Currently I am re-reading Peter Kreeft’s classic, “Between Heaven and Hell: A dialog somewhere beyond death with John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley.” Kreeft, a Professor of Philosophy at Boston College, originally wrote the book in 1982 and updated it in 2008.
The genius of this witty book is that it takes the fact that the three protagonists in this book all died on the same day, November 22, in 1963. The author then imagines a debate or learned conversation between them as they exist somewhere beyond death. Kreeft is helped by the fact that he is a Catholic. In other words, a type of purgatory is a possibility, however this is a minor issue in the book. The key element is how the three participants look at heaven, faith and life from their respective world views: Lewis an orthodox Christian, Kennedy a liberal Catholic and Huxley a pantheistic Gnostic.
Issues such as the nature of Jesus, authority, the place of reason in faith, miracles, wisdom and faith itself, are just some of the topics explored. Best of all is that it is a primer in apologetics: defending and explaining faith and the gospel. Peter Kreeft uses his knowledge of Lewis’ work to show how Christians can confidently defend their faith against the critiques thrown at them. This is not unlike the techniques used by people such as Professor John Lennox today.
“Between heaven and Hell” is not a long book and could be a valuable resource for many people – particularly Christians who sometimes find themselves lost for words when their world-view is attacked. I am enjoying this book again because it reminds me that the evangelical Christian faith is not loopy, as the world at large tries to portray it, but a well founded faith and like every world-view starts with presuppositions or “faith”. Having taken the step of faith, the Christian position has a beautiful harmony and unity. I for one, often forget that.