From the November/December, 2018 issue of Touchstone
C. S. Lewis Imagination

Feature

Editor's Pick: Read the Introduction

Introduction

What is truth? John 18:38

"Pilate's cynical question still demands an answer," writes Donald Williams in his November 2018 article Meaningful Truth, "and [C.S. Lewis'] is especially helpful. . . . So how did Lewis answer that question, and what does imagination contribute?"

It is our imagination, Williams writes, that does the work of finding things meaningful. To the observer who is without imagination, it doesn't really matter what is true because everything is equally meaningless. I am reminded here of G.K. Chesterton who wrote, "Do not be proud of the fact that your grandmother was shocked at something which you are accustomed to seeing or hearing without being shocked. . . . It may be that your grandmother was an extremely lively and vital animal, and that you are a paralytic."

Next comes reason. Reason is how we talk about what our imagination finds meaningful. Without reason we cannot connect the dots and explain ourselves. Nor can we tell a story. Pilate's famous question demonstrates a profound failure of both his imagination (his failure to see the meaning behind the trial of Jesus) and his reason.

(It is Pilate's wife Procla who sees the meaning and reasons with her husband when she proclaims "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.")

This, writes Williams, is what Lewis means when he called reason the "organ of truth." Myth is the story that allows other imaginations to receive and taste a way of seeing the world that reason can then confirm as true or false. And finally, what is true is that part of these stories or accounts that corresponds with reality.

And so says Donald Williams in Meaningful Truth, from the November/December 2018 issue.

—Douglas Johnson, Deputy Editor
(read more Editor's Picks)

Feature

Meaningful Truth

The Critical Role of Imagination in the Work of C. S. Lewis

After the storm there's a rainbow,
And all of the colors are black.
It's not that the colors aren't there;
It's just imagination we lack.
—Paul Simon

One thing that makes C. S. Lewis uniquely important as a Christian writer is the way he integrates reason and imagination in his expository writings as well as his fiction, all in the service of truth. But what is truth? Pilate's cynical question still demands an answer, and Lewis's is especially helpful because of the way it calls both Reason . . .

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Donald T. Williams Ph.D., is R. A. Forrest Scholar at Toccoa Falls College. He is the author of eleven books, most recently Deeper Magic: The Theology Behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Square Halo Books, 2016) and An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien (Christian Publishing House, 2018). He is a member of University Church, an interdenominational house church in Athens, Georgia.

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone


more on C. S. Lewis from the online archives

20.2—March 2007

Simply Lewis

Reflections on a Master Apologist After 60 Years by N. T. Wright

33.2—March/April 2020

The Fairy Tale Wars

Lewis, Chesterton, et al. Against the Frauds, Experts & Revisionists by Vigen Guroian

18.3—April 2005

Lions of Succession

on Being a Free Narnian & the Joy of Subordination by Donald T. Williams

• Subscribers: Manage your subscription account here.


• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!


personal subscriptions

Purchase
Online Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives including pdf downloads for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!


RENEW your online subscription

Purchase Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


RENEW your print/online
subscription

gift subscriptions

GIVE Print &
Online Subscription

Give six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for the reduced rate of $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!


RENEW your gift subscription

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

kindle subscription

OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)

Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.


more from the online archives

19.1—January/February 2006

As If We Were to Be Immortal

on Death & Seven of the Last Words of Socrates by Graeme Hunter

20.8—October 2007

The Pearl of Great Wisdom

The Deep & Abiding Biblical Roots of Western Liberal Education by David Lyle Jeffrey

31.1—January/February 2018

Mere Sexuality

Getting Sex Wrong Is a Foundational Error by James M. Kushiner

Touchstone is published by

All content The Fellowship of St. James — 2020. All rights reserved.
Returns, refunds, and privacy policy.