My mother used to quip every time we homeschoolers were listening to NPR’s All Things Considered that “They don’t consider God!” And she is right, even if the reminder got old fast. However my memory was drawn back to that when I heard a report on Morning Edition about the Insight Probe deployed to Mars that is about to go dark; and what it has accomplished in expanding our knowledge of the planet. Toward the end of the interview with the principal investigator, Bruce Banerdt, NPR’s reporter Joe Palca has the following exchange:
PALCA: …Mars had one other surprise for the InSight team. When they listened closely, they could hear a faint hum coming from Mars – yes, I said hum.
BANERDT: And it seems to be there all the time, you know, day and night. And we really have been, you know, scratching our heads and trying to figure this out.
They go on to joke it could be a giant snoring in the core of the planet or a swarm of Martian bees. But my mind immediately went to Lewis and medieval cosmology. If this hum could be bees or a giant, why not part of the cosmic song?
Michael Ward has demonstrated excellently how Lewis gave a deep sense or Donegality or reality to the Narnian heptalogy by incorporating a cosmology lifted from the midlevel understanding of the universe theologically. In summary all of creation is made to sing the praises of God to his glory and in the fall Earth went silent. Hence the title of Lewis’ first in the Ransom trilogy Out of the Silent Planet. Narnia takes these ideas further and applies the holy sentience to animals, arboreal beings, and celestial bodies.
“In our world,” said Eustace, “a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.”
“Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is but only what it is made of.” – Eustace and Ramandu, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Chapter XIV (C.S. Lewis)
And earlier at the creation of Narnia we read:
“Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out – single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world. There were no clouds. The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen and heard it , as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves who were singing, and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing.” – The Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis
Which all falls perfectly in line with this text of Scripture from when God questions and humbles Job:
“When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” – Job 38:7
Now it would be easy to write all of this off as an overly literal interpretation of a single verse of Scripture and some Lewisian tom foolery all being read too far into. And yet we find that the Planet Mars hits a steady base note while our planet is silent. At the very least it is something to wonder it, in both senses of the word.
One more thing to consider, while I am indulging myself. The people of earth seem to be making very good headway in making, not a song of glory, but noise in the vein of which Screwtape writes so rapturously:
“How thankful we should be that ever since our Father entered Hell—though longer ago than humans, reckoning in light years, could express—no square inch of infernal space and no moment of infernal time has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, but all has been occupied by Noise—Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile—Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples, and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end. But I admit we are not yet loud enough, or anything like it.” – Screwtape Letters, Letter XXII, C.S. Lewis
Our own noise makes for a pretty good defense from considering the possibility of the melodies of Heaven.
Granted, none of this is a vital point, and perhaps one that is stretched, it is, to me a point of interest.