C.S. Lewis and Theistic Evolution

C.S. Lewis is regarded as one of the brightest Christian philosophers/apologists of the 20th century. He is well-known in both academic and church settings. I recently began reading his book The Problem of Pain over my Christmas break and came across a section I found thought-provoking. In his chapter on the Fall of man, C.S. Lewis speculated how it all occurred. C.S. Lewis appears to be a theistic evolutionist. Theistic Evolutionists are theists who believe God used the biological mechanism of evolution to bring about Creation. Lewis stated:

For long centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself. He gave it hands whose thumb could be applied to each of the fingers, and jaws and teeth and throat capable of articulation, and a brain sufficiently complex to execute all the material motions whereby rational thought is incarnated. The creature may have existed for ages in this state before it became man: it may even have been clever enough to make things which a modern archaeologist would accept as proof of its humanity. But it was only an animal because all physical and psychical processes were directed to purely material and natural ends. Then, in the fullness of time, God caused to descend upon this organism, both on its psychology and physiology, a new kind of consciousness which could say ‘I’ and ‘me,’ which could look upon itself as an object, which knew God, which could make judgements of truth, beauty, and goodness, and which was so far above time that it could perceive time flowing past. This new consciousness ruled and illuminated the whole organism, flooding every part of it with light, and was not, like ours, limited to a selection of the movements going on in one part of the organism, namely the brain. Man was then all consciousness.

The Problem of Pain, pg. 77

Theistic evolutionists are definitely on the rise. Some other notable TEers are Francis Collins, Peter Enns, Trempur Longman, Denis Lamoureux, John Walton, Karl Giberson, Alister Mcgrath, John Polkingham, Greg Boyd, and N.T. Wright. Others have expressed openness to the interpretation including B.B. Warfield, John Stott, Bruce Waltke, Mark Noll and others. Despite reading various books on the theory (not just polemical texts against the theory), I still feel intellectual incompetence concerning the issue. I have much more learning to do on the subject before making a definitive statement. I am more open to the theory than most. I will say though that if evolution is true, Christianity will have no choice but to accept it. Christianity is concerned with truth because all truth is God’s truth. John Piper stated, “Not to care about truth is not to care about God. To love God passionately is to love truth passionately. Being God-centered in life means being truth-driven in ministry. What is not true is not of God. What is false is anti-God. Indifference to the truth is indifference to the mind of God. Pretense is rebellion against reality and what makes reality is God. Our concern with truth is simply an echo of our concern with God.” I look forward to the continual conversation concerning evolution and Christianity.

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One response to “C.S. Lewis and Theistic Evolution

  1. Pingback: Interpreting Genesis: Part 1 « Austin's Blog·

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