I recently re-read C.S. Lewis’ book Miracles (you can read my full book review by clicking here). As you may have noticed, after reading and reviewing books on this blog, I also like to share some quotes that caught my attention. Doing this with Lewis is difficult, because in order to get the context of a particular quote, I think I would have to cite almost a full page or more. So over the next few weeks I plan to share some quotes from Miracles that require not as much context, or I will provide a bit of background to set the stage.
Democritus was a Greek philosopher who proposed the universe was made up of invisible atoms and empty space. The atoms perpetually bounced around and sometimes connected with other atoms to form our tangible universe. Erwin Schrödinger put a ‘concreteness’ or ‘definiteness’ to the atomic theories previous held. In other words, Democritus saw an almost pantheistic, indescribable vagueness about Nature, whereas Schrödinger gave it definition. Lewis says that Christians need to put Monotheistic definitions on Nature and Supernature.
“At every point Christianity has to correct the natural expectations of the Pantheist and offer something more difficult, just as Schrödinger has to correct Democritus. At every moment he has to multiply distinctions and rule out false analogies. He has to substitute the mappings of something that has a positive, concrete, and highly articulated character for the formless generalities in which Pantheism is at home.”
“If God is the ultimate source of all concrete, individual things and events, then God Himself must be concrete, and individual in the highest degree. Unless the origin of all other things were itself concrete and individual, nothing else could be so; for there is no conceivable means whereby what is abstract or general could itself produce concrete reality. Bookkeeping, continued to all eternity, could never produce one farthing. Metre, of itself, could never produce a poem. Bookkeeping needs something else (namely, real money put into the account) and metre needs something else (real words, fed into it by a poet) before any income or any poem can exist. If anything is to exist at all, then the Original Thing must be, not a principal nor a generality, much less an ‘ideal’ or a ‘value,’ but an utterly concrete fact.”