Unnaturally Clean

By Jaime Nava

“So natural, it would even deceive.” Filostrato spoke with passion in C. S. Lewis’ final novel in his space trilogy. To have aluminum trees that looked as real as an organic one, that would be magical in its own way. Once we discovered a way to clean the air chemically, we wouldn’t need organic trees anymore. We could create clean aluminum trees that looked real. We could move them wherever we wanted. What about the birds? Get rid of them too. “Consider again the improvement. No feathers dropped out, no nests, no eggs, no dirt.” He goes on to say that eliminating organic life is “simple hygiene.” What do you do if you’re covered in dirt? You bathe. You eliminate it from your body. Then he gets rolling. “But the real filth is what comes from organisms—sweat, spittles, excretions . . . The impure and the organic are interchangeable conceptions.” Finally we come to the point, “In us organic life has produced Mind. It has done its work. After that we want no more of it. We do not want the world any longer furred over with organic life . . . we must get rid of it. By little and little, of course. Slowly we learn how. Learn to make our brains live with less and less body: learn to build our bodies directly with chemicals, no longer have to stuff them with dead brutes and weeds.”

As usual, Lewis was on to something. Although his sci-fi series is way weirder than the Narnia collection, it is no less significant. Filostrato gives us a reflection of what we actually see. At the heart of what he believes is complete and utter trust in science as his god. With enough time and enough study, we can solve the problem of sickness. We can solve the problem of impurity. We change out the fallen creation for a paradise of chemicals that are governed by an enlightened humanity.

His theology is living in the culture today, although not as extreme—yet. There are some who actually talk about copying our minds into a computer system to live on without trappings of organic life. On a more current note, though, we see other aspects of the same theology. We see the deception that Filostrato wanted in science that was so clever that it could even look real. What does a man do if he believes he is a woman? Culture would presently tell us that he should use surgery to change his organic existence into something else that is deceptively real. It would be maintained by chemicals. Point for Filostrato. What about the girl in high school who just found out she is pregnant because she ignored the obvious fact that sex makes babies? Cecile Richards would first give her some chemicals to remove the living human made up of chromosomes distinct from the mother. If it was much later in incubation, big sister Cecile would offer to take those pesky body parts out of the mother only to turn around and sell them for SCIENCE (or just tons of cash)! What else can you think of wherein humans use science and technology in order to manipulate reality into something “purer” and “better?”

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God and man both know that the world is not the way it should be, that it could and should be better. This is why humans are desperate for fountains of youth or fictional aluminum trees. How creation is redeemed is where the great divergence lies. There are two paths in this fallen world. One is wide and barren, trodden down by those who attempted to find life and solace in what is cursed. The other has a single set of prints that shred deeply up the path to Mount Zion. They are deep because the Good Shepherd had to carry the lost upon Himself the entire way. The Christ did not remake humanity the way Filostrato wanted. Neither did He shirk its impurity. He became flesh and dwelt among us. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. The Maker entered what was made, even in its fallen condition, in order to redeem the same. What reason did He have for this? To make Himself look good? Does crucifixion look good to you? Was it for power? He had to set it aside to humble Himself among us. No, Jesus came here because of love. He came for those who impure in death: the unclean. He came for those whose comfort is in science. He did what no scientist could ever conceive; he suffered and died for this fallen creation and rose from the dead forevermore. He revealed that this world, this creation, is not all there is. Even if we were somehow able to place our minds into an ongoing computer system, even that would end. This is not the final destination for humanity. Jesus came for the gender-dysphoric, for the abortionists, and for we who want this life to be perfect at all costs. He promised a New Heaven and New Earth that will no longer need Kleenex because He will wipe away every tear with His own holy hand. This promise is offered to everyone.

So what do we do? We serve our neighbor. We give them hope, which Filostrato didn’t have, in an eternal God who showed His love by sending His Son to die in the midst of an unclean world. We suffer through this life, but not alone. We suffer with the One who suffered even for us. That is the message that the impure need to hear. We have a hope in something that lasts longer than science and technology. We have something greater than the impurity of our sin. We find our peace in Christ, Creator and Redeemer of all things, purely for you.

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