Clive Staples ("Jack") Lewis (1898-1963) is probably the best known and most effective 20th century writer of Christian apologetics. He was a respected scholar and teacher at Oxford university for 29 years and then served as a professor at Cambridge University until the end of his career.
C.S. Lewis received his First Class degree in Classical Moderations from University College, Oxford University in 1920. In 1922, he received another First Class degree in Literae Humaniores, and yet another in English Language and Literature in 1923.
During his professional career he was Fellow and Tutor in English at Magdalen College, Oxford University from 1925 until 1954, and Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University from 1954 until 1963.
An atheist throughout his early life, he adopted theism in 1929 and converted to Christianity in 1931. Lewis' spiritual pilgrimage followed two tracks, both intellectual and emotional-intuitive. Since childhood he had experienced prolonged moments of longing, the bittersweet stab of desire. He perceived that these longings, which he came to identify as joy, actually pointed away from themselves, to another world of permanence and fulfillment, to God.
There are many people who are Christians today partly or largely through reading Lewis. In turn, Lewis was influenced by other Christian writers. In telling about his conversion from atheism to Christianity, Lewis relates how he discovered, with surprise, that all of the authors he most admired were Christian. At first, he thought he liked them in spite of their Christianity and then realized that it was because of their Christianity. Lewis once said that a young atheist can't be too careful what books he reads.
One of the major influences in C.S. Lewis' life was author George MacDonald. Lewis called MacDonald his master and said that he never wrote a book in which he did not quote from MacDonald's writings. As a tribute to his favorite author, C.S. Lewis edited a MacDonald anthology.
A talented debater and writer, Lewis wrote prolifically in many genres: novels, poetry, children's literature, fantasy, science fiction, literary criticism, and apologetics. In addition, he wrote essays, sermons, and hundreds of letters, which are rich in their insight and human concern. Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain are three of his best known apologetic works. In addition to his writing on Christianity, he wrote several highly respected scholarly works (e.g. English Literature in the Sixteenth Century Excluding Drama, The Allegory of Love, and Studies in Words.)
C.S. Lewis captured the hearts and minds of children and adults alike with his creative and imaginative Space Trilogy and Chronicles of Narnia. Of Lewis' novels one of the less well known, but one of his finest is Till We Have Faces. His works also include several volumes of poetry, collections of his essays and addresses on a variety of subjects.
Lewis' many published works cover a wide spectrum of topics, both contemporary issues and the enduring questions of human meaning in the world as creatures of God. His works have stirred the minds and hearts of people from all walks of life regardless of their spiritual, emotional, and intellectual journeys. Today we still ponder some of the questions that Lewis has posed.
- What are the evidences for the truth of Christianity?
- How should animals be treated in scientific research?
- What is the proper role of science?
- What are the dangers in our modern educational systems?
- How do Christians confront suffering and evil in the world?
- Does prayer really work?
Lewis addresses these and hundreds of other topics from the bedrock of biblical truth. Indeed, C.S. Lewis is hailed as one of the greatest Christian thinkers of the 20th century.