Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Law of Human Nature and C.S. Lewis


I think this will take me more than one post to talk about, but I wanted to mention that as I've been rereading C.S. Lewis's book "Mere Christianity" it occured to me that I kind of disagree with him on one point in his discussion of The Law of Human Nature. He says that among the different laws of nature that
"Each man is subject at every moment to several different sets of law but there
is only one that he is free to disobey. As a body, he is subjected to
gravitation and cannot disobey it; if you leave him unsupported in mid-air, he
has no more choice about falling than a stone has. As an organism, he is
subjected to various biological laws which he cannot disobey any more than an
animal can. That is, he cannot disobey those laws which he shares with other
things; but the law which is peculiar to his human nature, the law does not
share with animals or vegetables or inorganic things, is the only one he can
disobey if he so chooses."

Where I disagree with Lewis (and I am by no means the mind that he was so I say it very humbly) is on the point that we can disobey the natural law of man. Lewis's says we can because we can decide to steal rather than not steal which is inline with the law of human nature, or we can decide to lie which is adverse to human nature. However, I would say that while we can make decisions counter to the law of human nature, we are still accountable to those consequences and therefore the law of human nature will still rule. For example, if I choose to "disobey" the law of gravity by jumping off a building, you know its ridiculus because gravity still works and I will be a spot on the sidewalk. In the same manner, I think that when the choice is made to "disobey" human nature, the law of human nature still has its way and we will be a spot of the sidewalk of eternity if we don't make up for it. I suppose I miss Lewis's point a little, maybe I'm being too broadsighted for what he's discussing, but if we believe that every action has a consequence, then whether the liar is caught or not in life, in judgment he won't skip by the judge. If I sky dive with a parachute I'm sort of making up for the gravity and I'll live to take the elevator back up again. If I make mistakes against the Law of Nature and seek redemption sincerely, I have my parachute and I can take the elevator (or the stairs if you're slow to get it like me) and be right back up on top of the building where I can try to not fall off again.


Like I said before, maybe I'm missing the point of Lewis's argument, but I think it's worth the discussion anyway.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

I think Lewis wasn't necessarily saying that it's ok to disobey the law and that you won't pay for it later, but more so that natural law is the only one that we have the ability to make a choice about. For instance, we have no ultimate choice about whether or not we have to go to the restroom. Sure, I can hold it in, but only for so long. Eventually, I have to go. All the laws have consequences, and in the end, they all get us. But the laws of human nature are the only ones that you have control over, at least to an extent. Again, this is all relative to this world, in more ways than one. If you are in outerspace, gravity isn't going to affect you. But jumping off a building really isn't disobeying gravity. Flying around like Superman would be disobeying gravity. Anyway, I just thought I would comment. I liked the post. :)