The Good Serves the Better and Both the Best Part 1 - page 6


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From the Summer 2017 issue of Knowing & Doing:

The Good Serves the Better and Both the Best: C.S. Lewis on Imagination and Reason in Christian Apologetics
Part 1 of 3

by Michael Ward, Ph.D.
Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford

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Article taken from Imaginative Apologetics: Theology, Philosophy and the Catholic Tradition, edited by Andrew Davison. Published by SCM Press, 2011. Republished by permission. For permission to quote, republish or distribute this material, please contact



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1 Austin Farrer, Faith and Speculation: An Essay in Philosophical Theology (London: A. & C. Black, 1967) 156. Cf. ‘almost certainly the most influential religious author of the twentieth century, in English or any other language’, according to Robert MacSwain, ‘Introduction’, The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis (Cambridge University Press, 2010) 3.
2  ‘Bluspels and Flalansferes: A Semantic Nightmare’, Selected Literary Essays, ed. Walter Hooper (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969) 265.
3  ‘Bluspels and Flalansferes’, Selected Literary Essays, 265.
4 Letter to Owen Barfield, 27 May 1928, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume I, ed. Walter Hooper (London: HarperCollins, 2000) 762.
5  ‘Bluspels and Flalansferes’, Selected Literary Essays, 265.
6 Surprised by Joy (Glasgow, Collins, 1982) 146.
7 Lewis had been baptized as an infant (29 January 1899), so ‘baptized’ here does not mean the literal ritual, but the spiritual realisation in Lewis’s own adult consciousness of that ceremonial and sacramental washing.
8 Letter to Arthur Greeves, 18 October 1931, Collected Letters, Volume I, 976.
9 Letter to Arthur Greeves, 18 October 1931, Collected Letters, Volume I, 977.
10  Letter to Arthur Greeves, 18 October 1931, Collected Letters, Volume I, 977.
11  Letter to Arthur Greeves, 18 October 1931, Collected Letters, Volume I, 977.
12 Letter to Arthur Greeves, 18 October 1931, Collected Letters, Volume I, 977.
13  ‘Is Theology Poetry?’, C.S. Lewis, Essay Collection, ed. Lesley Walmsley (London: HarperCollins, 2000) 15.
142 See, e.g, Reflections on the Psalms (Glasgow: Collins, 1984) 75; The Four Loves (Glasgow: Collins, 1989) 9, 14. 15, 20, 81, 94.

Michael Ward is Senior Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, and Professor Apologetics at Houston Baptist University in Texas. He is the author of Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis. He studied English at Oxford, Theology at Cambridge, and has a Ph.D. in Divinity from St Andrews.


Recommended Reading:
Michael Ward, The Narnia Code: C. S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens (Tyndale House Publishers, 2010)

Millions of readers have been captivated by C.S. Lewis’s famed Chronicles of Narnia, but why? What is it about these seven books that makes them so appealing? For more than half a century, scholars have attempted to find the organizing key—the “secret code”—to the beloved series, but it has remained a mystery. Until now. In The Narnia Code, Michael Ward takes the reader through each of the seven Narnia books and reveals how each story embodies and expresses the characteristics of one of the seven planets of medieval cosmology—Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Luna, Mercury, Venus and Saturn—planets which Lewis described as “spiritual symbols of permanent value.” How does medieval cosmology relate to the Christian underpinnings of the series? How did it impact Lewis’s depiction of Aslan, the Christlike character at the heart of the books? And why did Lewis keep this planetary inspiration a secret? Originally a ground-breaking scholarly work called Planet Narnia, this more accessible adaptation will answer all the questions.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.



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