I thoroughly enjoyed this space fiction adventure work by C. S. Lewis! The book is 160 pages so makes for a good short read.
Without giving away too much of the story, three men find themselves on a foreign planet full of new and strange life. One is in it for greed. How he can exploit it to bring back riches to earth. One is in it for the sake of humanity. He wants to conquer the planet so human beings can come live on it if anything every happens to Earth. The third has been kidnapped by the others to give to the aliens.
The third man escapes from his captors and befriends the native aliens. He makes a wonderful discovery that they are an unfallen race of peoples. The way they relate to eachother and other species are as we may imagine Man would have if he had not fallen.
The planet’s non-rational animals are sub-servant to the rational ones. The rational ones obey what would be consider angelic beings, and everyone obeys what would be considered an archangel how rules the planet. All planets and archangels are ruled by God. Now, I am not so sure what I think of the idea of archangel’s ruling planets but the idea is at least not distasteful. The idea that some planets such as our own have fallen into sin, but others remained in a state of grace is not totally unimaginable.
In one of the final chapters the archangel describes the folly of conquering another world for the sake of humanities future. “I see now the lord of the silent world (the devil) has bent you. There are laws that all hnau (people) know, of pity and straight dealing and shame and the like, and one of these is the love of kindred. He has taught you to break all of them except this, one which is not one of the greatest laws; this one he has bent till it becomes folly and has set it up, thus bent, to be a little, blind Oyarsa (god) in your brain.”
This quotation reminds me of the many voices today calling for a reduction to birth rates and an overall need to reduce the population of the world. The call for the greater good of “humanity” at the cost of many individual lives through depopulation and other aggressive climate change regimes should startle us. In the same way this other world explorer kidnapped a man to give to aliens, completely showing no care for a human, all in the greater name of humanity. I feel the words of the archangel in the book are true. Many people will break every rule and show no care for human life individually but profess their love on a global scale.
The book also shows this new planet heavily damaged, and at the end of its life. No species is meant to live forever. Humanity should not expect to also. We must aim for the true reason of life which is serving God for a time then fading away to life with him. Did God really make earth so that it would last forever? What does this mean in terms of stewardship and population? I am not sure but they are good thoughts to have.
The book also does a good job showing how spiritual beings influence this unfallen planet. It was a good reminder that our battle is within the spiritual realm also here on earth.
What is the value of humanity? And at what costs is humanity’s sake being presented in the media to us at odds with moral laws and higher laws such as serving God first?