Because Professor Lewis has written so extensively, both in fiction and nonfiction, about space travel (see his trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength), I was particularly interested in what he would have to say about the prospects for man’s future.
Sherwood Wirt: What do you think is going to happen in the next few years of history, Mr. Lewis?
C.S. Lewis: I have no way of knowing. My primary field is the past. I travel with my back to the engine, and that makes it difficult when you try to steer. The world might stop in ten minutes; meanwhile, we are to go on doing our duty. The great thing is to be found at one’s post as a child of God, living each day a though it were our last, but planning as though our world might last a hundred years.
We have, of course, the assurance of the New Testament regarding events to come (Matthew 24:4-44; Mark 13:5-27; Luke 21:8-33). I find it difficult to keep from laughing when I find people worrying about future destruction of some kind or other. Didn’t they know they were going to die anyway? Apparently not. My wife once asked a young woman friend whether she had ever thought of death, and she replied, ‘By the time I reach that age science will have done something about it!’
Wirt: Do you think there will be wide-spread travel in space?
Lewis: I look forward with horror to contact with the other inhabited planets, if there are such. We would only transport to them all of our sin and our acquisitiveness, and establish a new colonialism. I can’t hear to think of it. But if we on earth were to get right with God, of course, all would be changed. Once we find ourselves spiritually awakened, we can go to outer space and take the good things with us. That is quite a different matter.
Sherwood Wirt interviewing C.S. Lewis, “Cross-Examination,” God in the Dock (Eerdmans: 1970) 266-267 with appropriate additions from the originally published interview in Decision magazine, September 1963, ©1963 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.