christ's own sacrifice the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect," (Chap. 30, para. 2).
Continuing in Chapter 2, Mr. Christensen writes about Lewis's views on theistic evolution and the immortality of animals:
"Whatever view Lewis holds of Scripture, however he understands the doctrine of creation, the theory of organic evolution cause him no problems...In The Problem of Pain, he [Lewis] discusses the doctrine of the Fall of man and offers a "not unlikely tale," that is, a "myth" in the Socratic sense, of what might have been the case: [quoting Lewis] For long centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself...The creature may have existed for ages in this state before it became man...Thus man evolved and fell.  In Lewis's theology, evolution is still going on -- both toward and away from the Creator," (p. 31).
"If Lewis too willingly accepts the Darwinian thesis of man's ascent from the beasts, perhaps it is because he holds a high view of animals in general...Lewis speculates that animals may have immortal souls...But Scripture, he states, and it is important to note, doesn't claim to answer all questions posed by man.  The curtain of truth has been torn at one edge "to reveal our immediate practical necessities and not to satisfy our intellectual curiosity."  The theory Lewis suggests (and again, it is only a theory) is that animal immortality is related to the immortality of man," (p. 32).
Again, we are told in the 1689 Confession that "In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...to create or make the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six day, and all very good," (Chap. 4, para. 1).  God created man in his own image on the sixth day and gave him dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth, (Gen. 1:27-28).  God did not create animals in His image or breathe life into them, and man certainly was not perfected from animals over long periods of time.

The Bible gives us God's redemptive plan for man; it does not include a plan of redemption for anything else, including animals and angels.  Man sinned and fell from grace and Christ came to earth to atone for the sins of God's elect; those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, (Rom. 10:13).  Animals do not have a soul, and they do not talk (as in the Chronicles of Narnia series).  In Book Seven: The Last Battle in the Chronicles of Narnia series (copyright 1979, ISBN 0-06-023493-8), C.S. Lewis shows animals entering into the Kingdom of Aslan.  However, in Jesus' account of heaven, we only see Lazarus and Abraham.  Animals are mentioned in the Bible, but they are used to serve the needs of man or as a means for God's providence (see the narrative account of Balaam and his donkey in Numbers 22).

Again, we see that C.S. Lewis's views of the Lord's Supper, theistic evolution, and the immortality of animals are not in-line with orthodox Christianity.  Christians cannot ignore discernment for the sake of unity, and toleration of self-professing "Christians" like Mr. Lewis is not a virtue when it comes at the expense of the Gospel.  Therefore, Bible-believing Christians should not read or revere the books of C.S. Lewis.  I will continue my review of Lewis's views of the Bible itself and Christianity in general in Part IV of this series.

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"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts," (Isa. 55:7-9).