57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
This book is, as with many of CS Lewis's works, much-loved by many. For those sceptical about the possibility of miracles, Lewis surveys deep philosophical territory, but in a way that non-philosophers can understand: trudging through the self-contradictions of Naturalism to set the ground for his argument, and then tackling the arguments of thinkers like Hume, he comes to a satisfying conclusion.
Don't think you won't understand it- anyone who has read Lewis before will appreciate his skill at communicating difficult concepts to the layman. His arguments, I think, are still relevant today; naturalism and its (alleged) self-contradictions are still a source of much debate in the philosophical world.
Quite frankly, I would recommend this to anyone. For Christians, as it will help them think through their faith more deeply and clearly; but I think everyone will enjoy Lewis's style and clarity of argument.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2008
This book lacks the clarity and hearty joy of "Mere Christianity" and the fun of "The screwtape letters" and can feel like heavy going - particulary when Lewis goes on at length to prove the inherent contradictions in naturalism.
For me, the middle to end of the book was best. Lewis is fascinating when he discusses Christ as "Corn King", the prodigality of nature in consuming itself and the symbiotic relationship of all living things. Death comes from the fruit of the tree and yet, from the side of Christ, hanging on the wood (tree) of the cross, flows the blood (foreshadowing the wine of the Eucharist, which become his blood) of the new covenant. His discussion of Providence and the effects of prayer in respect of past events (a thought that had struck me two years ago) resonates deeply. There is a lot in the book - it is as if Lewis is really on to something about the relationship between nature and supernature - a new way of seeing things, which is not leavened with the naturalistic and pseudo-rationalism of the enlightenment.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2011
"Miracles" is a book by Christian apologist C.S. Lewis. It was first published in 1947 and subsequently revised in 1960. It's Lewis' most philosophical book, and could be read as a heavier sequel to "Mere Christianity", his most well known non-fiction work. Both books explain and defend a fairly traditional form of Christianity. Lewis was an Anglican, but usually attempted to write from a kind of all-Christian perspective. Both Protestants and Catholics appreciate his works.
"Miracles" became quite notorious due to a debate between Lewis and the analytic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe in 1948. The latter supposedly demolished Lewis' entire argumentation, and made him withdraw from philosophy, humiliated. This version can be found in "Jack", a friendly biography of Lewis by George Sayer. Interestingly, Anscombe herself denied that this is what happened, pointing out that Lewis actually rewrote one chapter of "Miracles" to better counter her arguments - hardly an action taken by a humiliated man who broke with philosophy. Anscombe believed that it might have been *Sayer* who was shocked by her criticisms. Besides, Anscombe was a Christian herself, so the point of her arguments was hardly to disprove the existence of God.
Lewis deals with two principal issues in this book. First, he argues that the supernatural exists and that miracles are therefore possible. This is the most interesting part of the book for a non-Christian (roughly chapters 1 - 13). Second, he explains from a more theological viewpoint how the miracles of Jesus should be interpreted. He also briefly deals with some other issues, for instance the difference between theism and pantheism. The book is well written, lucid and occasionally witty.
An atheist reviewer here at Amazon has repeatedly called Lewis "the atheist's favourite Christian apologist". I agree. It's not so much the arguments that mark him out. It's his style of writing. Lewis is strangely unassuming and yet completely unapologetic (in the vernacular sense). In plain English, he is honest. This is not a man who flees to some kind of pseudo-postmodernist ivory tower every time his beliefs are challenged. Nor is he on the attack, in that rabid sense typical of fundamentalists. No, he wants us to "reason together". And although I disagree strongly with his conservative political outlook (his anti-feminism being particularly galling), he even makes salient points. His criticism of logical positivism in this volume is a case in point. Indeed, how could the positivists be anti-Nazi if they believed that moral commandments were simply a way of saying "boo to killing"? If chimpanzees could speak, they would probably ream out such "philosophers". Or bash their skulls, as it were.
"Miracles" may not be convincing to atheist-agnostic, and strike Mean Green Meme seekers like yours truly as somewhat problematical, but it's nevertheless a relatively competent introduction to the Christian criticism of naturalism.
45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
This is wonderfully written book of apologetics. The best writing grows not necessarily out of right thinking, but out of clear thinking. You may not agree with its central thesis or the arguments expertly outlined and colourfully illustrated in the first half of the book, but if you, like me, get an almost sensual pleasure from good writing and clear thinking then you will certainly get your fix from this book. That is the first thing to say.
If you are reading this then you have directed your eyes to this page to read these lines. Whether you will find yourself conducive to Lewis' reasoning depends on whether you think my observation above is possibly a miracle. That is, whether you believe in free will. The very thought process and resulting choice that led you to read these lines is a product of your mind. If you think your mind is equivalent to your brain then you are a machine and I would ask you not to read on: you cannot understand what I have to say: please desist. But if you have been following my argument so far then I think you will have to admit that your mind is something quite special; it possesses reason. Reason is the divine spark in us according to Lewis, because it is what makes the difference between man and brute a difference of kind and not degree. Nature does not explain itself, it just is. Through physical science man has discovered some of the laws of nature, some of 'how's'. But physical science will never give you answers to the 'why' question, the question of meaning. And yet this question is implicit in the human mind, in reason- finding reasons, not just explanations, but justifications as well. It is this basic fact of human spirituality that corresponds directly to a reality according to Lewis: the supernatural ground of the natural, the first cause, the unmoved mover and so on.
If you accept all this as reasonable, if you find it meaningful, then you will enjoy the second half of the book, which discusses some of the Christian miracles. This work is not an attempt to verify miracles. It is simply a groundwork intended to clear the mind of pre-reflective prejudices, to allow room for the possibility of miracles. It serves its purpose admirably in this respect. Even if you are not convinced that miracles have happened you will be convinced at least that they are just as rational as not. This work broadens the mind.
on 27 April 2015
A concise variety of views which stimulates the thought process through sciences both 'soft' and 'hard' whilst giving food for thought to both those with faith and those who are enquiring about the possibility of a supernatural element being involved in the natural material world. Using well balanced opinions on which to allow one to reflect, this easy to read, yet academically sound research, is a valuable, vitalizing, thought provoking tool which is accessible to those initially enquiring or looking for additional research. Read reflectively, It will encourage and prompt those looking for well considered viewpoints which can then be used to lay a sound foundation for the serious exploration of whether God can be a sustaining element in nature without having to sneak the supernatural in through the back door.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 1997
Not the best place to start if you don't consider yourself to be a first-rate thinker (Lewis' own _Mere Christianity_ offers some of the same arguments on an easier-to-digest level)... but if you're up to the challenge, I cannot recommend a stronger argument in favor of a fully supernatural Christian philosophy. NOT an attempt to explain the whole thing away as an allegory, as many so-called "apologists" do. NOT an attempt to use the Bible as a starting place, as many so-called "apologists" do. Lewis begins with only one assumption--one that every thinker uses for every theory ever attempted on any subject--and from that position carefully weaves the most detailed and skillful argument in my experience showing the existence and character of God. An extremely challenging book, especially for sceptics of Christianity, but one which they owe themselves to read (if nothing else, it will increase their faith in their own position and strengthen their mental habits!) This is the book which got me through college; and, next to the Bible itself, the most important book I've ever read. Note: if possible, order an edition printed after 1960, as the late 1940s edition contains a few logical errors which were later corrected. If you need help understanding the book or its arguments, feel free to e-mail me at the address above (flamemail, though, will be promptly deleted... honest criticisms will be attended to.) Good books to read after completing _M:aPS_... the New Testament itself (New American Standard or New International Version is probably best); Lewis' _Mere Christianity_; and then Lewis' _The Problem of Pain_.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2007
My brain goes on and on while reading this book. With logic and rational thought, C.S. Lewis examine and defend miracles from the gospels. He does this brilliantly and the work is very persuading.
A very interesting book, a very interesting writer, a very interesting subject, a very interesting book.
on 18 September 2013
CS Lewis' ability to portray spiritual concepts in terms the lay person can understand and appreciate is again evident in this book. Should prove a thought-provoking aid for anyone that wants to probe a bit deeper into miracles without necessarily studying theology
on 14 August 2013
C.S. Lewis writes about life, real life with all the pain and struggles involved. If you are not a Christian , read his books and they will make any person think that being a non-believer is not such a fun . Life as a Christian makes so much more sense .
on 7 June 2014
This is, and has been for many years, a brilliant book. it is a splendid source for those (believers and unbelievers) who want to tackle serious questions through the use of ruthless reason. Be careful if you don't want your mind changed.