C. S. Lewis and the Right Relationship of Animals and Humans

February 19, 2011


In Perelandra, author and theologian C. S. Lewis tells the story of a traveler from earth who goes to an unfallen version of the planet Venus. Lewis’ fictional Venus is populated with fearsome-looking creatures that the protagonist is at first afraid of but then comes to realize are friendly and even obedient. It is Lewis’ fictionalization of what humankind’s relationship with animals may have been like had there been no Fall. Also, it pictures the truth that the Fall of humanity didn’t only effect humans, but the whole of the natural world. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8, “For creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who created it.” Though our relationship to animals is marred, it is not completely destroyed. Consider these examples of what is known as “interspecies collaboration.” (Also, check out the BBC television series “Human Planet” which explored in-depth the relationships between humans and animals.)

“While South American fishermen use dolphins to help them catch fish, tribesman in Africa employ birds to find honey and hunters in Asia train young eagles to bring down prey for them. … In other parts of the world, fishermen also use otters and cormorants to help them catch fish…” Read the rest of Dolphins, honey guides and golden eagles are man’s best friends in The Telegraph

These examples point to the truth that though everything in creation is under the curse and we experience the reality of the fall in all areas of life, God is still gracious to his creatures; the goodness of creation is not completely lost. We may not inhabit Lewis’ Perelandra, but humankind’s task is to steward the earth in such a way that we experience substantial healing of the effects of the Fall and approach the reality Lewis described.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ben DeVries February 22, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Great post, Andy, I love the Lewis reference and the nod to Schaeffer in the last paragraph as well (http://www.withthosewho.com/blog/2010/10/13/the-basic-psychosis.html). Thank you for sharing this reflection – Ben

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