Notes on Out of the Silent Planet – Worship on Different Planets

Worship on Different Planets: The Space Trilogy is fiction. But it is based on, or at least written from the viewpoint, of a distinctly Christian and, I would venture to say, Western worldview. (And though its arguable, I would say persuasively, that platonism is an ugly spot on Christian thought, I would not try to deny its influence on Western thought.) From that worldview (which Lewis subscribes to, as do I) Darwinism is mostly wrong. He may have had some good points, and maybe someday we’ll know everything about origins and changes since. But as far as he has been taken to say there is no God and this is how we got here, that idea is wrong. It’s pervasive in our culture and thoughts, but its far from accurate. Now I’m not trying to pick a fight here and I won’t argue points here. Let’s just state that Adam was a real man who sinned against his Creator (who would be called Maleldil in the Space Trilogy) and thus everything became “bent” or (as I would prefer) “twisted.” At least that’s what has happened on Thulcandra. Not so on Malacandra.

Now Malacandra is not without “evil” defined coarsely as bad stuff happening to the people who live there. But it seems all creation, not just Thulcandra, has suffered from the evil that took place there. A race of hnau are dead because of the sin and rebellion of Thulcandra. All creation is subject to decay by its Creator in hope that He would someday set it free. And, in the Space Trilogy, that includes Malacandra. But it has happened differently on Malacandra than on Thulcandra. They know only a little of Thulcandra’s goings-ons, only that it is dark and silent. Things have gone better for them for countless generations. They have societies not marked by the wicked pursuits of self. And yet they most greatly desire to see what Maleldil is doing on Thulcandra. They have not the view of sin and corruption that Thulcandra has. But they also have not the view of redemption and grace that Thulcandra has. They see aspects of Maleldil in what they know (and it is enough to bring them to worship in their own way) but there is much of his greatness, of his character, of his Glory, that is invisible to them given their vantage point. Even sin, when repented of and atoned for, illuminates the Glory of God.

So “evil” on Malacandra is much different than evil on Thulcandra. But so is good. Repentance and redemption are difficult concepts for the uninitiated Malacandrians, but to those who have it, they are great tools to see the Great God. So we have Thulcandra and Malacandra, two entirely different planets, peoples, and cultures both honoring and glorifying their Creator, but in two very different ways: one is through a simple and complete devotion and the other is through a transformative redemption.

 

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