Originally posted on Daily Minyan
C. S. Lewis is one of Christianity’s most celebrated and loved authors. His work Mere Christianity is a classic of Christian apologetics and is easily one of the most influential books among modern evangelists besides the New Testament itself. This is because C.S. Lewis was not only a novelist but also a prolific lay theologian. However, not all of his opinions about the Christian faith have been celebrated by Christians and some have proved quite embarrassing. Those happen to be the views of his that Christians rarely if ever quote. So embarrassing are some of those opinions to the cause of Christianity, indeed to Jesus himself, that some Christians have opined of C. S. Lewis that he was a better writer than a theologian.
In his work The World’s Last Night C. S. Lewis expressed a frank if shocking to most Christians view that Jesus was very wrong. The “God-Man” (as Lewis called him) was clearly wrong when he prophesied about his own return. He was ignorant and has spoken presumptuously. Indeed, Jesus was the cause of the deception among his own disciples and knew no more than they did. Yet Jesus did prophecy, as the New Testament recorded for all to read, repeating the same failed prophecies across all of the four gospels.
Here is C. S. Lewis in his own words:
“It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And, worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.
“It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. Yet how teasing, also, that within fourteen words of it should come the statement “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” The one exhibition of error and the one confession of ignorance grow side by side. … The evangelists have the first great characteristic of honest witnesses: they mention facts which are, at first sight, damaging to their main contention.
“… The answer of the theologians is that the God-Man was omniscient as God, and ignorant as Man. This, no doubt, is true, though it cannot be imagined. Nor indeed can the unconsciousness of Christ in sleep be imagined, not the twilight of reason in his infancy; still less his merely organic life in his mother’s womb.” – C. S. Lewis, in The World’s Last Night, pages 98-99
That C. S. Lewis went to his grave as a devout Christian and worshiper of the “God-Man”, while effectively acknowledging that Jesus prophesied falsely and deceived not only his few immediate listeners but billions of others, is a dramatic testimony of just how far from the Jewish moorings Christianity has drifted. It testifies not only of the blind(ed) devotion to Jesus even in the face of bare and even self-acknowledged facts, but spotlights and exposes how little a value Christians have historically placed on what they call “the Law”. Had they really valued the Word of G-d (of which New Testament is not) they would have recognized that in the Torah that G-d gifted to Israel G-d has warned the Jewish people in no uncertain terms about false prophets that were to arise in their midst and taught them how to recognize them, how test them and how deal with their treachery:
But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.” You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the L-RD?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the L-RD does not take place or come true, that is a message the L-RD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)