Anselm And Aslan: C. S. Lewis And The Ontological Argument -- By: Donald T. Williams

Journal: Global Journal of Classical Theology
Volume: GJCT 13:1 (Apr 2016)
Article: Anselm And Aslan: C. S. Lewis And The Ontological Argument
Author: Donald T. Williams


Anselm And Aslan: C. S. Lewis And The Ontological Argument

Donald T. Williams

R. A. Forrest Scholar and Professor of English at Toccoa Falls College
Toccoa, Georgia, U.S.A

Donald T. Williams, Ph.D., is R. A. Forrest Scholar and Professor of English at Toccoa Falls College in the hills of NE Georgia. An ordained minister with many years of pastoral experience, he has spent several summers training local pastors in East Africa, Bulgaria, and India for Church Planting International. His most recent books include Mere Humanity: Chesterton, Lewis, and Tolkien on the Human Condition (Broadman, 2006); Stars Through the Clouds: The Collected Poetry of Donald T. Williams (Lantern Hollow Press, 2011), Reflections from Plato’s Cave: Essays in Evangelical Philosophy (Lantern Hollow, 2012); Inklings of Reality: Essays Toward a Christian Philosophy of Letters, 2nd edition, revised and expanded (Lantern Hollow, 2012); and, with Jim Prothero, Gaining a Face: The Romanticism of C. S. Lewis (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholar’s Press, 2013). Material on literature, theology, the inklings, and apologetics can be found at Williams’s blog, www.lanternhollowpress.com.

“We trust not because ‘a God’ exists, but because this God exists” (“Obstinacy” 25).

“But who is Aslan? Do you know him?”
“Well, he knows me,” said Edmund (VDT 117).

Introduction

C. S. Lewis wrote his brother Warnie on 24 October 1931 that “God might be defined as ‘a Being who spends his time having his existence proved and disproved’” (Letters 2:7). The jocular definition reminds us that we could easily get the impression from listening to the interminable debates on the subject that the first question of theology is whether God exists. But if theology begins from God’s having revealed Himself to us, which Christians believe is the only way it can begin, then that can hardly be the case. God, having spoken the world into existence, and having spoken through it and in it since, would be in a position, were He so inclined, to one-up Descartes and proclaim, “Dico; ergo sum” (“I speak; therefore, I am”). Believers could say, “Dixit; ergo est” (“He has spoken; therefore, He is”). The Christian theologian therefore does not begin by asking whether God exists but by enquiring into what can be known about the One who has already taken the initiative and revealed Himself as existing.

The “whether” question inevitably comes up anyway though, for Christian philosophers especially, but for theologians too. It does so because we need to be clear about the grounds of our faith, for our own sake and for the sake of those who have not yet had the experienc...

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