September 14, 2015

Was Christ Bad, Mad, or God? C. S. Lewis' Trilemma Proving the Divinity of Christ, Part 2

In Part 1, we introduced C. S. Lewis' trilemma in which he demonstrates the divinity of Christ. His argument has been formulated several ways. Consider these:

Jesus could be either:
  • A liar — who deceived mankind by conscious fraud,
  • A lunatic — who was deluded and self-deceived
  • or
  • The Lord — the Son of God Incarnate
Formulated another way it sometimes appears as:

Jesus was either:
  • Bad — someone who deceived mankind by conscious fraud,
  • Mad — someone who was deluded and self-deceived
  • or
  • God — really and truly the Son of God Incarnate

Many today see Jesus as, an enlightened teacher, or a philosopher, who was deified by his followers. Lewis' contention seeks to overcome this line of thinking. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus declares that he is God. In Mere Christianity, Lewis recounts Jesus' assertions:

- to have authority to forgive sins — the exclusive preserve of God,
- to have always existed, and
- to return to judge the world at the end of time.

Numerous Christian apologists have appropriated Lewis' trilemma in the years since he first introduced it. Like all such proofs (see Aquinas' five proofs) it is not dispositive nor empirically provable like a laboratory experiment. Rather, it is a philosophical construct that appeals to reason in the vain of critical thinking. Here is U2 frontman Bono, using C. S. Lewis' logic, in explaining his love for Jesus Christ:

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