“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so, I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”
Tag Archives: C.S. Lewis
Sooo — We’ve been given a free river cruise on a 90-passenger ship in Europe! Jeff and Gina, who started Teeming River Cruises two years ago, organize their cruises at about 1/3 of the cost of Viking cruises. Their website is here. Two years ago we had a great time with them on their inaugural voyage.
I have the privilege of conducting a Sunday service for the passengers and crew on August 25th. Would you pray for me as I prepare for that service? I’ll be going over the wonderful fish story in Luke 5. Let’s look at that text one more time:
I’m open to any sermon titles that come to your mind. But we’ve noticed so far that Simon Peter is —
I. Doing a Religious Teacher a Favor (vv. 1-3)
Allowing Jesus to use his boat as a floating pulpit, no doubt, made Peter just a tad proud. But then Jesus steps out of His role as spiritual teacher and challenges Peter and the others in —
II. Recognizing Who Jesus REALLY Is! (vv. 4-10)
Invading Peter’s area of expertise by telling him when and where to fish, Jesus promises “a catch” if Peter and the others will simply obey.
What happens when Peter acts on his statement, “but because you say so, I will let down the nets”? We read that the catch is so large that the nets they had been washing were in danger of breaking! They have to call in reinforcements and both boats are so loaded with fish that they began to sink!
That’s a nice problem to have if you are a fisherman, don’t you think? While his co-workers — with $ signs in their eyes — are taking care of the fish, Peter draws a profound conclusion. He doesn’t say, “Jesus, thank you for somehow providing these fish for us!” Or “Wow! I’ve never seen such a catch. How did you know, Jesus, that there would be fish there?” No! Peter launches into an incredible, yet succinct, theological declaration: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (v. 8).
It seems reasonable to say that Peter was overwhelmed at his underestimating Jesus. He had Him pegged as simply another religious teacher. But the miraculous prediction and catch of fish overcame Peter with the truth of Jesus’ power (and, perhaps, divinity).
We know from other Scriptures that Jesus is the Creator of all things. We read in Colossians 1: 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Aren’t you glad that Jesus didn’t take Peter’s advice and walk away? Instead the Lord does the opposite. Instead of abandoning Peter, Jesus appoints him to become a fisher of men!
I’m reminded of C.S. Lewis’ famous statement — and with it we will conclude the posts on this topic:
“We are very shy nowadays of even mentioning heaven. We are afraid of the jeer about ‘pie in the sky’, and of being told that we are trying to ‘escape’ from the duty of making a happy world here and now into dreams of a happy world elsewhere. But either there is ‘pie in the sky’ or there is not. If there is not, then Christianity is false, for this doctrine is woven into its whole fabric. If there is, then this truth, like any other, must be faced, whether it is useful at political meetings or no. Again, we are afraid that heaven is a bribe, and that if we make it our goal we shall no longer be disinterested. It is not so. Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to. There are rewards that do not sully motives. A man’s love for a woman is not mercenary because he wants to marry her, nor his love for poetry mercenary because he wants to read it, nor his love of exercise less disinterested because he wants to run and leap and walk. Love, by definition, seeks to enjoy its object.”
“[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.” (Mere Christianity)
Joe Barnard in his forthcoming book The Way Forward: Clear Advice for Confused Men gives the following illustration from C.S. Lewis as Lewis powerfully describes his first encounter with the living presence of God in Surprised by Joy.
He says, “As the dry bones shook and came together in that dreadful Valley of Ezekiel’s, so now a philosophical theorem, cerebrally entertained, began to stir and heave and throw off its grave-clothes, and stood upright and became a living presence. I was allowed to play with philosophy no longer.”