In this episode Chris Yiesla walks us through C. S. Lewis’s argument that there is something, or better yet, someone behind the natural moral law.
Chris: Good day everyone. This is not Kurt Jaros. I am, in fact, Chris Yiesla, usually on the other side of the bench, but today have the honor of filling In for Kurt as he is away on other business today and still recovering from his terrible diagnosis of bronchitis. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to next week when he will be with us on the show again. Hello. Welcome. I don’t know if you guys knew this. I wanted to throw a fact your way. Maybe you’re going to hear it here first. Veracity Hill is the #1 international apologetics podcast being recorded in West Chicago every week. You heard it here first. #1 international apologetics podcast being recorded here in West Chicago. Welcome everyone. How’s everybody doing today? Welcome to the podcast. We are in episode 32 and we’re talking today about Mere Christianity which is something we touched on back during the Thanksgiving break. I hope you’re having a great day. Welcome to mid-February or as we call it here in West Chicago 2017, the first day of summer. If you would like to have your voice heard on today’s show as we dive into today’s topic which we will be talking about shortly, please feel free to give us a call at 505-2STRIVE. That’s 505-278-7483. Also you can text the show by texting the word VERACITY to the number 555-888. It makes it real easy to text in your questions. If you’re away from your computer or don’t feel like talking on the show, you can text us your questions at any time and you can read them on the show or later on another episode because we keep track of all those things. Let’s dive into things. Welcome to the show, Veracity Hill. We’re striving for truth on faith, politics, and society, and we have an exciting, our umbrella organization Defenders Media is putting on an exciting new opportunity for you guys we want to make available and present to you guys. We’re hosting an all-day one-day conference called Reliable: Can You Trust The Bible? And we’re having that over at Wheaton at Faith Covenant Church on March 18th. That’s just one month from now. And that’s from 9 AM to 3:45. Reliable: Can You Trust The Bible? We’re having speakers Ted Wright, founder of Epic Archaeology and Kurt Jaros, obviously our executive director here at Defenders Media and Veracity Hill and here’s a little bit about what we’re doing at the conference. Some of the first lines of attacks against the Christian faith are made against the veracity, there’s that word again, and reliability of the Bible. There’s no evidence for the Exodus. Why are there contradictions in the Gospels? The God of the Old Testament is evil. The Bible is translated many times just like the game of telephone. I’ve heard that one before. Join Ted Wright from Epic Archaeology and Kurt Jaros from Defenders Media as they explore answers to these and other objections to the Bible so we encourage you all to come to Reliable: Can You Trust The Bible, An all-day conference being held at Faith Covenant Church in Wheaton, Illinois on March 18th from 9 AM to 3:45. You can register and find out more information at Defendersmedia.com.
We are looking at Mere Christianity. If you haven’t, this is part two as you can tell from the episode title, if you haven’t listened to part one, you’re listening to a recording right now, I urge you to pause this episode and go back to the Thanksgiving series, Mere Christianity Part One: Right and Wrong as a Clue To Meaning in the Universe and what we’re striving to do is take a look at the facts around us as human beings and say listen “Is there anything we can learn about our universe and anything behind it if there is anything behind it?” We talked about that in part one and also heard from a very old recording from 2005 from the great speaker Michael Ramsden, who’s associated with Ravi Zacharias Ministries, who spoke in 2005 on “Do All Paths Lead To God?” and his first part of his talk was very relevant to the conversation last time we spoke and the second part of this talk is even more relevant to today’s conversation which if you saw in the title is “The power behind the moral law” which we talked about in the first episode. So if you remember while we concluded way back if I can pull you all back to Thanksgiving, if I can pull you back to our conclusion, we wrapped up by saying that there is a real moral law, a power behind that law, and that we have broken that law. These are things we’re all aware of. We’re aware that there is a moral law, a law in every single one of us, that we can detect, that we expect from others and that is a very logical conclusion and we concluded also that there is a power of some kind, we don’t know yet, behind this law and that we have broken this law on a regular basis by our own admission if nothing else and put ourselves at odds with whatever this power is, and that can’t mean good things for us so it is within our benefit as human beings to figure out, okay, what is this moral law and what exactly is this power behind the moral law and if I’ve put myself at odds with this great power, how do I get myself right? That seems like it would be of infinite benefit to us as humans and our desire for survival. So, now that we’ve established the presence of a power, a god, let’s just say a god, for the sake of common verbiage you hear this power referred to in many cultures many times as a god and if you’ve spent any time studying the ontological argument, which we will not be talking about today, because it’s a little beyond my pay grade, It makes sense that cultures would call this power a god. That’s just logically feasible. A god. So we’ve established the presence of this god or a god. We need to see what are some of the broad conceptions of this god and where does Christianity fall into the mix? So last time we kept Christianity and any common notion of god largely out of the picture. Today we’re actually going to be introducing some worldviews including and especially Christianity because we’ll be drawing from Mere Christianity and the section of the book called “What Christians Believe”, so it will be very hard for me to avoid any references to the Christian faith so we need to see where does Christianity fall into the mix? What are these conceptions of god and does Christianity have anything to say about this power, so I want to start by reading from Lewis today which I will be doing a lot of since he really says what he says best and I can’t really say it any better. So the first thing we’re going to be doing when we’re looking at what is this power, what are the conceptions or beliefs about this power, we’re doing to be doing this very broadly today except for the view of Christianity, that we’ll be honing in on because obviously I’m speaking from that worldview and I’m trying to discuss and introduce that worldview to some of you, maybe for the first time. So let’s divide humanity into camps based on what they believe about this power or the moral law or everything else that we talked about during Thanksgiving. Here’s what Lewis has to say about this:
“The first big division of humanity is into the majority, who believe in some kind of God or gods, and the minority who do not. On this point, Christianity lines up with the majority-lines up with ancient Greeks and Romans, modern savages, Stoics, Platonists, Hindus, Mohammedans, etc.”
Chris: As a disclaimer, remember this book was written several, several decades ago so while the concepts and truths have not passed out of fashion, thank goodness, a lot of the verbiage has, so here Lewis referred to Muslims or Islam as Mohammedans because that was the common verbiage in England at the time. So we have all those views against say the Western world materialism that we see today or was in Europe at the time and still is. So we’ve got these two big camps. Those that believe that there is a god or power and those that don’t obviously and historically and statistically, go to any PEW pole or stat or anything else, census, and view that the majority of human beings believe in a power, a god or gods, and the minority do not, so we’re going to take those camps. We’re going to take a look at the majority camp and see if we can make that a little bit smaller. So let’s take these ideas about there being a god and divide them into two different camps which Lewis does here. So we have these two different ideas on the presence or the existence of god.
“One of them is the idea that He is beyond good and evil. We humans call one thing good and another thing bad. But according to some people that is merely our human point of view. These people would say that the wiser you become the less you would want to call anything good or bad, and the more dearly you would see that everything is good in one way and bad in another, and that nothing could have been different.”
So that’s one idea.
“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 of these views-the one that thinks God beyond good and evil-is called Pantheism. It was held by the great Prussian philosopher Hagel and, as far as I can understand them, by the Hindus. The other view is held by Jews, Mohammedans and Christians.”
We’ve divided the concept of God again into two broad camps. We have God is all and in everything. He’s part of the universe and the universe is part of Him. We’re all part of God. The other view is that God is distinct from the universe He created and is inherently good in the second view and obviously we can divide those into two different camps, so we have certain pantheists. We have Hindus. Certain subsections of Buddhism would fall into this pantheistic view, some sections, and then we have this other view that says God or gods are beyond good and evil, excuse me, that are definitely good and righteous and pick sides. That’s held by Jews, Muslims, Christians, and you can see a lot of commonalities in what they believe. We see those two views and they say, okay, well God is beyond good and evil and if he’s beyond good and evil, when we’re talking about moral law, we really have nothing more to say on this point at this time about the pantheistic view of God, that God is in everything and beyond good and evil because if He’s beyond good and evil then we really have nothing to worry about because all things are good in one way and evil in another and this discussion about the moral law and good and evil is really a moot point and we can stop there, but I would really like to continue this conversation so we’re going to be looking at the other view. Obviously, the view that is held by Jews, Muslims, and Christians, that God is definitely good, this power is definitely good and picks sides and so on and so forth, but here’s the problem that we run into that we’re going to be spending a good deal of time addressing today. If a God or gods or a power is good and picks sides and is the power behind the moral law and the universe and so on and so forth, we have a problem because the universe appears to have gone wrong. Things have gone wrong. Things are bad in some sense, but we find that this power, this God in ourselves and in the universe insists, and insists very loudly on our putting things right again. So here’s the question then. Here’s the question of the day. If a good God made the world, why has it gone wrong? Now this will sound very much like the problem of evil. We’re not going to be talking about the problem of evil today. We’ve already talked about it on the show and Kurt Jaros does a fantastic job regularly during the show or in lectures elaborating on what the problem of evil is, but we are going to be touching on elements of it in this question. If a good God made the world, why has it gone wrong? Lewis alludes here to a time when he was an atheist before he became a Christian which was a good part of his early life up through college and universe where he talks about he had a problem with this argument as an atheist because his main argument as an atheist against God was that the universe seemed cruel and unjust, but how had he gotten the idea of just and unjust? Here’s what he says?
“But how had I got 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? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too- for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies.”
So this is not an answer necessarily to if God is good why has the world gone wrong, but it does address some of the fallacies in the argument, well the universe is cruel and unjust which are very true observations that we can make, all human beings of the universe, but we can’t necessarily conclude that therefore God does not exist because if God is supposed to be just does not exist then where have we got our feelings of justice if not from something higher than us and we could say, no, it’s a convention of society, and if so then we are saying that the universe does not happen to please our fancies at the moment. We talked about this a little bit at Thanksgiving, about the difference between preference and an actual law that we expect from among human beings. So let’s sum up this problem. Let’s go a little bit deeper on this question. If a good God or good powers made the universe why has it gone wrong and what happens? So here’s the problem that really we’re left with. We have this universe, this is something I hope that all human beings would agree upon in some way or another, we have a universe. Check. We all live in a universe that contains much that is obviously bad and apparently meaningless. I think many human beings including Christians from time to time would agree with this statement. That we have a universe that contains much that is obviously bad and apparently meaningless, but contains creatures like us, mankind, who know that it is bad and meaningless and are very much opposed to this. That’s the problem that we find ourselves in. We have a universe that contains much that is obviously bad and apparently meaningless, but contains creatures like ourselves who know that it is bad and meaningless so this creates a kind of headscratcher that I hope all human beings will lean in and consider with me for a moment. Now Lewis at the time says there are only two broad views that for his sensibilities satisfy this problem. One is, of course, Christianity, to him. I’m not saying that de facto that is right in the meaning of this conversation. We will address what Christianity has to say later in this show. But he says, I think Christianity is a very way to accept this problem. Another sensible way, the second most sensible way is something he calls dualism which isn’t a phrase he hears very often, when it is something that exists in a lot of our culture in a way that we view fiction and non-fiction and in certain religious aspects. Well here’s what dualism is. When he refers to dualism maybe this will help make sense, maybe this will be something that you recognize. Dualism is the idea that there are two equal powers, not just one god or one power but two equal powers. One is inherently good and one of them is inherently evil and they are forever locked in an internal and endless war in the universe which is their battlefield, so we have one good and one evil. One is evil because it is evil and one is good because it is good and they are equal powers that are the power that be and they war throughout all of the universe and that’s just the way of things and it seems like on the surface a sensible idea. We see this in a lot of the ways we portray certain characters, especially in fantasy or fiction. We see it in the way certain religious ideas are presented to us as well. When we have told stories or we have thought about good and evil, I’m sure this thought has occasionally crossed our minds. What if there are two beings that are all-powerful? One of them is good and one of them is evil. Sometimes human beings who have different worldviews or who have a worldview that they really haven’t thought through will say, yes, that’s the way of things. There’s this good thing over here and that’s obviously that evil power working over there and that’s the way of things. That’s either a legitimate worldview or a worldview they haven’t thought through very much. That seems on the surface reasonable. In fact, Lewis says apart from Christianity to his mind it is the second most reasonable explanation for what is going on, but upon examining it deeply which I hope you all will do now, we find some shows. I hope you all when we were talking about this just now visioned times that you have thought about this or have seen it, examples you can pull from your own life or lifewalk or stories or woldviews that you have been a part of or experienced and you will understand illustrations of a being that’s good and a being that’s evil. In reality, and I want you to think very hard about this, in reality, from your own experiences, we do not have any experience of anyone liking badness or evil just because it is bad. No one is evil just for the sake of evil. Let me say that again, we have no experience, think if your life, people you know, people you’ve seen, in real life, in reality, people you’ve heard of, even the really nasty ones, we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad. Think about this.
“Chris. How can you say that? I can think of some really nasty people who have done some really nasty things?” Are you telling me they’re not bad. Of course, when they’re acting this way they’re bad, but think about this, all of the things that they’re doing through evil are a perverted desire to get something good. Think about this. Let’s pick an obvious one, Hitler. He did some very evil things, but he had a good desire to be superior, to have peace for his people on a broad level, to be the superior race, to have Germany be supreme and to be wealthy and to be prosperous on a very broad scale, but he went about this in very evil ways. When someone steals, they’re usually not thinking, “Oh good. I get an opportunity to steal today.” They’re usually thinking, “Man. That is an awesome car. That is a good thing. I want that car.” Up until that point, he hasn’t committed evil yet, but the second he steals it he’s committed evil. So you think about this. Even the really nasty people we see end up in courts and jail and prison sentences that do really really bad things on a regular basis, let’s say, they are serial killers or rapists of this kind. Who knows? Things in this vein. They are committing horrendous acts, evil acts, that should be justly served out in a sentence. They should receive a just sentence, but in the moment when they are thinking these things, perverted as it may be, they are looking for something that inherently is good. They’re not doing this because it’s evil like, “I just didn’t kill because it’s killing.” If I’m a serial killer I enjoy the act of killing and I’m looking for joy as a serial killer.” Let’s go down too far this rabbit hole. We’re not here to psychologically examine either my motives for doing things which are not a serial killer, or anyone else’s at this time, but do you see my point? Anyone who does something evil, small or large, is doing it because they’re looking for something good. Joy is inherently a good thing. Wealth is inherently a good thing. Happiness is a great thing, but the way in which they go about does not bring these things, it’s evil. Right? Thinks about this too. When I thought about this as a child I used to think about powers of evil like, Hey, he’s good and this evil guy he’s evil and there’s always this lock between them and so sometimes when I would play my imaginary mock battles with my friends or I got out my toys as a kid I would create this good side and they were good just because they were good and we had this evil side and they were evil just because they were evil and they were the two big powers, but I always for some reason as a child, I always would make an arbiter. I always would make someone who was above either power, who they would come to and talk to in times of peace and he would judge certain things, and I don’t remember why I felt the need to do this, but it was very interesting to me as I was thinking this week that I always did this as a child, that it wasn’t satisfactory to me then, who had not developed a worldview, that it wasn’t sufficient that there be a good power and an evil power only and that they’re just good because they’re good and evil because they’re evil. No, I’m like, there needs to be something that is more. There needs to be something that’s more than just the sake of things. We see this regularly, that when we see evil and wickedness, it’s a parasite really. It’s not an original thing. It’s just a perversion of a pursuit of a good thing that goes horribly wrong.
So dualism on the surface while somewhat reasonable doesn’t really satisfy reality when you look at the depth of it in my opinion, maybe you have a different opinion and would like to express it on the show, 505-278-7483. That’s something that we leave ourselves with this. Christianity still looks like the most reasonable explanation but when we look at Christianity and right now Lewis is saying, “Look. Guys. Chris. If a good God has made the world, why has it gone wrong? Everything looks apparently meaningless and very harsh and if there’s a good power what’s going on here?” Christianity definitely is called to the stand to answer some of these things. We’re going to take a look at some of these answers in-depth. If there is a good God what is he doing about this? We’re going to find out when we come back after the break. Stay tuned. We’re going to have a short break here from some of our sponsors.
Chris: Welcome back to the show. I am not Kurt Jaros. I’m Chris Yiesla, and I don’t like Pepsi. We’re at Veracity Hill here striving for truth on faith, politics, and society. If you want to have your voice heard give us a call at 505-2STRIVE. That’s 505-278-7483 or you can text the word VERACITY to get hooked up via texting to 555-888. If you are already hooked up you can text us a question now today on the show to 555-888. If you can’t call us, feel free to text. Hey. That conference that’s happening today that we just heard the ad for is happening right now and if you’re over in that area we encourage you to swing by and check out the Defenders Presence that we have there. Our good and solid leader Kurt is over there attending the conference and we are excited to be a part of it. Let’s continue on with our show. Before we jump into today’s topic we actually have some texts and comments from last time we had this show so we’re going ahead and open up the mail bag and let’s take a look at what the questions are today. Welcome to the mail bag, this is Kurt’s favorite segment, but he’s not here so I get to play the music. That was the mail bag theme song. We have some mail, snail mail, in the form of digital texts, from Bob and Rick, who wrote in on last week’s show. If you remember last week we talked about immigration which right now is a very very hot issue and we had some very interesting guests. We had three speakers including Kurt weigh in on what exactly is going on. We have a comment here from Bob who said, “Thanks for the show. It cleared up some concerns I had. Also like, that you (Being Kurt) said that welfare is tied to the immigration issue.” So immigration’s a very complex issue and certain things are tied into it that we don’t always see on the surface. When we hear news reports about it or see news like Facebook, thanks Bob for the comment. Really appreciate it. Thanks for listening to the show.
Rick said, “Hey. Overuse of the wastebasket excessively broad and vague term, the left, especially when said pejoratively, caused the speaker to lose credibility in my eyes.” Thank you Rick for your feedback. We really appreciate it. Now let me explain for those of you who are wondering, “What’s the wastebasket?” Rick is a very awesome intelligent listener and he’s referring to the wastebasket diagnosis which in medical terminology is a diagnosis that you can just kind of throw away. It really isn’t the diagnosis, but we’re giving it to you now so we can satisfy the reasons for the questions that you have in medical terms. Thankfully, in medical arenas, this does not happen too often, but when it does, it’s a throwaway diagnosis, it’s not really the real thing, but it’s what it is until it’s not that thing, so that’s what he’s referring to when he says the wastebasket and he’s referring to one our speakers who used the term “the left” quite a bit, and when she said it pejoratively, which pejoratively means a word that is used in a negative context on a regular basis, he had some very interesting opinions about our first speaker on last week’s show. If you’re interested in our first speaker on last week’s show you can go check out Veracityhill.com and go to Episode 31, immigration, thank you Bob and Rick for your comments on last week’s show. We appreciate you guys weighing in. We encourage all of you to weigh in with your opinions either live or from the mailbag.
Let’s continue on to this week’s topic. We’re at the point now in our show where we’re talking about if a good God made the world why has it gone wrong? Thanks for sticking with us today at Veracity Hill. Isn’t He the authority on this? If a good God made the world, why has it gone wrong? What is He going to do about it? It doesn’t make sense that the world has gone wrong. Isn’t He the ultimate authority? Well, Lewis starts to paint a picture here of one, why this is not as simple as it seems and two, what is this good God going to do about it? That’s what we’re going to spend the rest of our show talking about today. Anyone who has been in authority much like this power or God we would presume is, anyone who has been in authority knows how a thing can be in accordance with your will one way and not in another. For instance, think about this. If you are a parent listening on the show today and you ask your child, “Listen Phil. I want you to clean your room. I want you to obey and clean your room.” Is it your will that you want Phil to clean his room? Yes. But then a week later, or maybe even the same day you walk into Phil’s room and you find the room is still a mess isn’t it? You have willed that Phil, that rhymes, you have willed that Phil would clean his room, but he has not cleaned his room. It is your will that has allowed him the option to clean his room, but it is also your will that has allowed it to not be so. It’s not what you have willed, that he leave his room dirty, but it is your will that has made it possible. Does that make sense? God has willed, this power has willed, that we have will. So you have will that your son in this hypothetical example also has a will, to clean his room and you’re hoping he uses it to do so, but there’s also the off-chance that he will not, so free-will that God, this power has willed, though it makes evil or things contrary to God’s will possible, so free-will, though it makes evil possible is also the thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having, but of course if you gain a will, if you gain a self, once you have that self, there’s a really possibility of putting that self first, wanting to be the center, wanting to be, dare I say it, God in fact. Here’s something interesting. We have this God, we’ve said “Isn’t He an authority on this?” He’s said “Yes, I’m the authority and I’ve used my authority and my will to give you all wills because that makes a lot of the goodness and love possible, but I understand that some of you will use it to try to be God or be the center or not do good things, in fact do evil things.”
We have tried as a race for millennia to find things other than God that will fulfill us. We have. We have done this. This is basically what history is. It’s a story of us trying to find things other than a God that will fill us up. A journey that oddly enough we have found as a species somewhat unfulfilling. I want to walk through, Lewis has a very large text here I’m going to read to you guys now. Here’s what his opinion is from what he can gather from the facts on history and human free-will and what is God doing about the problem that we have maybe created? Let’s take a look.
So if we have this history and we’re not fulfilling it ourselves, here’s what Lewis has to say about this. He says
“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended-civilisations are built up-excellent institutions devised; but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and cruel people to the top and it all slides back into misery and ruin. In fact, the machine conks. It seems to start up all right and runs a few yards, and then it just breaks down. They are trying to run it on the wrong juice.”
So any historian will tell you that this pattern is viable and has repeated for literally every great civilization that has ever been has run through this pattern. No historian will tell you otherwise. They are trying to run, Lewis says they are trying to run on the wrong juice. This is what satan or the enemy has done to us humans. What did this power, what did God do? Here’s what His response is. This is what God did. This is what Lewis says.
“First of all He left us conscience, the sense of right and wrong: and all through history there have been people trying (some of them very hard) to obey it. None of them ever quite succeed.”
This is what we talked about largely, taking a break from Lewis, this is what we talked about largely during Thanksgiving. Right and wrong as a clue to meaning in the universe. So let’s go back.
“Secondly, He sent the human race what I call good dreams: I mean those queer stories scattered all through the heathen religions about a god who dies and comes to life again and, by his death, has somehow given new life to men.”
Now some of you hearing this may think, “Well Chris, that’s a bunch of baloney. I think that’s a little bit of stretch.” Actually, Lewis in the good time that he was an atheist even before and after his conversion to Christianity, one of the things that were both a great love of his and he was an expert on were mythologies and stories of these kinds. He was very well versed in ancient Greek and Latin literature, Norse mythology, Greek mythology, etc. and so forth, so he was very intimately acquainted with these details. If you go and read about his testimony, these stories were actually very important signpost for leading him to Christ because he looked at these and went “Huh,” and made the observations that we made here where there seem to be these common myths about this god who becomes a man who dies and through his death saves his people and you see it all throughout these myths and eventually he found a story that he’s deemed a little bit more true than this. He had been reading this, that we’re getting to.
“Thirdly, He selected one particular people and spent several centuries hammering into their heads the sort of God He was -that there was only one of Him and that He cared about right conduct very much. These people were the Jews, and the Old Testament gives an account of the hammering process.”
So let’s review. God’s solution to this world that has gone wrong. He’s given us one, conscience, right and wrong. Two, He’s given us good dreams in mythology about what He intended to do so we would always be aware of what His plan was. Third, He chose a people, the Jews, and hammered into their head for centuries exactly who He was so they would be intimately acquainted with this God and could accurately describe it to the rest of the world. Here is what and who this God is. Here is His character. Here are His laws. Here is His will. These people, the Jews through the Old Testament, through all of their history, have been intimately acquainted with these things. Here’s step two of God’s plan. So we have the Jews, these people who know who God is very well. Here comes the real shock, Lewis says,
“Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians”
And I mean of course those from the country of India, not the Native American slang that we find here in America.
“Anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world Who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.”
This is very interesting. So we have this historically, this man who shows up among the Jews who says He’s God, He can forgive sins and He’s existed forever. That’s quite strange isn’t it given His claim? He’s not referring to a pantheistic sort of God, but a Jewish sort of God, a God who is outside the universe, who values good and so on and so forth, that He is Him in fact. Then Lewis says this
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:”
Which of course Him in this sense is referring to this man who is named Jesus.
“I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lordand God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
So we find here a very odd fork in the road when this man who came from the Jewish people claimed to be God. That was the core of what He said when He was here. We have a decision to make. We have some very interesting things before us. We have a world that has gone wrong, we have a God who has a plan, who has left us certain things and a certain people and certain rules and among these people showed up this man named Jesus who says, “Oh I’m God and I can forgive sins and I’ve always existed.” We are not left many options when considering what to think about what He says. Now while I let that roll around in your mind I would like to turn your attention from our friend C.S. Lewis to our other friend Michael Ramsden. His second part of his talk, the same talk we had heard just on Thanksgiving, “Do All Paths Lead To God?” I think will be very relevant to what we have to say today, especially this last statement about Jesus and whether or not He is the Son of God or a liar or a madman, so let us listen now. I’m going to leave you with Michael Ramsden for part two of his wonderful talk. This was again a talk that he gave to a local church in the Midwest in 2005 so the recording can only be found regularly in modern times here on Veracity Hill so I hope you enjoy this talk again from Michael Ramsden.
Chris: No founder of any major worldview that answers the questions we have talked about today has ever claimed divinity and like he said, if you claimed that someone did you would most likely be executed in certain worldviews for saying that so and so was God or on par with God, but Jesus is a man historically who claimed something that no one else dared to claim and as Michael was saying, you are left with three options. Many people have claimed to be God after the person of Christ, but usually they are lying or don’t have all of their marbles, so those are our options, and ladies of gentlemen, especially if you’re looking at Christianity from the outside today, I urge you to take a look at this one thing. It bears your careful consideration. There was a man historically in the backwaters of the Roman Empire 30-33 A.D. who claimed in the Jewish sense that He was God. I would urge you to very carefully look at what He had to say because you, when a man does this, when anyone does this, there’s only those three options. He is either lying out of His teeth in which case why is He a great founder of many religions? Why listen to any of His words? He’s not wise at all if He’s a liar, or He was insane, or He was telling the truth. Logic dictates that these are the options that we must filter through His claims. We have a problem with the world today. It’s in a mess and it’s in the same mess it’s been in since people have been saying the world is in a mess historically. We have many views that think about these things, but this view, this power, this is His answer to solving these problems and so I urge you if you’ve looked at Christianity from the outside today that you would take these things into careful consideration especially this man named Jesus as you walk away from the show today. If you have any thoughts or questions about these things, please feel free to call us at 505-2STRIVE, 505-278-7483, even when the show is not running you can leave us a message and we’ll get back with you. We will contact you if you have any questions or concerns about these things. If you want to text an idea, once again you can text to VERACITY at 555-888 if you’re not signed up yet. Just text the word VERACITY to that number and you can start texting in to the show. We would leave to hear from you if you have any thoughts or questions as we wrap up the show today. Before we wrap up again I want to urge you to attend in a month’s time Defender Media’s conference Reliable? Can You Trust The Bible? Being hosted by Defenders Media, Kurt’s speaking there, Kurt Jaros and Ted Wright. It is an all-day conference on March 18th. You can register and learn more information at DefendersMedia.com and if you are on the fence about whether or not to come, KFC’s doing lunch. Come to the conference and that’s all I have to say about that.
That does it for our show today everybody. I’m grateful and we are all grateful here for the continued support of our patrons and partnership of our sponsors, Defenders Media, Consult Kevin, The Sky Floor, Rethinking Hell, and the Illinois Family Institute, and of course Evolution 2.0. Thank you very much. Thank you to our listeners, you guys, and our guest today which were the late and great C.S. Lewis and the 2005 teaching from Mr. Michael Ramsden. We think these men for the work that they’ve done to make these things a little bit clearer for those of us who are thinking about them. Again, we’re thankful so much for you today for listening to the show and continuing to strive for truth on faith, politics, and society.