On Truth and Myth Reflections on The Fall, C.S. Lewis and The Problem of Pain

“The story of Genesis is a story (full of the deepest suggestion) about a magic apple of knowledge; but in the developed doctrine the inherent magic of the apple has quite dropped out of sight, and the story is simply one of disobedience. I have the deepest respect even for Pagan myths, still more for myths in Holy Scripture. . . (C.S. Lewis)”


Wait a second, backup the bus. Did C.S. Lewis just call that apple “magic” and refer to the whole creation story as a “myth”?

Reflections of The Fall, C.S. Lewis and The Problem of Pain. Liturgy of Life Reading Group

Lewis goes on,

“Science, then, has nothing to say for or against the doctrine of the Fall.” 

Isn’t he supposed to be making a case for Christianity not against it?  Is he saying that the events in the Bible aren’t even true?


We are reading  The Problem of Pain, in our Liturgy of Life Reading Group. This week we delve into chapter 5 where we join Lewis in pondering the fall of man.

Reflections of The Fall, C.S. Lewis and The Problem of Pain. Liturgy of Life Reading Group

Lewis begins by  calling on our creativity to imagine the possible ways that science can intersect with the creation story. Rather than giving evidence for its verifiable truthfulness,  Lewis grants us the freedom to realize that creation could have happened in many different ways and admits that it is impossible to know the details.

We live in an age that values the scientific method, data and proof. Yet truth is understood to be relative.   If any one of us had been in the garden with Adam and Eve our version of the story might have been quite different from theirs. Probably Adam and Eve themselves had their fair share of disagreements of how things went down that day. Lewis reminds us that there are times when a story conveys far more than a compilation of  the associated facts. In the case of creation God didn’t give us a textbook, He gave us a myth.

We know that God created the world. The more we discover of this place the more we encounter Him.  And though we may misinterpret what we find, it is impossible to unearth anything inconsistent with this reality. Whatever is conveyed in the creation story is what God wants us to know and while it certainly is true it remains nevertheless a myth.

Reflections of The Fall, C.S. Lewis and The Problem of Pain. Liturgy of Life Reading Group

As for the problem of pain, the reality of it stalks us in the night. No amount of logic can give us a satisfying explanation. Pain is one of the great mysteries of creation and He doesn’t give us an answer. Instead we are told a story of a god-man hung on a tree and He implores us that we too would take up our cross and follow Him.




This year in the Liturgy of Life reading group we are meditating on ideas of suffering and faith. Please join us in our current book, The Problem of Pain.

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