C. S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors and his brilliant observations seem to boil down the intricacies of life to a seismically active approach to life. Some of the quotes that come from his plethora of literature are timeless. C. S. Lewis thought that life was no accident but was an intentional, purposeful event. In saying as much he wrote, “If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents-the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts-i.e. of materialism and astronomy-are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.”1
If man were the simple product of time, chance, and space then how are people culpable for their actions? Are Hitler and Stalin just products of their environment and victims of their physiochemical make up? Aren’t they just victims of their own brain chemistry? I would suggest that objective morals and values are more than accidental or random chemical reactions in the brain. When the 3-year-old sticks their hand in the cookie jar and then lies about it (with chocolate smeared lips), they seem to know that they what they have done is wrong.
There is more than just the Moral Argument for the existence of God. There is the ontological argument, the first cause argument, the teleological argument, and the argument from design (that information demands an intelligent source). C. S Lewis addressed the Moral Argument. Is this the reason behind laws? Are not laws simply objective morals with teeth? Just as it is morally right to stop child abuse, it is just as wrong to be abuser a child. Metaphysical systems don’t seem to induce morals in animals so why do they appear in humans? Animals do not appear to appreciate a beautiful sunset, to express themselves about the meaning of life, can not think (as far as we know) existentially. They do not sense a purpose in life apart from eat or be eaten and to survive at all costs. Humans on the other hand have an intrinsic value of life, a moral compass pointing to either right or wrong, and have pondered the meaning of life, their purpose, and to think in abstract ways. C. S. Lewis had a grasp of this when he wrote that, “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I gotten this idea of just and unjust? A man does not 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?”2
If there are no objective moral values or duties that exist, then why do laws exist and law enforcement agencies seem necessary? Since there are so many laws that govern human behavior and activities then it is obvious that objective moral values do exist, not in the least for governments. It appears that a Moral Lawgiver exists outside of the person that holds to these objective moral values.
C. S. Lewis’ Moral Argument goes something like this:
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values & duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
Does anyone really believe that objective moral values and duties do not exist? They are found in cultures throughout the world. They may not all be the same, but they all have objective moral values and duties in at least some sense. Morals and values are more than random chemical processes that occur in the brain. They appear at birth even before they can be taught or what is called a priori knowledge as opposed to a posteriori knowledge which is learned from experience. The theory of evolution reduces behaviors to mere descriptions of animal behavior or conduct, a simple physiochemical reaction of the brain's cognitive functions; without purpose and without ultimate meaning. As C. S. Lewis wrote to his father once that Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer’s ideas were “built on sand.”3
1. C. S. Lewis, The Business of Heaven, Fount Paperbacks, U.K., p. 97, 1984.
2. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. Harper San Francisco, Zondervan Publishing House, 2001, pp. 38-39.
3. Quote from The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society. by John West.
Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believers daily walk with God and the Bible.