“The Russians, I am told, report that they have not found God in outer space ... Looking for God—or heaven—by exploring space is like reading or seeing all Shakespeare’s plays in the hope that you will find Shakespeare as one of the characters or Stratford as one of the places. Shakespeare is in one sense present at every moment in every play. But he is never present in the same way as a Falstaff or Lady Macbeth nor is he diffused through the play like a gas ...
“Now of course this is only an analogy. I am not suggesting at all that the existence of God is as easily established as the existence of Shakespeare. My point it that, if God does exist, He is related to the universe more as an author is related to a play than as one object in the universe is related to another ... If God created the universe, He created space-time, which is to the universe as the metre is to a poem or the key is to music. To look for Him as one item within the framework which He Himself invented is nonsensical ... If God—such a God as any adult religion believes in—exists, mere movement in space will never bring you any nearer to Him or any farther from Him than you are at this very moment. You can neither reach Him nor avoid Him by travelling to Alpha Centauri or even to other galaxies.
“How, then, it may be asked, can we either reach or avoid Him? ... In our own time and place, it [avoiding God] is extremely easy. Avoid silence, avoid solitude, avoid any train or thought that leads off the beaten track. Concentrate on money, sex, status, health and (above all) on your own grievances. Keep the radio on. Live in a crowd. Use plenty of sedation. If you must read books, select them very careful. But you’d be safer to stick to the papers. You’ll find the advertisements helpful; especially those with a sexy or a snobbish appeal.
“About the reaching ... the experience of looking for God ... the first results of such an effort is to bring your picture of yourself down to something nearer life-size. And presently you begin to wonder whether you are yet, in any full sense, a person at all; whether you are entitled to call yourself “I” (for it is a sacred name) ... You find that what you call yourself is only a thin film on the surface of an unsounded and dangerous sea. But not merely dangerous: Radiant things, delights and inspirations, come to the surface as well as snarling resentments and nagging lusts. One’s ordinary self is, then, a mere façade. There’s a huge area out of sight behind it ... And [according to] ... physicists, one discovers that the same is true of all the things around us. These tables and chairs, this magazine, the trees, clouds and mountains are facades. Poke (scientifically) into them and you find the unimaginable structure of the atom. That is, in the long run, you find mathematical formulas ... There [is] you (whatever you means) sitting reading. Out there (whatever there means) is a white page with black marks on it. And both are facades. Behind both lies—well, Whatever-it-is. The psychologists and the theologians, though they use different symbols, equally use symbols when they try to probe the depth behind the façade called you. That is, they can’t really say ‘it is this’, but they can say ‘it is in someway like this.’ And the physicists, trying to probe behind the other façade, can give you only mathematics. And the mathematics may be true about the reality, but it can hardly be the reality itself, any more than contour lines are real mountains ... The point, however, is that every fresh discovery, far from dissipating, deepens the mystery ...
“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 ...”
[from The Timeless Writings]
Monday: Deuteronomy 4; 5: 3-5; Hebrews 11:6
The Russians could not find God in outer space; sightings of God on earth are considered by many as delusional. “Much depends on the seeing eye”, Lewis says. According to Moses in Deuteronomy, why has God not allowed anyone to see Him as a particular form? Today many are prone and tempted to shape God into what they would like Him to be or to do. What does Lewis mean by the “seeing eye”?
Tuesday: Exodus 3:1-6; 13:21; 33:20-23; Numbers. 12:5-9; Deuteronomy 4:12; Job 38:1; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:3
There are people today who are looking for God as if He was an object or a character in a play. In what ways did God physically make Himself known to the people in Old Testament days? Why was Moses only allowed to see God as He was retreating? How did the coming of Christ change the way God would manifest Himself? Why is this essential for us today, 2000 years later?
Wednesday: Psalm 19:1-6; Isaiah 66:1; Jeremiah 23:24
Lewis compares “space-time” which is to the universe like the “metre is to a poem or the key is to music.” While reading the above Scriptures, visualize in your mind’s eye what each verse portrays of the essence of God. It takes great focus and desire to seek and know God. Is it any wonder that many in this world when centered only on self miss the profoundness of the Creator of the universe? What is fundamental in developing a “seeing eye”?
Thursday: Deuteronomy 8:3; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Psalm 73; Leviticus 9:5-6, 23-24
How do we answer the question Lewis posed—“How, then, it may be asked, can we either reach or avoid Him?”
The Deuteronomy passage tells us bread alone will not give us the “good life.” What illusions of a good life does Satan use today to blind people to truth? How did the psalmist work through his lack of faith when he saw the wicked seemingly to prosper? While God does not often display His power today as He did for the Israelites, He still is changing the world in powerful ways through those who believe in Him. Ask the Lord to help you live in expectation of seeing and experiencing the eternal value of His love and supernatural presence in your life.
Friday: Job 11:7-11; Isaiah 45:15-18; James 4:7-10
What picture do you imagine as Lewis describes the “I” of our “ordinary self” as only a façade, a “thin film on the surface of an unsounded and dangerous sea”, and that there is a “huge area out of sight behind it”? He says not only is “I” a façade but matter is no more than a façade as well. Science has come a long way since Lewis’ day in understanding the “unimaginable structure of the atom”, but it has not changed the fact that “every fresh discovery, far from dissipating, deepens the mystery” of every object, every person, every purpose of life.” How do “warped worldviews and false beliefs” 2 of our world keep people from recognizing and understanding God’s activity, His presence in the world, and His relationship to us? How does truth help us not only find and know God but help us find the person we are behind the façade?
Saturday: Psalm 27:4; 1 Kings 8:27; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16; 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
David found the presence of God in the temple; Solomon determined since nothing on earth or in heaven could contain God, neither could the temple he built. “Space-travel” has nothing to do with this matter of “seeing God”. Lewis says for some, God is “discoverable everywhere; to others, nowhere.” And he is right that we all are in space and make a huge circular tour each year. Today we have evidence not only that our earth is orbiting the sun, but the sun is racing around our Milky Way galaxy, while the Milky Way is whizzing around within its Local Group of Galaxies. Not to be out done, this Local Group of twenty galaxies is moving at quite a clip through the rest of the universe. We are on the move! Back to Lewis, he tells us, “Much depends on the seeing eye” and there are those who “see” God. A tone-deaf person can’t grasp the delight of fine music; a color-blinded person won’t see the rainbow; a person who rejects God cannot understand and know His Truth. Is your focus on what is “unseen” and is your dependence upon God’s power that comes from His presence within so others can “see” God and His truth through you?
The lesson for the week: “Indeed the expectation of finding God by astronautics,” Lewis stated, “would be very like trying to verify or falsify the divinity of Christ by taking specimens of His blood or dissecting Him. And in their own way they did both. But they were no wiser than before. What is required is a certain faculty of recognition. If you do not at all know God, of course you will not recognize Him, either in Jesus or in outer space.” We who have been privileged to hear the Gospel and heed it as Jesus’ disciples did are then bound with the responsibility to live it and proclaim it.
Sunday: John 14:9; Matthew 16:13-20; Luke 10:22-24
Lewis said: “For the Christian story is that Christ was perceived to be God by very few people indeed; perhaps, for a time only by St Peter, who would also, and for the same reason, have found God in space. For Christ said to Peter, ‘Flesh and blood have not taught you this’.” How profound is this? Lewis goes on to say that “the methods of science do not discover facts of that order.” It is a spiritual matter; science deals with the physical that will decay and return to dust. “How does the search for God, the truth and reality, end with Christ?
In my life, this will look like...
For more from C. S. Lewis, order the book The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics from our online store. Read the article “The Witness of Creation” by T. M. Moore.