By studying what C. S. Lewis experienced and what he wrote about conversions in general and his own conversion in particular, we can gain fresh insight into how conversion to Christ helps us to become more truly human so we can reflect more fully the imago Dei.
C. S. Lewis thought and wrote much about what it means to be a human being created in the image of God. He eloquently made the point that we only become “truly ourselves” when “we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and let Him take us over….” Lewis gave us a whole new vocabulary and set of images for our discussions of theological anthropology.
It is ironic that after his early years of being a hard, obnoxious, and militant opponent of Christianity, Lewis became widely recognized as one of the greatest Christian writers in history. Thousands of people have converted to Christianity because of his writings. In 2022 we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the publication of his classic Mere Christianity. While it is easy to forget what a messed up human being he was before his conversion, we need to ask what made the difference? How did this cynical, egotistical, sarcastic cynic become a humble follower of Jesus who gently led multitudes to know Christ?
Lewis insisted that conversion to Christ was the key to becoming what we were created by God to be. He declared that no one would ever regret surrendering to the God who created us as human beings and whose image we bear.
By studying Lewis’ writing about conversion in general and his own conversion in particular, we can gain fresh insight into how Lewis believed conversion to Christ helps us to become more truly human. He linked surrendering to Christ with restoring the imago Dei. This paper presents a brief overview of the story of Lewis’s conversion from atheism to theism and eventually to confessing Christ as Lord. The body of the paper is an exploration of principles which we can learn from Lewis about conversion as a crucial step in reflecting the image of God.
1. What was Lewis like before his conversion?
2. How did Lewis convert from being an atheist to a theist and then to becoming a follower of Jesus?
3. What can we learn from Lewis and Mere Christianity about conversion?
4. How and why does conversion to Christ restore the imago Dei?