Miracles

( 25 )

Overview

"The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares the way for this, or results from this."

This is the key statement of Miracles, in which C. S. Lewis shows that a Christian must not only accept but rejoice in miracles as a testimony of the unique personal involvement of God in his creation.

Using his characteristic lucidity and wit to develop his argument, Lewis challenges the rationalists, agnostics, and ...

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Miracles

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Overview

"The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares the way for this, or results from this."

This is the key statement of Miracles, in which C. S. Lewis shows that a Christian must not only accept but rejoice in miracles as a testimony of the unique personal involvement of God in his creation.

Using his characteristic lucidity and wit to develop his argument, Lewis challenges the rationalists, agnostics, and deists on their own grounds and provides a poetic and joyous affirmation that miracles really do occur in our everyday lives.

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Editorial Reviews

John Updike
I read Lewis for comfort and pleasure many years ago, and a glance into the books revives my old admiration.
Kenneth Tynan
If I were ever to stray into the Christian camp, it would be because of Lewis's arguments as expressed in books like Miracles..
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060653019
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2009
  • Series: C. S. Lewis Signature Classics
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 138,091
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over one hundred million copies and have been transformed into three major motion pictures.

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) fue uno de los intelectuales más importantes del siglo veinte y podría decirse que fue el escritor cristiano más influyente de su tiempo. Fue profesor particular de literatura inglesa y miembro de la junta de gobierno en la Universidad Oxford hasta 1954, cuando fue nombrado profesor de literatura medieval y renacentista en la Universidad Cambridge, cargo que desempeñó hasta que se jubiló. Sus contribuciones a la crítica literaria, literatura infantil, literatura fantástica y teología popular le trajeron fama y aclamación a nivel internacional. C. S. Lewis escribió más de treinta libros, lo cual le permitió alcanzar una enorme audiencia, y sus obras aún atraen a miles de nuevos lectores cada año. Sus más distinguidas y populares obras incluyen Las Crónicas de Narnia, Los Cuatro Amores, Cartas del Diablo a Su Sobrino y Mero Cristianismo.

Biography

C. S. Lewis was famous both as a fiction writer and as a Christian thinker, and his biographers and critics sometimes divide his personality in two: the storyteller and the moral educator, the "dreamer" and the "mentor." Yet a large part of Lewis's appeal, for both his audiences, lay in his ability to fuse imagination with instruction. "Let the pictures tell you their own moral," he once advised writers of children's stories. "But if they don't show you any moral, don't put one in. ... The only moral that is of any value is that which arises inevitably from the whole cast of the author's mind."

Storytelling came naturally to Lewis, who spent the rainy days of his childhood in Ireland writing about an imaginary world he called Boxen. His first published novel, Out of the Silent Planet, tells the story of a journey to Mars; its hero was loosely modeled on his friend and fellow Cambridge scholar J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis enjoyed some popularity for his Space Trilogy (which continues in Perelandra and That Hideous Strength), but nothing compared to that which greeted his next imaginative journey, to an invented world of fauns, dwarfs, and talking animals -- a world now familiar to millions of readers as Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book of the seven-volume Chronicles of Narnia, began as "a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood," according to Lewis. Years after that image first formed in his mind, others bubbled up to join it, producing what Kate Jackson, writing in Salon, called "a fascinating attempt to compress an almost druidic reverence for wild nature, Arthurian romance, Germanic folklore, the courtly poetry of Renaissance England and the fantastic beasts of Greek and Norse mythology into an entirely reimagined version of what's tritely called 'the greatest story ever told.'"

The Chronicles of Narnia was for decades the world's bestselling fantasy series for children. Although it was eventually superseded by Harry Potter, the series still holds a firm place in children's literature and the culture at large. (Narnia even crops up as a motif in Jonathan Franzen's 2001 novel The Corrections). Its last volume appeared in 1955; in that same year, Lewis published a personal account of his religious conversion in Surprised by Joy. The autobiography joined his other nonfiction books, including Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Great Divorce, as an exploration of faith, joy and the meaning of human existence.

Lewis's final work of fiction, Till We Have Faces, came out in 1956. Its chilly critical reception and poor early sales disappointed Lewis, but the book's reputation has slowly grown; Lionel Adey called it the "wisest and best" of Lewis's stories for adults. Lewis continued to write about Christianity, as well as literature and literary criticism, for several more years. After his death in 1963, The New Yorker opined, "If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels."

Good To Know

The imposing wardrobe Lewis and his brother played in as children is now in Wheaton, Illinois, at the Wade Center of Wheaton College, which also houses the world's largest collection of Lewis-related documents, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

The 1994 movie, Shadowlands, based on the play of the same name, cast Anthony Hopkins as Lewis. It tells the story of his friendship with, and then marriage to, an American divorcee named Joy Davidman (played by Debra Winger), who died of cancer four years after their marriage. Lewis's own book about coping with that loss, A Grief Observed, was initially published under the pseudonym N. W. Clerk.

Several poems, stories, and a novel fragment published after Lewis's death have come under scrutiny as possible forgeries. On one side of the controversy is Walter Hooper, a trustee of Lewis's estate and editor of most of his posthumous works; on the other is Kathryn Lindskoog, a Lewis scholar who began publicizing her suspicions in 1988. Scandal or kooky conspiracy theory? The verdict's still out among readers.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Clive Staples Lewis (real name); Clive Hamilton, N.W. Clerk, Nat Whilk; called "Jack" by his friends
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 29, 1898
    2. Place of Birth:
      Belfast, Nothern Ireland
    1. Date of Death:
      November 22, 1963
    2. Place of Death:
      Headington, England

Read an Excerpt

Miracles

Chapter One

The Scope of This Book

Those who wish to succeed must ask the right preliminary questions.

Aristotle, Metaphysics, II, (III), I.

In all my life I have met only one person who claims to have seen a ghost. And the interesting thing about the story is that that person disbelieved in the immortal soul before she saw the ghost and still disbelieves after seeing it. She says that what she saw must have been an illusion or a trick of the nerves. And obviously she may be right. Seeing is not believing.

For this reason, the question whether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience. Every event which might claim to be a miracle is, in the last resort, something presented to our senses, something seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted. And our senses are infallible. If anything extraordinary seems to have happened, we can always say that we have been the victims of an illusion. If we hold a philosophy which excludes the supernatural, this is what we always shall say. What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience. It is therefore useless to appeal to experience before we have settled, as well as we can, the philosophical question.

If immediate experience cannot prove or disprove the miraculous, still less can history do so. Many people think one can decide whether a miracle occurred in the past by examining the evidence 'according to the ordinary rules of historical inquiry'. But the ordinary rules cannot be worked until we have decided whether miracles are possible, and if so, how probable they are. For if they areimpossible, then no amount of historical evidence will convince us. If they are possible but immensely improbable, then only mathematically demonstrative evidence will convince us: and since history never provides that degree of evidence for any event, history can never convince us that a miracle occurred. If, on the other hand, miracles are not intrinsically improbable, then the existing evidence will be sufficient to convince us that quite a number of miracles have occurred. The result of our historical enquiries thus depends on the philosophical views which we have been holding before we even began to look at the evidence. This philosophical question must therefore come first.

Here is an example of the sort of thing that happens if we omit the preliminary philosophical task, and rush on to the historical. In a popular commentary on the Bible you will find a discussion of the date at which the Fourth Gospel was written. The author says it must have been written after the execution of St Peter, because, in the Fourth Gospel, Christ is represented as predicting the execution of St Peter. 'A book', thinks the author, 'cannot be written before events which it refers to'. Of course it cannot — unless real predictions ever occur. If they do, then this argument for the date is in ruins. And the author has not discussed at all whether real predictions are possible. He takes it for granted (perhaps unconsciously) that they are not. Perhaps he is right: but if he is, he has not discovered this principle by historical inquiry. He has brought his disbelief in predictions to his historical work, so to speak, ready made. Unless he had done so his historical conclusion about the date of the Fourth Gospel could not have been reached at all. His work is therefore quite useless to a person who wants to know whetber predictions occur. The author gets to work only after he has already answered that question in the negative, and on grounds which he never communicates to us.

This book is intended as a preliminary to historical inquiry. I am not a trained historian and I shall not examine the historical evidence for the Christian miracles. My effort is to put my readers in a position to do so. It is no use going to the texts until we have some idea about the possibility or probability of the miraculous. Those who assume that miracles cannot happen are merely wasting their time by looking into the texts: we know in advance what results they will find for they have begun by begging the question.

Miracles. Copyright (c) by C. Lewis . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2006

    Further Up and Further In

    I should recommend Lewis¿s Miracles to any who are truly capable of maintaining a sincere and unbiased forbearance in understanding the arguments in support of a supernatural God. Once the mind is finally liberated from all such ridiculously wobbly notions of subjectivity, I then encourage you with the swiftness of lightning to tackle this book and cherish its deeply esoteric merits. To be sure, it has Lewis¿s usual witty words tied around meanings that cause an 'awakening' to stir within the being. You nervously sit back, your heart quivering, not being able to help but ask your self, ¿So, God, are you really there? I couldn't see you...¿ No doubt, the Joy that is left with you at the closing of pages drapes you with something marvelous, lifting you up to something you¿ve always wished to be--and so much more. And, fortunately, you realize that God is not something of wishful-thinking, but more so, as C. S. Lewis had once said, ¿of thoughtful wishing!¿ But I ask you, readers, not to believe Miracles a bunch of evangelizing rubbish! It was not meant to be. Reason with your self, that is what Lewis had desired. To fully grasp this book, you have to be able to open your heart and mind, and then surely all things will become quite clear. A marvelous book, indeed.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2010

    really interesting and beneficial book

    There are times when I read books that are basically "theological" in nature because I am a preacher, but I do not normally review them. However, this book on Miracles by the famed English writer C. S. Lewis, best known for his Chronicles of Narnia, has more application than just to theological studies. First, it deserves a prominent place in the field of evidences or apologetics, especially since Lewis had once been an agnostic and basically thought and studied his way out of agnosticism into faith. Second, our children need to be taught critical thinking skills, and since some understanding of logic is necessary in developing critical thinking skills, this book can be helpful because the arguments in it are built on a pre-eminently logical basis. Therefore, it would make an wonderful resource for high school students studying this topic.
    There are a couple of warnings. The book is not an easy read. Although there is quite a bit of sardonic, English humor which some people could miss, many people might consider the book a bit dry. In any event, you cannot whiz through this book while watching television, listening to the radio, carrying on a conversation, or whatever. It requires one's complete attention to understand it, but I believe it is well worth the time and effort. Secondly, you may not necessarily agree with all of Lewis's conclusions. He indicated his opinion that the miracles of the Old Testament fall into the category of "myth," although He argued that God gave the Hebrews these myths as a foreshadowing of the true miracles of Christ, and then said, "My present view...is tentative and liable to any amount of correction."
    Perhaps he eventually received that correction. Also, he apparently accepted some degree of theistic evolution, with references to man's pre-human ancestors the "recapitulation" of our ancestors' traits while in the womb. In addition, he used an illustration that makes reference to "wine" (and he definitely means the alcoholic kind) as being a gift from God for our benefit. And in the last couple of chapters before the epilogue, there are several speculations which may well be within the realm of possibility but which not every Bible believer may accept. Aside from these things, this is a really interesting and beneficial book.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2012

    Anonymous

    This book was an extremely interesting read. Lewis's literary style parallels that of Mere Chriatianity by the use of frequent analogies and logical deduction. In arguing the plausibility of miracles and the supernatural realm he also provides support for Christianity itself. Parts of the book were confusing but overall Lewis was successfully able to answer deep theological questions in a way that readers at all levels of religious belief could comprehend. I would suggest this book to all those questioning the possibility of miracles and to those who may be seeking further defense or support of their Christian faith.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2013

    As a Christian I was moved by this rational and unwavering accou

    As a Christian I was moved by this rational and unwavering account of the super naturalist versus the naturalist and how these two opposites co-exist. C.S. Lewis in Miracles provides both Christian and non-Christian a deep understanding through reason and proof after proof that science and the supernatural God can both exist. If you are a Christian your belief will only be strengthened and if you are a non-believer you will not be one long after reading his mind changing book. Read it slow, saver every minute. This is a book from a man that was way beyond his time. A man who was a gift from the hand of God. Carl Hardy, a Catholic Christian

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2012

    A must read for Christians and non-Christians alike

    C.S. Lewis writes with possibly the greatest insight of any author in recent time. This is a classic that will make everyone think. A must read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Dungeon

    To the left of the White Witch's throne is a spiraling set of stairs. Walk down them. As you walk you will see all kinds of doors along the walls. Each door leads to a chamber full of stone statues. At the very bottom of the stairs is a wide metal gate. Push the doors open & enter the dungeon. Here is where all the miserable peoplewho are afraid of the Witch (but will tell her nothing), are kept. Hear them moan from the icy cold.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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