Science Fiction: July 2006 Archives

This idea for this post occurred to me when reading this post, at Pseudo-Polymath, which reviews a Christian science fiction novel. I wanted to expand a little on a comment I left on that post. The novel in question involves people from Earth colonizing other planets, with no clear indication of why they are doing so. What I'm wondering is if this is in conflict with the creation mandate of the early chapters of Genesis. God gives the Earth over to humans to take care of as stewards. It's God's Earth, but humans now have the responsibility to care for it as representatives of God, which is what being an image of God primarily means. There's no indication that anything else in the universe is given to humanity to steward, which suggests to me that going beyond the boundaries of this planet is going beyond our jurisdiction. I've never been opposed to the space program, but I don't have any sense of how it's supposed to fit with the creation mandate. It seems counter to the very intent.

C.S. Lewis avoids with this in his Space Trilogy by not having the people out there be humans descended from Adam and Eve. I don’t mind scifi that has humans colonizing other planets or even with only faint memories of Earth. Firefly was exactly that, and it was excellent. But it’s a little strange to write it as a Christian novel and not even deal with the issue of God telling Adam that he was being given the Earth to steward and care for, without any indication that it would be ok to go other places and care for things not given to us. If the reason for going out is because of a failure to steward the Earth properly, that's even worse. Don't take care of what God lets you manage for him, and then go hang out somewhere else instead once his planet is no longer inhabitable. But even without that, there seems to be a serious question that Christian science fiction of this sort ought to address. Maybe there's a good way to do this without avoiding it the way Lewis did, but I'd be curious to hear what that would be.

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