C.S. Lewis and the question of Evil
by Bobby Thejus
C. S. Lewis, no doubt, has been a great influence on many people(s) in this century. It is hard to find a book without his quotation. As the years of his death go up his fame seems to be going up as well. With The lion the witch and the wardrobe, he has been brought back into the main stream. The Lion, whom some critics suggest is actually the devil, is actually symbolical of the Lion of Judah. Like Christ who was filled with truth and grace yet furious when his father’s house was desecrated; the lion, too, was kind and loving yet never tame. The Oxford don knew very well how to communicate great ideals and defenses for Christianity very simply yet with amazing profundity. Like how in everyday life we are faced with deception and lies on one side- this world with devils filled; it’s very rare that we meet the good ones, on the other side; Who are, sometimes, in lofty mountain peaks in their secluded holy ivory towers, afraid to meet the enemy head- on. Lewis knew very well what it meant to be in the forefront – guns and gore- making sure the bad guys, Hitler who was ‘contemptible for his stupidity as he (was)is detestable for his cruelty’, was getting what he deserved. He was nineteen years old when he served as a second lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry. At the peak of his fame he even offered his services as a ‘Home guard’- ‘a glorified watchman.’
Atheism, which was popular in the modern era, influenced C. S. Lewis. A certain matron had on him after his mother’s death, to which he was very close. “Little by little”, he wrote, “she blunted all the sharp edges of my belief… I was soon altering ‘I believe’ to ‘one does feel’… there was nothing to be obeyed and nothing to be believed except what was either comforting or exciting.” The Atheist, who is complaining, moaning or groaning about all the evil that exits in the world, with all the confusion and clogging of ideas in that tiny brain of his, forgets to look at himself. He forgets to see all the evil that lies hidden or the evil that is so nicely left open for public display- open book- willing to be explored- stinker- maybe even glories in his shame. There are very few atheists who really know what they are talking about. Most of them just feel their way around, like a blind man who feels the trunk of an elephant and thinks its Ashoka’s pillar- A blind faith in his Atheism.
Lewis too, confesses that he, ‘simply wouldn’t listen to the Christian answers to this question, because I kept on feeling ‘whatever you say, and however clever your arguments are, isn’t it much simpler and easier to say that the world was not made by and intelligent power?’ Like most people whom I have met say that because of all the evil around they will not believe in a God. And some of us don’t want a God because we know that he will permeate and pervade into our depressing dirty minds and renew it for us (John 3:19-21); which will mean that we will be humbled and will have to put a screeching halt to our past thought patterns. “You scarcely reach sanity until you’ve reached sanctity”- G K Chesterton
But for those who explain God away because of the evil, C. S. Lewis asks himself and them, from where did they get their idea of evil? Evil isn’t an absolute it needs Good, It’s a parasite that rides on good. Lewis says, “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man doesn’t call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?” Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God didn’t exist he was proving he did- namely with this idea of Justice.”
Many of us think God is a being, probably a very good being, after all, waiting eagerly for one of us to ‘sin’ or break one of his laws, that he might stop all of heaven and torture us to death. But the opposite is true. He might have stopped all of heaven, not to punish us but to redeem us. (John 3:17) “The central Christian belief is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start.”