Thursday, January 13, 2011

God in outer space

The Russians, I am told, report that they have not found God in outer space. On the other hand, a good many people in many different times and countries claim to have found God, or been found by God, here on earth. The conclusion some want us to draw from these data is that God does not exist. As a corollary, those who think they have met Him on earth were suffering from a delusion. But other conclusions might be drawn.
    (1) We have not yet gone far enough in space. There had been ships on the Atlantic for a good time before America was discovered.
    (2) God does exist but is locally confined to this planet.
    (3) The Russians did find God in space without knowing it because they lacked the requisite apparatus for detecting Him.
    (4) God does exist but is not an object either located in a particular part of space nor diffused, as we once thought “ether” was, throughout space.
    The first two conclusions do not interest me. The sort of religion for which they could be a defense would be a religion for savages: the belief in a local deity who can be contained in a particular temple, island, or grove. That, in fact, seems to be the sort of religion about which the Russians—or some Russians, and a good many people in the West—are being irreligious. It is not in the least disquieting that no astronauts have discovered a god of that sort. The really disquieting thing would be if they had.
    The third and fourth conclusions are the ones for my money….
LIFE: The Russian MIR Space Station, picture taken by the docking Space Shuttle Atlantis!     Space travel really has nothing to do with the matter. To some, God is discoverable everywhere; to others, nowhere. Those who do not find Him on earth are unlikely to find Him in space. (Hang it all, we’re in space already; every year we go a huge circular tour in space.) But send a saint up in a spaceship and he’ll find God in space as he found God on earth. Much depends on the seeing eye.

C.S. Lewis, Christian Reflections 167, 171

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