Hello, World!

Recently, I had to read Screwtape Letters and Out of the Silent Planet for school. This wasn’t a burden because I love C.S. Lewis’ work, which I guess is pretty evident from my other posts. But anyway, as I was thinking, an interesting connection between Prince Caspian, Screwtape letters, and Out of the Silent Planet dawned on me.

In Prince Caspian, Aslan was telling the prince how his people came to live in Narnia and Caspian was a bit disappointed.

“I was wishing that I came of a more honourable lineage.”
“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”

That has always been one of my favorite quotes from Prince Caspian. However, when I read Screwtape Letters, it sort of brought new meaning to the quote. You see, there is a particular quote by Screwtape that is tells us an interesting fact about human nature.

“Humans are amphibians…half spirit and half animal…as spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to be in time, means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation–the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.”

Then there is the part from Out of The Silent Planet when Ransom meets one of the rational creatures of the planet and gets a little freaked out.

“The huge, seal-like creature seated beside him became unbearably ominous…was it really as rational as it appeared?…the rationality of the the hross tempted you to think of it as a man. Then it became abominable- a man seven feet high, with a snaky body, covered, face and all, with thick black animal hair, and whiskered like a cat.

So you may be wondering what all these random quotes have to do with each other. Well, the first quote was saying that being human is something to be proud of, but it is also a reason to be humble. Then Screwtape says that humans are eternal, but we are also bound to time by our bodies. So in one way we are immortal beings, but on the other hand, we are very similar to animals. We have bodies. We need shelter. We need food. We are susceptible to change.

Then I read Out of the Silent Planet, which had characters that were rational, but very much akin to animals. They were “amphibians” like us but still had the human capacity for rationality. On Malacandra, they called creatures such as these “hnau.” So, basically, all of us are one rational brain from being animals. Dang. But then go back to Prince Caspian where Aslan says,

“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”

So even though we are eternal spirits that are made in the image of Christ, the medium that God uses to fashion us in is material, finite, and vulnerable. Our bodies are so similar, to similar to animals, that some people believe we are descended from apes. And yet homo sapiens is the only species to have a soul. I believe that when God created us, he wanted us to be able to love and be loved, but he gave us a “animal” body to keep us humble.

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