Rhylee Suyom has hopped in three different worlds: the academe, the corporate, and the media. He enjoys being with nature and his family.
Miracles by C.S. Lewis
An Analysis of C. S. Lewis’ Miracles
Perhaps the most striking thought following the difficult process of analyzing and trying to digest what CS Lewis was preaching and teaching was the idea that miracles can only be felt, known, and understood only when one believes then everything else will follow. Personally speaking, the many modern scientific and technological advancements have made believing a personal hurdle. It has always been a struggle for me to believe in miracles mainly because I am not a devout follower of my religion. To say that deity is the source of all nature and miracles is something which I find very hard to accept; as the book suggests, belief is the cause of miracles to be seen and in my case I cannot believe in such things unless I see the evidences and proofs that they really exist (43). While there are things which the book tries to persuade me to develop faith or believe in, I guess the author is right that belief entails having the proper reason, going beyond nature, and using free agency to allow oneself to begin to believe. I prefer causality and reciprocity more than belief simply because I see the immediate effect and consequences of my actions, decisions, and choices. As for faith and miracles which the author appeals to prove, I may have to contend with my own disbelief in order to probably see the ‘miracles’ in my life which others may have already been seeing. For now, I have to stick with my own disbelief and rely on reciprocity and causality.
Summary and Arguments
From what I understand without using my own disbelief to discredit the beautiful discussions of the author, the book is a wonderful attempt to make people especially Christians become aware of the many miracles in their lives. It was more of an exposition and dissection of the Christian faith so much so that lay members will begin to see the essence of their faith (belief system) in order to enjoy the blessings of miracles.
The book shows that people cannot trust their personal experiences as the basis of understanding miracles because the latter goes far beyond the realm of the natural world, we live in. Similarly, one’s perception of his or her experiences cannot be the basis of unlocking miracles solely because miracles transcend the physical world and the senses; the beginning to knowing miracles rely on one’s philosophy and belief (11 – 12, 37 – 38). Second, for someone to fully understand miracles, he or she must first define it. Failure to do so means not knowing its very nature, ingredients, processes, and effects. Lewis stated that miracles are occurrences or events which defy nature or the natural laws (10). It is not natural; it is supernatural (13). Reason is the key towards knowing miracles but using the human or natural senses will never lead to an understanding of miracles. For a supernatural phenomenon to be understood, the limitations of the natural world must never be used in order to unlock the mysteries of miracles. And the main reason why miracles exist is because of God. Natural human senses can be ‘kindled’ by God so that man will slowly begin to ‘see’ what miracles are and enjoy the blessings attached to them. However, the stumbling block is man’s limited judgment. With man’s moral judgment, it goes to say that if only human conscience (believed to be one with God) is constantly in-tuned with God’s can people believe (26 – 29). To align man’s conscience to that of God’s, the former must learn to accept that there is a God and that God’s nature transcends that of the natural world giving man the opportunity to see things not from mere human senses but from the spiritual lenses which God will grant him --- belief. It is the admission of God, His sacred nature, and His powers to allow man to develop faith (belief system) that will allow man to see miracles (41 – 43).
There are critics and unbelievers who refute such miracles and they usually use exact sciences to prove their points but Lewis was great at proving that miracles do not violate such scientific laws; man does not seem to see beyond the natural laws he has established that is why he thinks that the miracles cannot exist under natural laws. The author discussed that people must understand that ‘nature’ is man-made, and this limited and vague concept is what stops man from seeing the supernatural. Not until man learns to accept that there is a force, power, intelligence, and realm above and beyond the nature can he only learn the miracles (49 – 50). The book went on to use and explain the miracles taught and performed by Christ in the New Testament extensively categorizing the miracles and ultimately leading to the greatest miracle of all --- resurrection. This resurrection seems to be the crowning glory in the Christin faith (belief) and merits the highest of all miracles (110). In the end, the expose concludes with a sincere plea to appeal to the inner longings of the conscience and stop the ‘natural’ tendency to interpret nature as ‘everything’ and that if one wants to witness miracles, he or she must be more than willing to have the initiative to go beyond human nature and open his conscience towards God (124).
The Final Say: An Evaluation
Admittedly, the book is primarily written for Christians and the Christian world, not for the general peoples of the world. While the discussion seems to be centered on philosophy, the expository nature of discussion was more of a Sunday School type of preaching for a class or group of believers. Even when the methodologies and terminologies may sound philosophical, its very nature is purely religious and exclusive to Christian faith.
Perhaps the greatest drawback of the book was its attempt to explain something supernatural in reference to the natural world. This, for me, is a big mistake. Belief systems, deities, religions, and miracles have always transcended nature; there is no need to speak about nature when dealing with the supernatural, they are just too far apart and have direct connection. Miracles should have been explained only in reference to all that is supernatural such as: spirit, communion, condescension, resurrection, prompting of the Holy Ghost, God the Father, Jesus Christ, prophets, etc. The effort is futile from the beginning because as both the prologue and epilogue suggest, miracles only come from believing. Without the willing desire to believe, there can be no miracles. The same goes with the book; there is no point in discussing all the types of miracles, the principles behind each one, the differences between nature and supernatural, or the concept of reason from the supernatural standpoint if the reader is not willing to believe. As Khalil Gibran wrote: “all knowledge is vain, save there is work” and no amount of knowledge will be useful to an unbelieving person for he will not exert effort to work on whatever knowledge he may have gained.
Lewis, Clive S. (1947). Miracles. Pp.1 – 167. Web. Retrieved from: <http://www.basicincome.com/bp/files/Miracles-C_S_Lewis.pdf>
C. S. Lewis’ Miracles
Professor S (author) from Angeles City, Pampanga, PHILIPPINES on August 15, 2019:
Perhaps we all hope for better things... I have often do even when conditions seem bleak and unrewarding at times.
I really hope to have more light in me so I can see things 'clearer.'
Thanks for your comment.
Kathy Henderson from Pa on August 15, 2019:
It was lovely to read your thought process in this dissecting view of miracles. I am a miracle believer, while I understand the difficulty in the concept of belief. I have experienced miraculous events, truthfully we all have.
The cognitive understanding tries to deny them, but in hindsight they are undeniable. For me, it began slowly by looking back on events, good or bad, and acknowledging the true depth of impossibility. Only by a miracle is explanation sensible though the brain wants to refute the possibility.
At least for myself, I remain in my belief, hoping that as you continue to dissect your thoughts, you will see miracles all around you. Miracles are a very possible reality. Peace to you as you explore the possibilities.