- (Photo: Screen grab from 'C.S. Lewis & Intelligent Design')
A new documentary that reveals legendary Christian author C.S. Lewis' personal journey to find "evidence of intelligent design in nature despite natural evil" was released today in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Lewis' death.
The 17-minute documentary that premiered on YouTube is one of three short films based on the book The Magician's Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, by author John G. West. Throughout his life, Lewis struggled with what he called the "argument from undesign" – the reality that nature exhibits cruelty and imperfection as well as purpose and beauty – which the film documents. It also features each of his arguments supporting intelligent design – the belief that life was created not by chance but by a higher being, including nature's beauty, morality and functional complexity.
"C.S. Lewis is well-known for defending the existence of God, but he actually struggled for much of his life to see purpose in a universe that often seemed cold and heartless," says West, according to a press release. "In 'C.S. Lewis and Intelligent Design,' we explore the fascinating story of how Lewis became persuaded that design in nature was real."
He adds, "One of the things that may surprise some viewers is just how angry Lewis's atheism could be in his earlier years, including a little-known poem about nature he wrote around the time of World War I titled 'Satan Speaks.'"
Shortly after being discharged from the Army at age 20, Lewis wrote his first book, Spirits in Bondage , and in it, he included the poem featuring a "grim portrait of nature." A few verses from his poem include:
I am the flower and the dewdrop fresh,
I am the lust in your itching flesh.
I am the battle's filth and strain,
I am the widow's empty pain.
I am the sea to smother your breath,
I am the bomb, the falling death.
During this time, he was an atheist who believed that nature's cruelty was the best evidence against the belief in a creator. Much of his dark and cynical beliefs also stemmed from his suffering as a young child following the death of his mother.
However, through time, he came to the realization that "a copy could not be better than its original," meaning that there had to be a greater existence than nature and everything that the human eye can see.
Upon having this realization, Lewis embraced his Christian roots that he was raised with and came to the conclusion that God, in fact, did exist.
The film leads viewers through the process of his arguing that life was designed by a higher being but it also features the part of his life when he viewed all things through an atheist's perspective. Around that time, he met British philosopher Antony Flew at Oxford University, known for his atheism as well. The documentary also features short footage of Flew's conversion to Christianity.
At one point, Flew was not convinced about Lewis' arguments. However, in 2004, he came forward and made international headlines when he said that scientific evidence supported that there is a God and that he had realized the validity of Lewis' arguments. Six years later, Flew passed away.
Later this week, a memorial will take place at Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, London, in Lewis' honor.