The Apologetics of Joy: A Case for the Existence of God from C.S. Lewis’s Argument from Desire

By Joe Puckett Jr

A thorough defence of C.S. Lewis’ Argument from Desire that expands and updates an often neglected argument for the existence of God.

ISBN: 9780718893118


Throughout human history the question of God’s existence has been highly contentious. In his impassioned work, Joe Puckett Jr considers C.S. Lewis’ Argument from Desire to explore the relationship between mankind and God at a profound level of human experience.

Puckett explains that belief in God is a natural urge, in the same way as are hunger, love and need for security. Although most human needs can be fulfilled in this material world, the inexplicable longing for something that is beyond this earth can only find satisfaction in a figure who belongs to a transcendent world. Puckett asks: why do we desire God? Nietzsche and Freud see Him as the projection of the human quest for safety. Puckett argues that this explanation trivializes human souls, and fails to take into account the human craving for something deeper than security, something more than anything this earth has already provided for.

In an academic discussion of the many poets and philosophers who have faced this unresolved dogmatic issue, Puckett addresses his work to anyone seeking to explore the roots of their faith by considering the defence of God’s existence.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 178

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Joe Puckett Jr. (MLitt , Faulkner University) is pulpit minister for the 16th Ave. Church of Christ in Sterling, Illinois. He is currently working toward his PhD in Humanities from Salve Regina University in the area of the philosophy of mind.


Foreword by Mark D. Linville

Part 1: C.S. Lewis and the Argument from Desire
1. The Argument as Presented in Selected Works of C.S. Lewis
2. Defining “Joy” as Sehnsucht
3. Plantinga and Lewis: Balancing the Mystical and the Natural in Sehnsucht
4. A Word on the Different Forms that the Argument Can Take

Part 2: Examining Beversluis’s Objections to the Argument
5. Does Lewis “Beg the Question”?
6. Does the Quality of Sehnsucht Lack Innateness?
7. If “Joy” Is So Natural and Desirable Then Why Did Lewis Run Away from It?
8. Does the Concept of Sehnsucht Contradict the Bible?
9. Why Do Some People Never Experience what C.S. Lewis Calls “Joy”? 66

Part 3: Haunted by Desire
10. Echoes and Evidences of the Second Premise
11. Imagination and the Heart’s Deep Need for a Happy Ending
12. In the Defense of Beauty
13. Lewis, Leisure, and Sehnsucht

Part 4: Concerning the Conclusion of the Argument from Desire
14. The Evolutionary Objection
15. Is there a Human Gene for Sehnsucht?

Appendix: The End of Human Desire
Subject/Name Index


Endorsements and Reviews

Among the various arguments for the existence of God through the centuries, perhaps the most neglected and unknown is the argument from human desire. … Puckett presents the salient elements of the argument and engages the key contributors and critics. He does so with a fervency and deftness that serves to re-present this important argument for the existence of God to our age.
Michael R. Young, co-editor of The Journal of Faith and the Academy

C. S. Lewis … argues that the best explanation for the human experience of joy and the accompanying longing for the transcendent and permanent is found in the Judeo-Christian creation narrative. … Until now, Lewis’s interesting argument has largely been neglected by apologists making a case for Christian theism. But I believe the argument from desire has a rightful place within a comprehensive, cumulative-case argument for theism, and I am delighted that Joe Puckett’s The Apologetics of Joy fills this gap by developing the argument and defending it against its detractors. The Apologetics of Joy is, to my knowledge, the first book-length treatment on Lewis’s argument, and I am happy to commend it to its readers.
Mark Linville, co-author and co-editor of Philosophy and the Christian Worldview

This is a unique piece of scholarship, the only book I know of that is wholly devoted to the most interesting argument in the world. It’s clear and persuasive, and I strongly recommend it.
Peter Kreeft, author of Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing

An enjoyable read that is suitable for anyone interested in learning a bit more about this specific aspect of Lewis’ apologetics.
Kris Hiuser, University of Chester, in Theological Book Review, Vol 25, No 2