In 1961, when Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, defiantly declared that his cosmonaut returned from outer space and had not found God, a New York magazine had asked C.S. Lewis to respond. His rebuttal on the absurdity of trying to find God in space was absolutely brilliant.
This essay first appeared in Show Magazine in February 1963, originally titled, “Onward, Christian Spacemen.” It was changed to “The Seeing Eye” at Lewis’ insistence.
After his death, a book was published that included this essay, “The Seeing Eye and Other Selected Essays from Christian Reflections.” This is a classic C.S. Lewis apologetic on the existence of God that every thinking person should study. Here is one of my favorite passages from this essay:
“Looking for God — or Heaven — by exploring space is like reading or seeing all Shakespeare’s plays in the hope 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 exist on their own, without an author, 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…..
“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 up a saint in a spaceship and he’ll find God in space as he found God on earth. Much depends on the seeing eye.”
What’s interesting to me is that this was a theme that C.S. Lewis had apparently been processing for a long time, going all the way back to his own atheistic past before surrendering his life to the Lord in 1929. In his personal testimony in “Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life” (1955), he said this about knowing God…
“For I thought He projected us as a dramatist projects his characters, and I could no more “meet” Him, than Hamlet could meet Shakespeare. I didn’t call Him “God” either; I called Him “Spirit.” One fights for one’s remaining comforts.” (Ch. XIV)
While doing some research on this essay for my book I came across this video that I thought was a great way to share C.S. Lewis’ genius. It’s narrated word-for-word from “The Seeing Eye” essay. If you haven’t seen this before, be prepared to have your mind blown away!