May 14, 2015

Merely a Christian 05.

What, or Who, is behind the Laws we have been discussing?  Lewis answers this question in chapter four.

The Law of Human Nature, or of Right and Wrong, must be something above and beyond the actual facts of human behaviour.  In this case, besides the actual facts, you have something else - a real law which we did not invent and which we know we ought to obey.  

There are two views on how the universe came to be, and what it is all about:

First, there is what is called the materialist view.  People who take that view think that matter and space just happen to exist, and always have existed, nobody knows why; and that the matter, behaving in certain fixed ways, has just happened, by a sort of fluke, to produce creatures like ourselves who are able to think.  By one chance in a thousand something hit our sun and made it produce the planets; and by another thousandth chance the chemicals necessary for life, and the right temperature,occurred on one of these planets, and so some of the matter on this earth came alive; and then, by a very long series of chances, the living creatures developed into things like us.  The other view is the religious view.  According to it, what is behind the universe is more like a mind than it is like anything else we know.  That is to say, it is conscious, and has purposes, and prefers one thing to another.  And on this view it made the universe, partly for purposes we do not know, but partly, at any rate, in order to produce creatures like itself - I mean, like itself to the extent of having minds. 

Science works by experiments.  It watches how things behave.... The statement that there is any such thing, and the statement that there is no such thing, are neither of them statements that science can make. 

Or put it the other way round.  If there was a controlling power outside the universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts outside the universe - no more than the architect of a house could actually be a wall or staircase or fireplace in that house.  

The only packet I am allowed to open is Man.  When I do, especially when I open that particular man called Myself, I find that I do not exist on my own, that I am under a law; that somebody or something wants me to behave in a certain way. 

I think we have to assume it is more like a mind than it is like anything else we know - because after all the only other thing we know is matter and you can hardly imagine a bit of matter giving instructions.  

Source: Mere Christianity c. 1952 C.S. Lewis  

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