C.S. Lewis’ Moral Argument for the Existence of God
C.S. Lewis, a former atheist, plainly says, ‘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
The Moral Argument for C.S. Lewis is as follows:
1.) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2.) Objective moral values & duties do exist.
3.) Therefore, God exists.
Now this is a logical reason, since 3 follows necessarily if premises 1 and 2 are true. Premise 2 seems intuitively obvious to most people. Mass murdering is unequivocally, objectively wrong. Killing innocent children, torturing animals, have dog fights…all for fun is objectively wrong. That is it is wrong for most of humanity, everywhere. These morals exist worldwide as universal morals. Now if anyone denies premise 2, they don’t need an argument, they need help.
The evolutionary explanation strips morality from humans and reduces it to mere descriptions of animal behavior or conduct, a simple physiochemical reaction of the brain’s cognitive functions. Darwinist can only explain past conduct…past behavior. It cannot inform or predict a human’s future behavior. It only serves to reduce morality to mere descriptions of behavior, which involve both motive and intent. Both of these behaviors are nonphysical elements that can not, even in principle, evolve in a Darwinian sense. So where do morals come from? Why do they seem to apply only to human beings? Are they the product of chance? What world view makes sense out of morality? Why are babies born with what developmental psychologist’s call an intrinsic compassion (one baby cry’s in the nursery, and the others join in).
Moral laws suggest a moral lawgiver, one who communicates through higher, moral laws. Fore example, most people would not murder someone. They deem this to be morally wrong. He expects His imperatives to be obeyed or certain consequences occur. Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard pointed out that a person could not have anything on his conscience if God did not exist. Morality is grounded in our hunger for justice. We desire for a day when all wrongs are made right, when innocent suffering is finally redeemed, and when the un-caught guilty are finally punished. This also explains our own personal sense of dread. We feel guilty because we are guilty and most people seem to sense that we might have to answer for our own crimes.
Robert Wright offers no empirical evidence whatsoever for his thesis. He seems to assume that moral qualities are in the genes because he must; his paradigm will not work otherwise.
Take this comment as an example: “Human beings are a species splendid in their array of moral equipment, tragic in their propensity to misuse it, and pathetic in their constitutional ignorance of the misuse” (emphases mine).* Wright reflects on the moral equipment randomly given to us by nature, and then bemoans our immoral use of it with words like “tragic,” “pathetic,” and “misuse.” 2
When he’s asked about the origin of life I have never seen anyone who supposedly is an expert on the subject more tongue-tied. He simply doesn’t know what to say except that maybe life emerged on planet earth as a result of extraterrestrials, which, of course, must mean that life did come from some sort of intelligent design. Of course he doesn’t recognize that he actually spoke in favor of intelligent design while disparaging it.
One notable example of this challenge to the transcendent nature of morality mentioned in his book is what he calls the new science of evolutionary psychology. Its adherents advance a simple premise: The mind, just like every part of the physical body, is a product of evolution. Everything about human personality marital relationships, parental love, friendships, dynamics among siblings, social climbing, even office politics can be explained by the forces of neo-Darwinian evolution. 2
Even the moral threads that make up the fabric of society are said to be the product of natural selection. Morality can be reduced to chemical relationships in the genes chosen by different evolutionary needs in the physical environment. Love and hate; feelings of guilt and remorse; gratitude and envy; even the virtues of kindness, faithfulness, and self-control can all be explained mechanistically through the cause and effect of chance genetic mutations and natural selection.
This explains the moral universals found in almost every part of the world. If these are simply chemical reactions, then taking a human life is just part of the natural, evolutionary process in the brain. How could the killer be held responsible. He is a victim of his brain chemistry. Logic tells us that, by necessity, a Creator or Moral Lawgiver was required to impart internal, intrinsic morals and that this is where they came from and the Source of them. Moral, values and character are not just a bunch accidental or random chemical reactions in the brain are they? I thought the theory held that it was all about survival of the fittest, not making decisions not based solely on self, but only the animal specie benefiting from any given situation and even at the expense of others?
1. C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Business of Heaven, Fount Paperbacks, U.K., p. 97, 1984.
2. Robert Wright, The Moral Animal Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology (New York: Pantheon Books, 1994), 23.