Thursday, February 17, 2005

One Tiny Planet

The sceptic asks how we can believe that God so 'came down' to this one tiny planet. The question would be embarrassing if we knew (1) that there are rational creatures on any of the other bodies that float in space; (2) that they have, like us, fallen and need redemption; (3) that their redemption must be in the same mode as ours; (4) that redemption in this mode has been withheld from them. But we know none of them. The universe may be full of happy lives that never needed redemption. It may be full of lives that have been redeemed in modes suitable to their condition, of which we can form no conception. It may be full of lives that have been redeemed in the very same mode as our own. It may be full of things quite other than life in which God is interested though we are not.

There is no doubt that we all feel the incongruity of supposing, say, that the planet Earth might be more important than the Great Nebula in Andromeda. On the other hand, we are all equally certain that only a lunatic would think a man six-feet high necessarily more important than a man five-feet high, or a horse necessarily more important than a man, or a man's legs than his brain. In other words this supposed ratio of size to importance feel plausible only when one of the sizes involved is very great.
~C.S. Lewis, Miracles, "A Chapter of Red Herrings" (1947)

Cool link of the day: Messier Object 31 (also known as the Andromeda galaxy)

2 Comment(s):

At Thu Feb 17, 08:07:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

So, do you think that Lewis wasn't up on his astronomy to realize that the Great Nebula in Andromeda was actually a galaxy? It is one of the only galaxies visible to the naked eye, I believe.

Here I think is Lewis at his rational best, by the way. I love the way he shows that size shouldn't matter.

At Fri Feb 18, 01:55:00 AM EST, Blogger Bob said...

I think maybe he didn't know. Particularly since it was only discovered to be a galaxy by Hubble about 20 years prior.

According to this, there are a few galaxies that are visible to the naked eye, but none so easily as the Great Spiral.


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