Yesterday’s post by David Williams takes a look at C. S. Lewis and what he had to say about evolution. Those familiar with Lewis’s writings will already be on board, though David points out a some things I think many will be interested in.
David’s post illustrates something I have come across on my own in interactions with Evangelicals over evolution: The Brits may talk funny and wrap their fried fish in newspaper, but they tend to be more chill when it comes to the Bible. I’ve had more than one British Evangelical plead with me not to align them with the American Evangelical obsession to distance the Bible from science or higher critical biblical scholarship. They have a point.
I was able to understand this American character trait a bit better after reading a 2009 essay by noted historian Mark Noll–a very readable and succinct essay, which I recommend with typical American overstatement and shocking display of enthusiasm. Briefly stated, Noll asks the question why American Evangelicals are so screwed up about the Bible–of course he puts it in very nice scholarly language. Noll has no fewer than 15 reasons that help define the uniquely American experience, ranging from medieval philosophy to moral upheaval in the 1960s.
Anyway, David’s essay offers a great sketch of what C. S. Lewis thought about evolution, and although some of Lewis’s views might raise other sorts of questions in the evolution/Christianity dialogue, American Evangelicals are on much safer ground–theologically, scientifically, and biblically–by paying close attention to what he says.
It’s refreshing to hear what educated, faithful, thinkers like Lewis say when they are focused on understanding the Bible in our world rather than protecting it from our world.