Mere Arminianism – Free Will, Predestination, and CS Lewis – Part One
“My toaster doesn’t have a love button!”
“No! And neither does a robot!” 
This exchange, neither written nor uttered by C.S. Lewis, certainly represents his theology concerning the notions of God’s sovereign decree in election and of man’s autonomous will to freely choose God. Discussions concerning the freedom of the will, and by contrast divine election, are visible throughout Lewis’ writings - from his fictional works to his BBC broadcast-inspired theological Mere Christianity.
In his unpublished paper To Choose or Be Chosen: C.S. Lewis’ Contribution to Free Will and Predestination, Georgian pastor John Alexander attempted “to reconcile predestination and free will through Lewis’ works and examine Lewis’ impact on modern Christianity through this reconciliation.” Such “reconciliation,” however, is not necessary to understand the impacts of both Reformed Theology and C.S. Lewis’ theology on Christendom as a whole. Lewis’ relevant writings clearly point to a synergistic soteriology, while the Reformed to a monergistic one. These views stand opposed at their roots of the nature and ability of man to obey God of his own free will.
This series will first give an introduction to the opposing views of Calvinism (predestination-based theology) and Arminianism (free-will based theology). Next, consideration will be given to the overall thread of predestination throughout the Biblical texts. Then, Lewis’ own writings relevant to the discussion will be brought out an analyzed in light of the given biblical texts. Finally, occasions of Lewis’ writings giving support to the opposing view he did not hold will be brought out, and attempted to be clarified.
Before delving into either the biblical texts or what Lewis’ remarks directly related to the controversy at hand, it is important to first define the terms used in the discussion. Concerning this discussion, theologian Millard Erickson brings clarity to the relevant theological terms: “’Predestination’ refers to God’s choice of individuals for eternal life or eternal death. Distinction between the two is in that predestination deals with the foreordination of both salvation and reprobation; election is a part of predestination, focusing specifically on those chosen for salvation. ‘Election’ is the selection of some for eternal life, the positive side of predestination.” In contrast, the notion of autonomous free-will is “the power of an individual to make free choices, not determined by divine predestination, the laws of physical causality, fate, etc.”
There are two additional categories by which the discussion may be divided into: that of the monergist and that of the synergist. Both of these terms deal with the work of salvation in how it relates to God and the sinner. The monergistic position holds that only God works for the justification of sinners, with the sinners themselves playing no part in the process whatsoever. In contrast, synergism is the view that justification is, to some extent, the process of God and the human being working together. Plainly, the Calvinist position declaring God alone elects to be saved is the monergistic position, while the Arminian position is the synergistic position.
… to be continued…
 What’s In The Bible? #1: In The Beginning. Tyndale House Publishers 2010
 John Alexander. To Choose or Be Chosen, 1.
 Millard J. Erickson. Christian Theology, 908.
 Oxford English Dictionary Online, s.v. “Free Will.”
 While the term “monergistic” does refer to God being the only one who works, as mentioned above, this term could, in theory, be used by the Pelagian to describe salvation in terms of man’s work – apart from God’s grace.
 To what extent this synergism is – whether 50% God, 50% human or 99.9% God, 0.1% human – varies greatly depending on the individual Arminian. No such God-to-human work ratio has ever been officially declared.