Miracles

Miracles

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by C. S. Lewis
     
 

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In the classic Miracles, C.S. Lewis, the most important Christian writer of the 20th century, argues that a Christian must not only accept but rejoice in miracles as a testimony of the unique personal involvement of God in his creation. 

Overview

In the classic Miracles, C.S. Lewis, the most important Christian writer of the 20th century, argues that a Christian must not only accept but rejoice in miracles as a testimony of the unique personal involvement of God in his creation. 

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..

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061949760
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/16/2009
Series:
C. S. Lewis Signature Classics
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
120,448
File size:
402 KB

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.

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 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 100 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.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
November 29, 1898
Date of Death:
November 22, 1963
Place of Birth:
Belfast, Nothern Ireland
Place of Death:
Headington, England
Education:
Oxford University 1917-1923; Elected fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford in 1925
Website:
http://www.cslewisclassics.com

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Miracles 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
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.
WolfCH More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Steve1 More than 1 year ago
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.
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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.