C. S. Lewis on the Final Frontier: Science and the by Sanford Schwartz

By Sanford Schwartz

C.S. Lewis's celebrated area Trilogy - Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous energy - used to be accomplished over sixty years in the past and has remained in print ever considering the fact that. during this groundbreaking research, Sanford Schwartz deals a brand new examining that demanding situations the traditional view of those novels as portraying a uncomplicated fight among a pre-modern cosmology and the trendy clinical paradigm that supplanted it.Schwartz situates Lewis's paintings within the context of recent highbrow, cultural, and political heritage. He exhibits that Lewis doesn't easily brush aside the fashionable "evolutionary model," yet discriminates rigorously between other forms of evolutionary theory-"mechanistic" in Out of the Silent Planet, "vitalist" in Perelandra, and "spiritual" in That Hideous Strength-and their distinct perspectives of human nature, society, and spiritual trust. Schwartz additionally indicates that during each one e-book the clash among Christian and "developmental" viewpoints is much extra complicated than is usually assumed. based on the Augustinian knowing that "bad issues are good stuff perverted," Lewis constructs each one of his 3 "beatific" communities-the "unfallen" worlds on Mars and Venus and the terrestrial remnant at St. Anne's-not because the sheer antithesis yet quite because the transfiguration or "raising up" of the actual evolutionary doctrine that's exact within the novel. during this admire, Lewis is extra deeply engaged with the most currents of contemporary proposal than his personal self-styled picture as an highbrow "dinosaur" may perhaps lead us to think. he's additionally way more ready to discover the probabilities for reshaping the evolutionary version in a way that's at the same time suitable with conventional Christian doctrine and dedicated to addressing the specified matters of contemporary existence.C.S. Lewis at the ultimate Frontier highlights the iconic relevance of Lewis's fiction to modern matters on a large choice of concerns, together with the moral difficulties surrounding bio-technology and the conflict among spiritual and naturalistic worldviews within the twenty-first century. faraway from providing a black and white distinction among an old school Christian humanism and a newfangled heresy, the gap Trilogy may be visible as a contemporary non secular apologist's looking attempt to complement the previous via serious engagement with the latter.

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Extra resources for C. S. Lewis on the Final Frontier: Science and the Supernatural in the Space Trilogy

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His saving grace is that his fear of the Other is offset by the good will and open-mindedness that gradually transform his thoughts, perceptions, and feelings. The process begins on the trip to Mars as he sheds his Wellsian terror of outer space and finds himself “drawn by an irresistible attraction” (OSP 33) to the celestial beauty around him: A nightmare, long engendered in the modern mind by the mythology that follows in the wake of science, was falling off him. He had read of “Space”: at the back of his thinking for years had lurked the dismal fancy of the black, cold vacuity, the utter deadness, which was supposed to separate Out of the Silent Planet 33 the worlds.

At the same time, the prohibition against Ransom’s participation in the hunt suggests that unlike the Martians we were not fashioned for this type of violence, and the tragic outcome of Ransom’s impassioned act of disobedience indicates that as fallen creatures we must remain wary of the passions incited by this or any other form of violence. At the end of this complex chapter, Ransom asks for pardon from his dying friend, who has no fear of death and hails his terrestrial companion as heroic hnakra-slayer.

The narrator does not relate the rest of this discussion, leaving us to ponder its crucial if at first misleading implications. Initially it sounds as if our terrestrial woes proceed from an accident of circumstance or, worse yet, from a flaw in the original Out of the Silent Planet 41 design of creation. But few if any readers are likely to conclude that Lewis is attributing our tendency to behave like spoiled children to a prior act of divine miscalculation. A more likely interpretation is that Lewis is challenging the modern biocentric tendency to confuse the spiritual and organic realms by reducing the former to a function of the latter.

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