C.S. Lewis’ Ingenious Apologetic of Longing

sensuchtFor C.S. Lewis, the acclaimed Christian apologist and author, a permanent sense of longing characterized his deepest held beliefs about Christianity. He identified this feeling with the idea of sehnsucht, a German word meaning “longing” or “desire”. Sehnsucht appeared in many of Lewis’ favorite works of literature, including Norse mythology, the poems of Wordsworth, and the children’s stories of George Macdonald. It was “that unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of a bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title of The Well at the World’s End, the opening lines of Kubla Khan, the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves.”

Another way of putting it? Sehnsucht is a feeling of nostalgia that faces towards the future. It appeared repeatedly in Lewis’ writing—in his fiction, scholarship, and apologetical works. In one of the most beloved passages in Mere Christianity, Lewis uses the concept as an argument for Christianity, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” The desires that spring up in us—those for love, safety, security, belonging—are never truly satisfied here in this life. Rather, they are pointers to another place, somewhere inaccessible to us now. Like the “forward-facing nostalgia” of sehnsucht, this feeling points us toward the heavenly home for which we were created.

An early edition of The Well at the World's End included beautiful woodcuts, but it was the book's euphonious title which provoked a deep sense of longing in Lewis.

An illustration from an early edition of The Well at the World’s End.

In The Weight of Glory, Lewis argued that we’ve all experienced this longing—and are embarrassed by it. Sehnsucht is “the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name.”

But what is the source of these longings? As a young man, Lewis believed that such feelings existed for their own sake. One must chase such longings wherever they led, hopefully ending up someday with “the Real Thing”. However, Lewis later argued that these desires were planted by God to point us to his Son. “Glory, as Christianity teaches me to hope for it, turns out to satisfy my original desire and indeed to reveal an element in that desire which I had not noticed. By ceasing for a moment to consider my own wants I have begun to learn better what I really wanted.” Our desires ultimately point us to the Father who accepts us in Christ.

A scene from The Chronicles of Narnia perfectly captures Lewis’ idea of sehnsucht. Traveling west to meet Aslan, the protagonists eventually take notice of their surroundings.

It still seemed to be early and the morning freshness was in the air. They kept on stopping to look round and to look behind them, partly because it was so beautiful but partly also because there was something about it which they could not understand.
“Peter,” said Lucy, “where is this, do you suppose?”

“I don’t know,” said the High King. “It reminds me of somewhere but I can’t give it a name. Could it be somewhere we once stayed for a holiday when we were very, very small?”

“It would have to have been a jolly good holiday,” said Eustace. “I bet there isn’t a country like this anywhere in our world. Look at the colors. You couldn’t get a blue like the blue on those mountains in our world. . . .”

Lucy said, “They’re different. They have more colors on them and they look further away than I remembered and they’re more … more … oh, I don’t know.…”

“More like the real thing,” said the Lord Digory softly.

***

If you’re interested in more by Lewis, check out The C.S. Lewis Collection (30 vols.), containing Lewis’ major apologetic works alongside his fiction and collected letters. Or, for insightful commentary on Lewis’ life and writings, check out Sehnsucht: The C.S. Lewis Journal.

Comments

  1. Nice job

  2. Longing or nostalgia is an apologetic for Christianity!? Totally subjective and dubious at best.

    “…’If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.’ The desires that spring up in us—those for love, safety, security, belonging—are never truly satisfied here in this life. Rather, they are pointers to another place, somewhere inaccessible to us now.” Shirley MacLaine could affirm exactly the same thing.

    No thanks. I will stick with the propositional/historical truth of the Scriptures.

    • Why not both? We are complex creatures.

    • Thanks JRS!

      You might appreciate this essay at Trinity Foundation:

      http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=103

      • I have always enjoyed/appreciated the tidy, surgical steel minds of Clark and Robbins. Thnx.

    • Jonathan says:

      JRS,

      You say it’s “Totally subjective” but clearly Lewis would disagree (and I think Lewis is correct). The point is that this longing is not “totally” subjective but is present in every man, and in everyman this longing can only be satisfied in God.

    • JRS, I think you judge a little too hastily. This argument is an extension of the ontological argument. It could likewise be said to be a variation of the “God void” which points to the Moral argument. Apologetics is applied theology for pre-evangelism. I find that most people will not understand most of the arguments in apologetics. And, yes this argument can be used to open a hearing to the Gospel. Isn’t this the ultimate goal of apologetics. Yes, you are correct that this argument will be found wanting in a rigorous intellectual debate, but that in and of itself does not invalidate its use.
      Further equating, apologetics to the propositional/historical thruths of Scripture is a misunderstanding of apologetics.

    • JRS – We are Scripturally commanded to wait with expectation for the Hope that we find in the Scriptures! Or do you think the parable of the Ten Virgins is something like robotic waiting? Were not the faithful eager (and prepared accordingly) for his arrival?

      Are you not aware that it is not a casual acknowledgement of Lordship of Christ, but rather an experiential awareness, fearful at first in our sin, then glorious in our hope, that transpires at the moment of repentance for our salvation? For not all that say “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven – you must experience, i.e. Know Him (a personal experience we experience subjectively but happens definitively), or else, no matter how much Scripture we know, he will say “Depart from me; I never knew you.”

      And the closing sentiment of Scripture when all these things we hope for that Lewis describes (when we “no longer see through a glass darkly”), which is essentially when we are living in God’s Kingdom once it has come to its full realization. John ends it with “Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!”

      If you want a more Scriptural term for Lewis’ “sehnsucht” it would be “Hope” but hope has multiple meanings and uses in English. “I hope I did well on the test” or “I hope traffic is not bad today” vs THE HOPE we have – the assurance of the Good Will of our God that is coming, but it is not something found only in the future – we see echoes of it here and now, and hence…

      We have a nostalgic longing towards the future.

      Every man was created to worship the Creator and to live with him and in a world he rules perfectly (think of how the Garden would have been if we never sinned). Man fell, and not all will answer the call, but we still see both remnants (this world, as broken as it is, still clings to some aspects of its good original state), and future clues (the orphan who is graciously taken into a loving home).

      Personal experience and subjective experience are two very different things. Unless we personally experience Christ, we cannot be saved. In that personal experience things like age, location, circumstances we have landed in because of sin, but the Salvation experience is a universal experience among all believers. And what triggers the sehnsucht experience is different among different people, but it is a universal experience.

      As I said to an atheist I was debating with who said science pretty much had, and certainly would soon, remove all need for religion, I flat out laughed at him. He got all upset and was about to launch into his theories when I stopped him. “Friend, wait. Even IF you could prove that matter and this universe has always existed…even if you could prove (you can’t but let’s say for the sake of argument, you did) that my faith, Christianity, is all hogwash. Let’s say you know everything there is to know about the universe. There will still be religion, for people would still be asking religious questions. Why am I here? What is the purpose of all this? Is there any good reason that we have to experience all this pain and suffering?” These questions science cannot answer. Even if some truly believed all of our desires and longings and even free will was determined by chemicals in the brain, the majority of the world will always reject that. People cannot live without some form of Hope, that Something or Someone makes life worth existing to begin with.

    • “…’If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.’ The desires that spring up in us—those for love, safety, security, belonging—are never truly satisfied here in this life. Rather, they are pointers to another place, somewhere inaccessible to us now.”

      The author of the blog identifies that Lewis’ desire was, as is for every person, for ‘love, safety, security, and belonging’. I question how he knows this with such certainty. Perhaps the desire Lewis wrote about was simply for ‘bangers and mash’ for lunch. Or maybe he secretly always longed to be a faun in an enchanted forest accessed through an old wardrobe in a spare oom. Who, apart from Lewis, really knows? Interesting.

      Here is a secret … my desire has always been to be a turtle and it, too, cannot be satisfied in this world. But how does that unfulfilled longing argue for or lead me to Christ? The point is, one can shape the ‘wax nose’ of emotive, internalized “desire” into any shape and, accordingly, it doesn’t follow in any way that it is necessarily an ‘apologetic’ or argument for Christianity.

      If, however, I read the Scriptures and find my [natural] self to be less than what is required by the holy God, and then I read on to see that because of my lack, I am condemned by Him. In fact, I am completely unable to meet the requirement for the perfection He requires and that there is nothing in and of myself that I can do about it. Then, in my misery I read that God will accept a substitute in my place and that His wrath is poured out on Him instead of me. I come alive, I believe, I am justified by faith through Christ before God.

      NOW, THESE THINGS THAT I READ, THESE PROPOSITIONS, ARE INDEED AN APOLOGETIC, AN ARGUMENT THAT LEADS ME BY THE EFFICACIOUS WORK OF THE SPIRIT TO CHRIST/CHRISTIANITY!

      Whereas, longings/desires/nostalgia/sehnsucht can be interpreted in all sorts of ways, and are highly equivocal. In short, highly subjective and dubious at best.

      • JRS, But you have started with Scriptures. This is fine for all of us who believe that the Bible is the Word of God, but for those who don’t recognize it as such will be hard pressed to even open the book. Apologetic is about giving them a reason to actually open the book.
        I often use variations of Lewis’s argument, though I really don’t credit it to him. For instance in Ecclesiasties it says that He has placed eternity in our hearts. Every human being finds it very hard to come to grips with the thought that this is it. I had one friend whose atheistic fathers last words were, “This is all there is?” We find it hard to come to grips with this because we have a sense that there is more, that “longing”. And I believe that sense of more was built into us. Again an appeal to the Moral or Anthropological argument for the existence of God. Humans have built in a sense of right and wrong, justice and eternity. Where did these concepts come from? The materialistic process of evolution. No, that doesn’t make sense. So that longing, for justice, eternity are just part of that longing for something more than this world has to offer something integral to our created essence. As I said before, Lewis’ ‘longing’ is a variation and extension of the ontological argument for the existence of God and the Anthropological argument for the existence of God. These are some of the two basic arguments within apologetic often used by evangelical churches throughout the ages. So you have right out reject a variation of these without fulling understanding the main point. Just because you don’t like the way Lewis explained this argument doesn’t make the core essence of the argument fallacious.

  3. Thomas Dowdy says:

    I don’t think we can ever find what God would have us know or experience even in the Bible.He is always reaching out to us to come closer to Him,to know Him better.
    Even if S.M. could have something similar would not invalidate God’s reaching out to us.

  4. Thomas Dowdy says:

    I should have had an “ALL” after find

  5. The thought of Sehnsucht reminds of the times in which I’m alone reading God’s word and there is a great peace, contentment, warmth (not literal) that makes me want nothing else but silence and to continue listening. Unlike the hopeless searching of Shirley MacLaine, those desires can be satisfied in this life through salvation which is knowing God.

  6. Good summary of this aspect of Lewis's teaching

  7. Dean Poulos says:

    Greetings Daniel,

    I find your use of the word “longing,” which is in contrast to Lewis’ “Argument for Desire” to be a much better choice of words. In Mere Christianity Pgs. 136-137, as you quoted, Lewis lays out the foundation for what is being called here an Apologetic:

    “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

    The word (᾿Επιποθῶ= Epipothō or EPIPOQW) in one of the best attested verses IMHO would be in the Pauline Epistle to the church at Philippi, vs. 1.8 “As God as my witness I long for each and every one of you with the love of Christ Jesus.” (In longing Paul communicates his deep feeling for the church at Philippi and if you notice, this longing cannot be satisfied on earth). The word for desire (ἐπιθυμέω=᾿Epithymeō= EPIQUME/W) is the most commonly used for desire and it is the same exact same word as lust (with an eye to Carnal desirers). See Mk 4.19, c.f. Jn 8.44, Ro 1.24, 6.12 and many more.

    In any case, I believe Lewis (and most English writers) used the terms interchangeably and the subject matter is not Koine Greek. I only pointed out the difference due to your usage and also, it is being categorized as a “Defense,” or as what many here call an Apologetic. You follow the quote with:

    “The desires that spring up in us—those for love, safety, security, belonging—are never truly satisfied here in this life.”

    The formal “Argument for Desire,” as proposed by Lewis and later in an old book I still have from 1978, (Handbook of Christian Apologetics, by Peter Kreeff) both are speaking of a longing for a mystery. I suppose I could relate The Argument from Desire to Lewis’ expounding on Otto’s Numinous. However, I am not seeing this in your text.

    Your style of writing, is refined and captivating, and while I do not exactly know what you do for a living Brother Daniel, as a colleague of Tyler, I might guess, however, if one were to attribute to you the title of a Seasoned Novelist, I would certainly not argue.

    I use language in a very different way—I only say this, since I was asked to comment by my friend Tyler and I am among Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Please take no offence at my words. Everything I write you will find in terms of logic vs. Assertions. This is not something which must always be done, but in the interest of full disclosure, so that no offence is taken (where none is inferred), it is simply my style of communicating and the style grew since I read my first small book on Apologetics in 1990. That now said:

    A longing for “Love, Safety, Security and Belonging,” I am sorry Daniel, I am not seeing that anywhere in any of Lewis’ writings. Lewis hints “The Argument from Desire” throughout all his writings, and in Eerdmans reprint (C.S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress. 1933, 1943, Page 10) Lewis again states eloquently (emphasis mine, to flow to Kreeft):

    “the human soul was made to enjoy some object that is never fully given; nay, cannot even be [imagined] as given—[in our present mode of subjective and spatiotemporal experience.”]

    A longing for “Love, Safety, Security and Belonging” as a means to defend the Blessed Hope of every born again from above Christian as an apologetic, or rather a defence, I must respectfully disagree. Peter Kreeft placed Lewis’ argument into a syllogism [emphasis mine]:

    “1) every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some [real object that can satisfy that desire.]
    2) But there exists in us a desire which [nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy.]
    3) Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures, which can satisfy this desire.
    4) This something is what people call “God” and “life with God forever.”

    Granted, not my style and IMHO, the manner in which it is written is not a very good defense for an unbeliever, but I’m uncertain where you came up with these four “Love, Safety, Security and Belonging.”

    I will tell you as my reply progresses how deeply I feel about Lewis and why, but most atheists I have debated over the last 30 years are very bright. Yes, there are the fools as well. Clinton Dawkins for one. The now deceased Christopher Hitchens and more and more it seems Lee Smolin has latched on to this crowd. Hitchens was a very funny man, likable; he had that Brit accent thing going for him, yet his rants (impossible to classify as debate) were mere babble. As for Clinton (who hates his first name) never call him Richard if you run into him, he’s thin-skinned. :-). Say Hi Clinton. 

    Again, I will ask, please take no offense Brother Daniel, your style of writing is remarkable. My style is diametrically opposed. I am pure (Logos) logic and reason.

    I also admit, I was scraping the bottom of the barrel, however, it is possible even Clinton and Hitchens (were he not in a constant state of panic and dread, searching for a nonexistant glass of Ice water since his death) IMHO, both would counter your argument:

    1. I thought you Christians say “God love.” If He’s indwelling in you, maybe you’re longing for something else?

    2. A longing for Safety? What safety do we long for?

    The battle is never against flesh and blood, not for me and I suspect, not for you Brother Daniel or any here. We all hold an impenetrable shield of God given faith, that can remove a mountain. A number of other defensive weapons and the two most powerful weapons of mass demonic destruction in this world, the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and the immense Power of prayer.

    I feel VERY safe and fear nothing in this pitiful world, I am alien to it. I fear only God, even knowing full well He will never forsake me and I walk through this life upheld by His Omnipotent hand. (yep, allusion to “How Firm a Foundation!”)

    Sorry, my brother, I am not longing for safety either.

    3. Longing for Security? This choice I cannot comprehend.

    I know CS Lewis, I’ve read most everything he has written and while he is somewhat confused on the issue of free will, he is definitely at semi reformed and a number of his books point out the foolishness and the insult to our Great God and Savior when heretics question eternal Security and confuse people with talks of dead works.

    Ep. 2.10 NA28

    “αὐτοῦ γάρ ἐσμεν ποίημα, κτισθέντες ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ἐπὶ ἔργοις ἀγαθοῖς οἷς προητοίμασεν ὁ θεός, ἵνα ἐν αὐτοῖς περιπατήσωμεν.”

    “ALL OF His children are His Workmanship. (c.f. Ro. 1.20) fashioned into Chris Jesus unto Good Works, which God predestined that they should walk in them.”

    That is the believers’ paradox. His finished product which is still in progress!

    Although not in the Greek, this is implied and this is an “apologetic” (defense): These Good Works, were completed and set in stone, before what science calls the Big Bang, (the Hawkings’ Singularity), or (Null Time). Simply put: At that point when the Logos spoke the universe into existence, from a non-temporal state. It is called Transcendence. It’s like saying the Universe had a beginning, a square circle exists, as does a married bachelor. Science has given us more to enlighten the truths of the Bible, then any Theologist, OK, I did not say, Systematic Theologist. :-)

    4. That leaves a desire for belonging.

    I could be misinformed but I get all the belonging I need in an alien world, I call it fellowship with my fellow members of the body of Christ. That said:

    I was also kidding, Brother Daniel, neither Dawkins, Hitchens, Smolin or Sammy “I’m a determinist who believes in Objective values” Harris, none of them would have written what I did above. Why? Read more of the Pauline epistles, and the issue of carnal blindness.

    With that said back to Lewis. I enjoyed your article, and CS Lewis has come up with some of the most formidable defenses against the persistent 5.000 year old so-called problem of pain as well as on the issue of Objective morals without God.

    If I were debating someone who is courteous and professional and brings up all the evil in the world and constructs the same 6 or 7 point syllogism some of the smarter atheists do, if they are the respectful and most are, I hold back on destroying the so called problem of pain with one sentence but if not, and the debate is live and they take 10 minutes to twice explain their detailed syllogism and dare defeat of any premise, when the buzzer goes off and their time is up, (this is really not cruel, but it can sound cruel).

    The moderator calls to me (my head tilted down) and I joke a snore. ;-), followed by, sorry I fell asleep during your 2th explanation of the second premise. I take it is my turn, so….CLICK:

    A slide pops up under the exact syllogism the atheist constructed with my ONE SINGLE SENTENCE below it. It devastates it, and the person is left speechless. It sinks in more, and you can see the look on their face twisting, “what I’m I supposed to say?” Typically, the even the disrespectful ones, say. I yield my time to my opponent and skulk away. The worst I’ve heard is, “How dare you take my words and use them to defeat my argument?”

    That’s called debate, fool. “Only a fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” If my Father can call them Fools, I can limit my word to that and be in line with 1 Pt.

    “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to provide a reasoned defense to anyone who asks about the blessed hope you possess, but do it respectfully, holding to integrity, so those who slander your noble manner in Christ, are buried in humiliation when they attempt to accuse you. [Emphasis in the Greek, is feebly accuse], but I do not add words to scripture.
    .
    Back to Lewis.

    If I am debating a respectful atheist, and they bring up the problem of pain, I do not use my “one line impossible to defeat by one single Christian, Jew, Atheist, or ANYONE.”

    I then go to the Master of who created the best explanatory solution to the Problem, CS Lewis; who also added the most powerful piece in my arsenal on Objective Morals being impossible without God.

    The Problem of Pain, and CS Lewis. Very unusual. It is always either a Theodicy (those who defend the issue from the perspective of WHY God would allow such pain). I do not do, Theodocies—I do logic. A gift of God, He created reason and logic.

    Time to get a clue, there is no problem of pain, the burden of proof is on the atheist and the defeat is their own words. Also, an evidentiary epistemology is always self-defeating. The was Lewis puts it. He has many, original defenses he has finely honed, and I’ve quoted him on each one. However, IMHO his most creative was a double defense of Pain and Objective Morals. Few use language in the way in which Lewis did, and so stealthily during the conversation it builds and just shocks you. When I first read his defense which is NOT a Theodicy, it is logic, just not my type of logic.

    Yet to hear Lewis lead up to what I do not in any way call a free will defense, it is not. He just keeps pushing, of course God can stop all war, why He can turn the club about to strike you in the head, into broccoli. (All of mine are paraphrases from memory, which don’t have Lewis’ literary powerhouse behind them, but the point will get through. He keeps pushing, why, of course God could cause the next nuclear Bomb to not form a mushroom cloud, but a harmless rainbow. He keeps going analogy after analogy and when I first read this over 20 years ago, I really almost feel off the chair.

    Then hits you with the inevitable logic, of course in the end, to remove all evil, he would need to remove the parts of the brain which permit any evil thoughts to manifest. Then he stops and it hits you.

    Of course God could stop all evil and all would be walking (I mean sitting) with no brain matter left “for all fall short and have gone astray.”

    Then he quickly moves to flawless modal logic. It is possible that in some other completely dark universe, where light from no star shines and a race of creatures who inhabit this universe, from their creation, have different sensory mechanisms. There is many possible worlds in this dark universe of creatures who have other senses and have never knew of the concept of light, or eyes. He does better, but I insert this:

    It would be as incoherent to them as a square circle or married bachelor is to us. The is no form of logic to counter why these beings would come up with a concept of light, or eyes.

    No more than finite beings born to die would come up with the concept of immortality, let alone an Eternal afterlife and with precision. That came from only one book. Is. 57.15 “For Thus saith the High and Holy One, who Inhabits Eternity and whose name is Holy.” There does exist, as science will tell you, Eternity, but there has never been any such thing as infinity. It’s is great for String Theory equations.

    Time to get some sleep, but some final comments:

    1. It is great to have 30 years of an Apologetic background, physics and philosophy and more important, the Philosophy of Science and Math and to use them, not achieved from my talent or knowledge, but by His Grace alone. He provided the gifts, He gets the Glory.

    2. Presuppositional apologetics sounds to me like confused Hyper Calvinism (no offence) a number of today’s who believe people must first repent and confess their sins before they can be saved. I’m Reformed, however, I am a Spurgeon Reformed Baptist, and to call on the only reference most may be familiar with today, the best I can come up with is John McArthur, who is a bit odd. He is not of the Original Presbyterians way before Darby, who were Calvinist and Pre-millennial Dispensationalist. God does not break promises, He does not UN-Elect his original Elect People and His Elect Nation. There is NOT ONE SINGLE contradiction in the bible, UNLESS someone buys into the Original Romanist doctrine of Covenant Theology. (Glad to see Piper taking a step in the right direction).

    I suggest no Sproulian Calvinists even attempt to debate this issue with me. Especially Sproul himself.

    In the middle of such a debate, when it is least expected, I will ask, since it’s now official, tell me, “In the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s, the General Assembly of PC(USA) adopted several social justice initiatives, which covered a range of topics including: stewardship of God’s creation, world hunger, homelessness, and LGBT issues. As of 2011, the PC(USA) no longer excludes Partnered Gay and Lesbian MINISTERS from the ministry.”

    “Previously, the PC(USA) required its ministers to remain “chastely in singleness or with fidelity in marriage.” Currently, the PC(USA) permits teaching elders to perform same-gender marriages in states in which it is legal. [On a congregational basis, individual sessions (congregational governing bodies) may choose to permit same-gender marriages in states in which it is legal.

    What is the world in a congregational governing body?” Like Independent Baptists? Not a chance.

    So, did our Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnibenevolent Sovereign God, predestine homosexuals as His Ellect and did His Sovereign will call Homosexual and female Pastors and Elders who marry them,?

    Are these unrepentant and now married LGBT’s the Elect?

    Or, perhaps they were Unelected and have joined the so-called “Spiritual Israel?”

    Such a convoluted hold on to the corrupt Roman Catholic belief system, completely contrary to the early church, the Apostles and our Lord!

    No need to get into the rest of the splits and the revisions to the creeds, which is why Reformed Independent Dispensational Baptists hate creeds and we are truly Sola scriptura.

    Men can change creeds.

    So, my question would be If there is list of stats of the breakaways and any claim is made, the renegades are in the minority, (today’s Calvinist has lost already, since he needs a list in the first place).

    Final reply to core and Summation:

    “But what is the source of these longings?” IMHO, either someone who is not a Christian, or perhaps a very new “babe” as each of us grows.

    Here is where we are as of Sept 9, 2015, in Apologetics and Science.

    *Science (not the old Teleological argument) has proven it is impossible for life to have evolved in this universe. This it is not the old anthropomorphic principle, and while it has elements of what some may have heard referred to as “Fine Tuning,” or “Just 6 numbers” it’s way past that. There are NO more Gap arguments, atheists who are honest, (mostly physicists), will tell you this. Heck, they write the best books on it. I get my best debate material from atheists!

    *There is no argument, due to the settled issue of the Hawkings’ Singularity. Before what science calls the Big Bang, there was nothing. Nothing is not something, it is pure negation. It is not the 1992 discredited nonsense of the Finite Nature assumption; that at some scale, space and time and all other quantities of physics are discrete. Foolish and never accepted by any physicist, except the one who wrote the book.

    Time did not exist, matter did not exist, and energy did not exist. Negation = nothing.

    No time, no matter, no energy, no vacuum, no silly quantum vacuum either, teaming with energy. Yeah, in a Non temporal Stasis. In fact, if I were to say, The Universe had a beginning, that would be another square circle. Why? Causality, by definition, requires a Temporal State.

    UNLESS: There was a Transcendent cause and by definition, this cause, could not have a body: “God is Spirit,” John. It would also by definition be unchanging, and have no beginning, since there was no time, change and beginnings are temporal. It would have to be something like a powerful un-embodied consciousness. It would not violate the law of Infinite Regress. Like when Atheists Dawkins proposes what he calls his argument to end all arguments in the God Delusion: ”

    OK, so if there is a God, who created Him?”

    I told you many atheist are fools, Turtles all the way down.

    Science has no more answers so they made their own God. A fairy tale called M-Theory, or the multiverse. To overcome the impossibility of our universe being here,

    Ed Witten, a bright physicist and also an activist atheist added an 11th dimension and unified the 5 String Theories and came up with what I PERSONALLY named “The Argument from Star Trek.” Net-net, there are trillions of trillions of universes, only a tiny fraction could produce life, due to Bayesian math, with the trillions of universes, WE GOT LUCKY.

    I kid you not. It is their god. No proof, can’t be falsified, sound familiar?

    There is much to learn to debate the subject, but it is easily defeated, it can be done with the shoddy math Witten used and a number of other ways. The easiest way. These trillions of universes must have an infinite past. Impossible, law of infinite regress and it was blown away by three Cosmologists, who, leaving out the technical stuff, said, even if the Multiverse exists, all must have a finite past.

    So, we are right back to the Hawking’s Singularity. It took me over a year to master each and every refutation, some of these activist atheists are brilliant and unknown. I cannot bury them with their own words, no books.

    In those cases, one must know anything that can be thrown at them. It is highly complex theoretical physics, but the BEST thing about it, 76% of physicists call it nonsense.

    Invest the 3 minutes to watch this YouTube from Sir Roger Penrose. English mathematical physicist, and philosopher of science. He is the Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford, as well as an Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College.

    Penrose is known for his work in mathematical physics, in particular for his contributions to general relativity and cosmology. He has received several prizes and awards, including the 1988 Wolf Prize for physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking for their contribution to our understanding of the universe. Penrose is not a Theist. That is not the point. The point is the only refuge desperate activist atheists run to is the Multi-verse, and now at 71 years old, Hawking’s has joined them. The Hawking’s Penrose Theorem from years back is excellent work. It was sad to see Penrose destroy his old friend in this way, after all, dozens of physicists called Hawkins’ final book the Grande Design. However, Penrose, is different: Anyone think atheists have any more arguments after hearing this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2kVPnussGo.

    My final opinion on what I have been doing for so long. The bottom line is no manner of convincing I or anyone can do will change an unregenerate mind. Yet, over the years (at least the few I know of, I only pray more) about 40 atheists I know became truly born again believers. However, let us remember, NONE OF MY knowledge did that.

    Salvation is of the Lord. Period. Faith is a gift of God.

    I do not like “easy belivism” and false professions, where preachers continue and continue to beat people in the head, exhorting “you REPENT, YOU MUST COME TO JESUS AND ACCEPT HIM” NO, NO, NO.

    Salvation is of the Lord!

    The “you must come to and do something” that is not good news, that is BAD news, it implies you can actually do something on your own and YOU CANNOT.

    So, like the great commission, I am following Peters, and many other directives like his to defend the blessed hope.

    I like the quote, “never get your Theology from a hymn.” (Especially 90% of any written after 1899). :-)

    However, one in particular, is the truest story of what salvation is all about, and the last verse, obviously, does the trick for me as well.

    “I know Whom I have Believed.”

    In Jesus’ name,

    Dean Poulos

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