A Whole New World

A thought occurred to me the other day, during the middle of listening to a sermon (as thoughts often do).  Our pastor was preaching on Easter evening, concentrating on the presence of angels at Christ’s empty tomb, and he took some time to discuss what angels actually are, what they do, and what we know about them from the Bible.

He mentioned the story of Jacob’s ladder (Genesis 28:10-22), and how – contrary to how we might have worded it – the angels were “ascending and descending” to and from Heaven.  If you were describing that scene, you would probably say they were “descending” first, right?  But God chose to emphasis their ascension.  Our pastor explained that this was to show us that angels are often on Earth.  It’s not just a place they visit from time to time for special events or mission; there are angels here all the time.

The thought of angels being all around us, invisible, made me hearken back to C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy.  He is much bolder than I, and dares to actually portray angels (called eldila in the story), speculating on what they might physically be like.

“The swiftest thing that that touches our senses is light, we only see slower things by it, so that for us light is on the edge—the last thing we know before things become to swift for us. But the body of an eldil is a movement swift as light; you may say its body is made of light, but not of that which is light for the eldil. His “light” is a swifter movement which for us is nothing at all: and what we call light is for him a thing like water, a visible thing, a thing he can touch and bathe in—even a dark thing when not illumined by the swifter. And what we call firm things—flesh and earth—seem to him thinner, and harder to see, than our light, and more like clouds and nearly nothing. To us the eldil is a thin half-real body that can go through walls and rocks: to himself he goes through them because he is solid and firm and they are like a cloud.” – C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

Thinking of that put me in a speculative frame of mind, of course…other worlds and all that…  And then our pastor moved on to talk about how angels are thought to minister to believers during death.

I had the sudden, vivid visual of what I imagined that must be like – the world fading from a dying Christian’s eyes, stripping away to reveal a whole other world beyond, and lightning-bright angels bending down to raise them up to heaven.

And I exclaimed to myself, “That’s right!  Heaven is ‘another world’, after all.  So, at the end of my life I will get to go to another world!  Whaaaaaaat!  I can’t wait to die now!!!”

Okay, so that’s not exactly how my thought process played out, but it’s pretty darn close.

For all my firm belief in Heaven, and all my delighted imaginings of, “What if God created another world, and it was like this…” I had somehow failed to make the connection that, in fact, God has created at least one other world that we know of, and not only that, but – holy cow! – I get to go there someday!

I know there are far more wonderful things about going to heaven than the simple novelty of going to a new world – falling at the feet of my resurrected Lord and Savior, for starters.  But as someone who has spent many years dealing with “other” (imaginary) worlds, it was still an incredible thought.

“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis

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2 Comments

  1. Greytawnyowl

     /  May 2, 2012

    Yes! This hit me just a couple days ago as well! Actually, it even hit me as I was fleshing out an alien religion for a story. Isn’t it awesome? 🙂

    And I love C. S. Lewis’s space trilogy!

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  2. Bethany, beautiful thoughts that are exciting and true!

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