Is Bigger Better? C.S. Lewis, Atheism, and the Argument from Size - page 4


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From the Winter 2015 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Is Bigger Better? C.S Lewis, Atheism, and the Argument from Size

by Paul M. Gould Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Christian Apologetics
at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

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  Finally, there is the reality of humor. Life is full of the unexpected, the unforeseen. Who would have expected to find the great and serious philosopher Socrates hanging in a basket, contemplating the air (as Aristophanes portrays him in the Greek comedy The Clouds)? Who would have foreseen Wile E. Coyote, run over by a truck, emerge unharmed? The comic points to a discrepancy between our understanding of the world and another possible interpretation of it. We are forced to ask: which picture of the world is true to the way things are? Berger argues that at its most fundamental level, the comic reflects the “imprisonment of the human spirit in the world” and “implies that this imprisonment is not final but will be overcome.”12 Comedy is a foretaste of things to come and, as such, another signal of transcendence.
 Admittedly, much more could and should be said about each of Berger’s signals of transcendence. But here I want us to notice that there is an argument in the neighborhood of the atheist’s Argument from Size, pointing in the other direction, and grounded in the Christian doctrine of creation. The core premise of the argument is quite simple: everything points to God, to something beyond nature. That is, everything that exists—every truth discovered, every beauty (and every corruption of beauty), and every good (and perversion of good)—points to and illuminates the divine. Since God is the Creator of everything distinct from Himself, everything bears His stamp. Moreover, each of the signals of transcendence we’ve considered—bigness, order, play, hope, damnation, and humor—and many more that we have not, point not only to a transcendent reality but to the gospel story as the true story of the world. For in the gospel we find an enchanted, supernatural world where love is eternal, death is cheated, victory is snatched out of the hands of defeat, and, in the end, all turns out for the good.
 Bigger isn’t always better. What bigness does point to, however, if we pay attention, is God. But so does everything else, if properly followed. My proposal is one of re-enchantment. We must begin to see everything in its proper light, not as ordinary, mundane, familiar, but as sacred, holy, a gift from our Creator. In doing so, like John the Baptist in the Gospels, we will be pointing others to the King and Creator of it all. That is big news! That is good news!

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