The Christian Cosmology of C.S. Lewis- The Imaginative Conservative

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C.S. Lewis, who knew and loved the medieval “cosmos”, describes it as “tingling with anthropomorphic life, dancing, ceremonial, a festival not a machine”… It was an organic whole, ordered from within, animated by a hierarchy of souls, perhaps even by a “world soul.” This is not pantheism, although it could become so once the transcendence of God had been forgotten.

Source: The Christian Cosmology of C.S. Lewis- The Imaginative Conservative

“Ecologists tell us that the interdependence of all living things makes the world more than a mechanism, more than the sum of its parts, perhaps even in some sense organically alive in its own right. But this is little more than a rediscovery in scientific terms of what had already been understood “poetically” in all previous civilizations. They may not have had (or needed) the term “ecology,” but the ancient writers were deeply aware of the inter-relatedness of the natural world, and of man as the focus or nexus of that world, which they expressed in the doctrine of correspondences. It was, of course, not scientific in its formulation, but it expressed a profound insight that remains valid, and the present ecological crisis could only have developed in a world that has forgotten it, or forgotten to live by it…

“C.S. Lewis, who knew and loved the medieval “cosmos”, describes it as “tingling with anthropomorphic life, dancing, ceremonial, a festival not a machine” (cited in Ward, Planet Narnia, p. 24). It was an organic whole, ordered from within, animated by a hierarchy of souls, perhaps even by a “world soul.” This is not pantheism, although it could become so once the transcendence of God had been forgotten. It meant that nature possessed a sacred and spiritual value, by virtue of its creation by God and the immanent presence of God within it. The world was a book, pregnant with meanings that God had placed there. All things, even the conjectured world soul, were creatures. The stars and planets in particular were angelic creatures, participating in their own way in the cosmic intelligence, the movements of their high dance helping to determine the pattern of events unfolding below.”

We have lost much, when we traded an ensouled, living Cosmos – sacramental, Incarnational, God-inspired and God-permeated – for dry and mechanistic scientism. And we have gained… stuff. Including some stuff that attacks our very humanness. But some of the better elements of that “stuff” we might well have gotten even if we had remained in the ensouled, God-driven Cosmos (which we are in, whether we like it or not, whether we recognize it or not – I simply mean “remained within” in the sense of conscious recognition). So we have traded God for Walmart and the internet, for Playstations and smartphones. It is possible to wonder whether this is really progress, or something else…

Author: The Anglophilic Anglican

I am an ordained Anglican clergyman, published writer, former op-ed columnist, and experienced outdoor and informal educator. I am also a traditionalist: religiously, philosophically, politically, and socially. I seek to do my bit to promote and restore the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, in a world which has too-often lost touch with all three, and to help re-weave the connections between God, Nature, and humankind which our techno-industrial civilization has strained and broken.

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