I’ve previously mentioned C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) as an example of a notable Christian with an evolutionary view of life’s history. I find it interesting that his name is so often evoked by critics of evolution. The Discovery Institute, the think tank which leads the Intelligent Design movement, loves Lewis and publishes a quarterly journal all about him. I listened to a series of podcasts from the C.S. Lewis Society which featured guests arguing against Darwinian evolution in every episode. What’s the deal? Wasn’t Lewis an evolutionist? Perhaps they know something I don’t know.
I learned about Lewis’s views from his own words in The Problem of Pain (recommended reading for Christians, in my opinion) and a line or two from the classic Mere Christianity (also a must-read). He had made enough statements supporting evolution that no one can deny he had generally accepted it while he was a leading Christian apologist and theologian. He also wrote an essay called “The Funeral of a Great Myth” about the myth of what he called “Evolutionism” and expressed come doubts about evolution in correspondence with a creationist friend. Some overexcited critics of Darwin have declared that Lewis would have become a full-blown creationist if he had lived longer and had been able to read some of their recent books. Who knows?
If you’re interested, here are some links to check out. Most include more footnotes and links so the fun can go on and on until you’re all Lewised out. Then you can join the party and guess what Lewis would think about the evolution/creation debate if he were around today.
- Correspondence between Lewis and creationist Bernard Acworth
- Creation Ministries International on Lewis
- Creationist Gleanings from C.S. Lewis
- Critique of Intelligent Design using C.S. Lewis
- Examples of both sides using Lewis to make opposing points regarding evolution
- Theistic evolutionist’s blog post using quote from Lewis
- Article about Lewis and his continued influence
- “Is Theology Poetry?” An essay by C.S. Lewis
- Review of Funeral of a Great Myth
This is a great review that compares the idealist views of naturalistic human development that Lewis sought to deflate during his time with today’s more bleak and less “grand” mindset. I agree with this writer’s understanding of Lewis’s views.
After you’ve read Mere Christianity and The Problem of Pain, you may want to check out The Question of God which compares and contrasts Lewis’s views on God with those of atheist Sigmund Freud.