A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning (p. 39).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The logic of C.S. Lewis would follow the pattern – the existence of ears implies the existence of sound; the existence of noses implies the existence of odors; or the existence of stomachs implies the existence of food. It would make no sense for the creation (or even evolution) of these organs if their match did not exist.
C.S. Lewis takes this logic to the meaning of life. Human beings have brains that do more than store data (memory) and prepare for contingencies (plan/dream). Our brains innately want to know “why” things exist or happen the way that they do. We see this in very young children who fall in love with the question “why?”!!!
Random life does not make sense when creatures exist who long for meaning. If there were no meaning to life, then the word “why” would not have a representative in every human language.
Beyond this, there are so many little “why’s” to life. Why do ducks migrate? Why do bees like flowers? Why do car batteries often die after the first cold spell of Fall? We live in a world of a near infinite number of little why’s. This is “why” there can be so many scientists who still have interesting and useful things to learn.
Yet there is a tendency amongst non-believers to believe this “why” ceases to exist at a certain point. Strangely, however, they do not cap this certain point with their own life. Most people believe we can look at history (events bridging generations of people) and still discern useful “why’s”.
It would be odd for the “why” question to reach that far and then just stop. We are willing to ask, “Why did the dinosaurs go extinct?” but not willing to ask, “Why did the ‘why’ go extinct?” I think the reason is, “It did not go extinct. We just did not like the answer, so we ignored it.”
The ultimate why is that we live (and were created) for something larger than ourselves. History is going somewhere. We know this because we all mourn the “good ole days” as if history is going in the wrong direction.
If we acknowledge this, however, it would mean that we would have to admit our sinfulness and our powerlessness to overcome our moral deficiencies (after all, we have tried for generations to educate them away). The meaning we are avoiding would point us to God as Creator, man as sinful, and the hopelessness of our situation unless God did something.
Praise God! He did! If we have the courage to ask the big questions, then God is the answer in Christ to calm the fears generated (Prov 1:7; Psalm 53:1).