Monday, January 5, 2009

The Oak and the Acorn

I've been studying C.S. Lewis lately. His essay entitled "Two Lectures" is very thought-provoking. I would encourage everyone to read it. I would link to it, but I'm unable to find it on the internet. It can be found in this book, though. [Part of it can be read here.]

Basically, it is an essay that Lewis wrote in first person. He tells of going to a lecture where the professor, the "Real Lecturer," is teaching evolution. Lewis then goes home, and dreams about another lecturer, the "Dream Lecturer," who argues from a completely different point of view.

Here is a writing assignment I just finished, contrasting the two lecturers:

The “Real Lecturer” and the “Dream Lecturer,” from C. S. Lewis’s essay “Two Lectures,” could not possibly present a starker contrast. Ideologically, the two professors are complete opposites. This is because they each have totally different worldviews, which greatly affects their positions on the topic they are speaking on. Let’s look at some of their differences:

The Real Lecturer is stating the case for a belief in evolutionistic processes. He uses the words “upwards and onwards,” “ever-increasing perfection,” and “lower to higher” to make the point that all life evolves from primitive, underdeveloped forms and constantly improves and becomes more complex. For example, the mighty oak tree is formed from the tiny acorn. And, “The giant express engine of today comes from the Rocket,” says the Real Lecturer.

The Dream Lecturer, on the other hand, starts by saying that the “acorn comes from a full-grown oak.” He contradicts the Real Lecturer on every level. Although he does not mention God, the Dream Lecturer seems to be arguing from a Creationist’s point of view. His key phrases are “descent,” “downward movement,” and “higher to lower.” He reasons that everything comes from something more perfect and better designed than itself. “The first crude engine, the Rocket, comes, not from a still cruder engine, but from something much more perfect than itself and more complex, the mind of man, and a man of genius.”

It is evident that the lecturers’ arguments are greatly at odds with each other. Only one can be correct. C. S. Lewis comes to the conclusion that the Dream Lecturer’s premises are more logical, and I concur. While it is true that the oak tree comes from the acorn, it is also true that the acorn comes from the oak tree. It is an endless cycle.

So which came first: the oak, or the acorn? One must look to the origin of life to find the answer. Lewis writes, “You have to go outside the sequence of engines, into the world of men, to find the real originator of the Rocket. Is it not equally reasonable to look outside Nature for the real Originator of the natural order?”

The answer is an emphatic yes. The belief that life created itself is not logical. We do not see life evolving today, nor do we ever see it spontaneously generate. When we see a painting, we assume there was a painter. In the same way, creation demands a Creator. Life is not a progression of low to high, small to large, simple to complex, or primitive to advanced. Rather, as the Dream Lecturer says, “The rude and imperfect thing always springs from something perfect and developed.” He had it right.