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 power - used to be accomplished over sixty years in the past and has remained in print ever for the reason that. during this groundbreaking research, Sanford Schwartz deals a brand new interpreting that demanding situations the traditional view of those novels as portraying a simple fight among a pre-modern cosmology and the fashionable 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 off the trendy "evolutionary model," yet discriminates rigorously between other kinds of evolutionary theory-"mechanistic" in Out of the Silent Planet, "vitalist" in Perelandra, and "spiritual" in That Hideous Strength-and their specific perspectives of human nature, society, and spiritual trust. Schwartz additionally exhibits that during each one publication the clash among Christian and "developmental" viewpoints is much extra advanced than is mostly assumed. according to the Augustinian figuring out that "bad issues are great things 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 certain within the novel. during this recognize, Lewis is extra deeply engaged with the most currents of recent proposal than his personal self-styled picture as an highbrow "dinosaur" may lead us to think. he's additionally way more ready to discover the probabilities for reshaping the evolutionary version in a fashion that's concurrently suitable with conventional Christian doctrine and devoted to addressing the specified matters of contemporary existence.C.S. Lewis at the ultimate Frontier highlights the long-lasting relevance of Lewis's fiction to modern issues on a wide selection 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 supplying a black and white distinction among an old style Christian humanism and a newfangled heresy, the distance Trilogy will be obvious as a latest spiritual 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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Wells and to address the fears of his contemporaries as international tensions mounted and the prospect of war seemed ever more certain. It is therefore no accident that the events of this novel take place on the planet most closely associated with martial virtue. Ransom’s progressive reorientation from his terrifying Wellsian illusions to his recognition of the beneficent character of the universe beyond his own “silent planet” will go hand in hand with the restoration of his courage. In this respect, Lewis’s attempt to reawaken his readers to the presence of a rationally ordered and divinely governed creation—the “discarded image” obscured by the modern naturalistic worldview—is closely tied to his immediate 22 C.

S. Lewis presents an encounter between a trio of interplanetary travelers and the rational inhabitants of an alien planet. The fact that Malacandra (Mars) has three rational species, none with bodies identical to our own, gives rise to considerable mayhem. The two villainous earthlings, Devine and Weston, regard the most anthropomorphic Martian species—the sorns—as ignorant “primitives” or “brutes,” and they shoot the seal-like hrossa as if they were mere beasts. The third earthling, Elwin Ransom, whom the villains have abducted in the mistaken belief that the sorns are demanding a sacrificial victim, labors under a different set of illusions.

Lewis lingers over the crucial moment of recognition as “two so far-divided species stared each into the other’s face”: Ransom rose to his knees. The creature leaped back, watching him intently, and then became motionless again. Then it came a pace nearer, and Ransom jumped up and retreated, but not far; curiosity held him. He summoned up his courage and advanced, holding out his hand; the beast misunderstood the gesture. It backed into the shallows of the lake and he could see the muscles tightened under its sleek pelt, ready for sudden movement.

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