By CS Lewis

In a few short paragraphs, Lewis completely dismantles one of the most persistent misunderstandings of popular atheism today.

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 Falstaff or Lady Macbeth. Nor is he diffused through the play like a gas. 

If there were an idiot who thought plays existed on their own, without an author (not to mention actors, producer, manager, stage-hands and what not), our belief in Shakespeare would not be much affected by his saying, quite truly, that he had studied all the plays and never found Shakespeare in them.

The rest of us, in varying degrees according to our perceptiveness, ‘found Shakespeare’ in the plays. But it is a quite different sort of ‘finding’ from anything our poor friend has in mind. Even he has in reality been in some way affected by Shakespeare, but without knowing it. He lacked the necessary apparatus for detecting Shakespeare.

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 is 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.

‘THE SEEING EYE’, first published in the American periodical Show, Volume III (February 1963), the editor entitled it ‘Onward, Christian Spacemen, a title which Lewis so disliked that it was renamed for publication in Christian Reflections (1998).



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