Friday, April 29, 2011

An Example of C.S. Lewis Using Science in his Apologetics

From his essay, "Dogma and the Universe," in his book, God in the Dock:

"...I would like to clear up certain points about the actual relations between Christian doctrine and the scientific knowledge we already have. That is a different matter from the continual growth of knowledge we imagine, whether rightly or wrongly, in the future and which, as some think, is bound to defeat us in the end.

"In one respect, as many Christians have noticed, contemporary science has recently come into line with Christian doctrine, and parted company with the classical forms of materialism. If anything emerges clearly from modern physics, it is that nature is not everlasting. The universe had a beginning, and will have an end. But the great materialistic systems of the past all believed in the eternity, and thence in the self-existence of matter. As Professor Whittaker said in the Riddell Lectures of 1942, 'It was never possible to oppose seriously the dogma of the Creation except by maintaining that the world has existed from all eternity in more or less its present state.' This fundamental ground for materialism has now been withdrawn. We should not lean too heavily on this, for scientific theories change. But at the moment it appears that the burden of proof rests, not on us, but on those who deny that nature has some cause beyond herself."

Notice how Lewis briefly mentions a scientific discovery (the universe had a beginning) in order to score a point for Christianity. But then he advises us not to "lean too heavily on this, for scientific theories change."

So yes, Lewis has no problem using science to support his apologetics. But he never made it the major part of his argument and always cautions that science can change.

So would Lewis have used ID arguments in his apologetics? Since ID is still very controversial, Lewis would have been even more cautious, but I have no doubt that in the right context he would have referred to them.

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