A Quarantined World

I love Sci-Fi. I think my parents and sister probably kicked off my appetite for it by sitting in front of our old black and white TV to watch classis like War of the Worlds whilst I was out at Boys Brigade as a kid. It gave me a hunger to get home and see what I was missing out on. I usually caught the last 10 -15 minutes.

Most of our science fiction and our fantasy comic canon (think the Marvel Universe and Avengers) is predicated on the idea that this world is under threat, under siege from outside alien threats. Sometimes we are saved by our own ingenuity or an overlooked weakness in the invading fleet’s protection. Sometimes we are rescued by benign aliens such as the Doctor. However, it is the belief that we are the good guys and often the heroes that unites the genre.

The dark, wider, unknown Universe is something to be explored but also feared.  I guess that having explored and tamed much of our home planet, this is not a surprising emotion. 

That was the nature of the genre I grew up with. So I remember the surprise well when I first read CS Lewis’ trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Voyage to Venus and That Hideous Strength. Lewis turns our assumptions on their head.

What if instead of being the good guys, humans are a danger to the rest of the Universe? What if instead of being in danger, earth is in fact quarantined for the safety of the Universe.

Lewis imagines a Universe where it is earth that is the silent and mysterious planet, cut off from other worlds. Hid universe teams with life but instead of the aliens living on dystopian, airless, harsh worlds, their planets are beautiful and rich in resources.  The Earth has been quarantined because of human sin and so it is us with our disease that are a menace to everyone else.

Well, the wider Universe may not be full of life. Certainly, we know now that we are alone at least in our own Solar System, so that there is no life on Mars or Venus (the planets where Lewis set his first two stories).  However, the Science Fiction, like much of Lewis’ work brings home the sorry state of our world and humanity.

The Bible is clear that we are not the good guys. We live on a planet which is subject to frustration because of the Fall and that we have caused significant damage to as we have sought to explore it. We ourselves are subject to the Fall as well, we are fallen and sinful. We are the danger. A form of lockdown quarantine to prevent this disease spreading into the  wider Universe would certainly be a sensible response to our situation.

Yet, that is not how God has responded to us. He hasn’t locked the planet down and left us on our own but has been consistently and intimately involved with this world all through its history. He has sent his angels as messengers, he has spoken through the prophets. He continuously sustains this world and life by his word. Ultimately, he stepped into history in the person of Jesus who lived, died and was raised for our sin. He has given the Holy Spirit to us so that we may continuously know his presence with us. Christ will one day return to make all things new. This is the better story.

So next time you watch a scary Sci-Fi movie with an alien invasion, remember that rather than being afraid of outside intervention, we know that that outside intervention is exactly what we needed and have received.

%d bloggers like this: