Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis made me miss my seminary philosophy classes. It’s the first time I’ve read this work, and I won’t attempt to give much more than a brief overview. Essentially, it is a philosophical argument for the existence of an absolute and objective moral law. Lewis begins by building an argument in favor of the existence of objective value. For instance, the fact that a waterfall can be “sublime” and that such a statement expresses an objective truth rather than simply an emotional response from someone who happens to like that particular waterfall. The point is that there is inherent value in the waterfall that transcends our own opinions or emotions about it. Lewis then continues to build an argument that an objective natural law exists. He finishes the three-part essay (originally three lectures) by playing out the result of a natural moral law not existing to its logical end: arbitrary rule over many by a few.
I am looking forward to rereading this essay in the future–it’s certainly not a book one can understand in just on reading. The brilliance of this essay is that it is a sound philosophical argument that does not rely (but is enhanced by) a belief in the inerrancy of the Bible. The benefit of this is to show–using extra biblical sources (in this case the practice of philosophy)–that what the Bible says to be true, we find in our lives to be true. It’s certainly a challenging read, but ever more pertinent in our increasingly relativistic and polytheistic culture.