Biblical Audio Commentary – C.S. Lewis & Watchers

Biblical Audio Commentary – C.S. Lewis & Watchers




To the best of my recollection, I read Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis many years ago, well before I was saved.  However, if in fact I did read it then, it was totally new to me this time around as I partook of it as an Audiobook.  While listening, I worked at making sense of the world that Lewis painted, and finally at the end came to an understanding.  I don’t know if the conclusions I came to originated where Lewis was coming from, but I did find an interesting correlation.

The book recounts the adventures of Dr. Ransom who is kidnapped by two unethical men and taken in their solar powered spaceship to another planet named Malacandra – which we later learn is Mars.  There Ransom escapes and encounters an intelligent species of life that he lives with for a time and learns enough of their language to communicate.  In this he comes to know that there are actually three wholly different and intelligent species on the planet, plus someone or something known as Oyarsa who rules over it.  This entity summons him and he goes to appear before it.

The Oyarsa is Malacandra’s guardian angel.  The planet itself hasn’t fallen into sin like earth.  In the case of our planet – the Silent Planet – we no longer have a guardian angel because of rebellion against our Oyarsa, who now oversees our world as an evil ruler.  There is a greater entity – an Old One – who has placed guardian angel Oyarsas over all planets, but earth is the only one that has turned away from Him.  The Old One didn’t abandon earth, however, he sent another being known as Maledil to rescue it.

You can see the parallels with Christianity, but you know me, I think there’s something even more profound at work – whether Lewis was aware of it or not.  Whoever our Oyarsa might have been, Satan displaced him.  Our Father, the Old One, continues to love us as His creation.  Because of that, He sent Maledil, Jesus Christ, to destroy the works of Satan, and to rescue all who choose to come to Him in repentance.

I’ve often spoken about the Tower of Babel incident, and how God dealt with man’s rebellion.  When He said in Genesis 11:7:

“Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

. . . I believe “us” refers to the sons of God – His divine and loyal heavenly host, a.k.a. the Watchers of Daniel 4.  Remember, God engages His creation and puts us to work on His behalf, whether we inhabit the spiritual realm or the natural.

Upon seeing the disobedience of man, God acts, as we see in Deuteronomy 32:8-9:

When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he divided mankind,
he fixed the borders of the peoples
according to the number of the sons of God.
But the Lord’s portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted heritage.

These verses, which provide what we know as the Deuteronomy 32 Worldview, tell us that in the scattering of mankind into nations, God placed His loyal – at the time – divine sons over them.  Their job was to point humanity to Him as the One true God as He reigned over Israel.  You can see the geographical or territorial nature of this arrangement.  Of course, however it happened, all His previously faithful sons rebelled and set themselves up as gods over the nations which they ruled.

Let’s now engage in a mental exercise and turn things as we know them upside down.  What if all God’s sons placed over the nations had actually remained loyal to Him and only one of them – over a single nation – had rebelled?  Those sons, a.k.a. Watchers, a.k.a. guardian angels, a.k.a. Oyarsa, would rule over a people who didn’t know sin and were loyal to God, to the Old One who had created all things.  That one nation is quite different from the others as evil reigns under the supervision of Satan, or the rebel, if you will.

The story could then be told of Dr. Ransom who travels from this evil nation to one of the nations that obeys and serves their Oyarsa, living in harmony and perfect peace with one another.

Ransom would also learn that a perfect being called Maledil had been sent to his native home so that it might be turned back to good.

As I said, whether or not Lewis explicitly had this worldview is something I don’t know.  But you can see how he expressed this truly Biblical concept in the context of the fictional story.

Realizing all this was an aha moment for me, and I wanted to share it.  It’s pretty interesting and another reason to read and absorb the wisdom of C.S. Lewis.

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