C.S. Lewis states in his book “Mere Christianity” that, “As in arithmetic – there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong; but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.” Christianity is the right answer. All other religions are wrong. However, as C.S. Lewis was demonstrating, some religions are much nearer being right than others. This is the thinking of C.S. Lewis.
People who believe in God can be divided into two groups – (1) those that believe that God is beyond good and evil, and (2) those that believe that God is good or “righteous”, and God wants us to behave in one way and not in another. The views are very different. C.S. Lewis explains on the first group;
“These people would say that the wiser you become the less you would want to call anything good or bad, and the more clearly you would see that everything is good in one way and bad in another, and that nothing could have been different. Consequently, these people think that long before you got anywhere near the divine point of view the distinction would have disappeared altogether.”
A look at the second group – C.S. Lewis states;
“The other and opposite idea is that God is quite definitely “good” or “righteous”, a God who takes sides, who loves love and hates hatred, who wants us to behave in one way and not in another.”
The first view is called “Pantheism”. Those that hold this view see the universe as being god itself, and that god is beyond good and evil, while the second view, the one held by Christians, is that God stands against things that are evil, that He is love and loves all things. Therefore there is a distinction between good and evil. This is what separates the two views.
There are also two different views of our world. C.S. Lewis describes one side of Christianity as “Christianity – and – water”. This view states that there is a God and everything is going to be all right. This view ignores things such as sin, as well as difficult doctrines, hell, Satan, and redemption. However the real view of Christianity not only recognizes God, but the difficult doctrines, the terrible history, hell, Satan, redemption, sin, temptation, and repentance. The Christian view is that we live in a “good world that has gone wrong.” (Lewis, 1952) The other view is Dualism. Lewis states that Dualism is “the belief that there are two equal and independent powers at the back of everything, one of them good and the other bad, and that this universe is the battlefield in which they fight out an endless war.” This states that Satan is equal to God. However in this belief, both existed before eternity, therefore one did not create the other. This is different that Christianity. With Christianity, there is only God in the form of the Trinity, who existed before eternity. He created Satan.
God created everything. This is the belief of Christianity. He gave us free will and with free will, one can go the wrong way. This is how we have evil in this world. You have a choice, be good or the alternative; which is evil. Because of this, we have sin. This is why God sent us His son Jesus Christ as the ultimate sacrifice. He came to this world to die for our sins on the cross at Calvary. This was the shocking alternative. A man from the Jews arose to forgive sin. He is the Messiah. John 14:6 (NET) states; “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This gave us the hope that the prophets had proclaimed. The Son of Man came to save that which is lost (Luke 19:10).
This is the central belief of Christianity. Jesus Christ came to earth to die for our sins at Calvary. C.S. Lewis states; “The central Christian belief is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start.” We have fallen into a hole of sin. Christ’s death is the only way out. “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Lewis states;
“We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed away out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity.”
God communicates the Christ-life to us in three ways; (1) baptism, (2) belief, and (3) Holy Communion (The Lord’s Supper). 2nd Corinthians 5:17 (NET) tells us; “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come!” We must repent and live as Christ would have us live. We will still fall (sin), but repentance is the key to getting back up.
C.S. Lewis does present two objections to this. Lewis states; “Is it not frightfully unfair that this new life should be confined to people who have heard of Christ and been able to believe in Him?” This is why we have the great commission. Matthew 28:19 (NET) states; “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” A Second objection presented by Lewis is,
“Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough?”
This is why Christians believe in the Second Coming. God will land in force and invade. We just don’t know when. In the meantime, He wants us to come to Him, through Jesus Christ, by our own freewill.
In summary, C.S. Lewis is one of the greatest Christian writers of our time. The impact his writings and conclusions had on me was one of an eye opener. Some of the items he presents were ones I have not previously considered such as the idea that other religions, while not right, are closer to being right that we think. However, like Lewis states; “As in arithmetic – there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong…” we know that Christianity is the only right answer. All other religions are wrong.