If it seems that demands for “equality” lie at the heart of most of the troubles now facing our country, well, they do. Equality is the ideal demand from those whose goal is our destruction because it cannot be met, no matter how hard we may try. If there is one thing people are not it is equal. We differ in so many ways that only iron tyranny, like that of Stalin, can create even an appearance of equality. And in Stalin’s Soviet Union, some comrades were still more equal than others. Stalin did not go hungry because millions of Ukrainians were starving.
It should not surprise Christians that those who make war on us often do so in the name of “equality”, because a demand for equality was the original original sin. Revelation 12, verses 7-9, outline that sin:
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.
And prevailed not; neither was their place found more in heaven.
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Church tradition says the reason for war in heaven was Satan’s demand for equality with God. That tradition is supported by one of Satan’s temptations of Christ, where he offers Christ all the kingdoms of the world if he will bow down and worship him. Like today’s cultural Marxists, Satan demands equality but really seeks to be top dog (or, since we are speaking of the Devil, top cat).
The traditional Christian view rejects equality, defined now as interchangeability. C.S. Lewis describes and defends that older view in his last book, The Discarded Image. It is a defense of the pre-Copernican understanding of the Cosmos, where the earth was at the center and all else revolved around it. Lewis knew that was not physically true, but he was talking about more than science. The Middle Ages believed not only that the sun revolved around the earth, but that every person and every thing had an assigned place and function, unique to itself. It or he had within a gentle force, which Lewis called “kindly inclining”, that would, if allowed by their will, lead them to that place and purpose. For the spheres to be in harmony, everyone and everything had to be in his or its intended place, doing what God wanted them to do.
Nothing could be further from equality. We are equal recipients of God’s love and of His hope for our salvation, but in no other ways. No one else will have, in time or place, our role and purpose in the universe.
Since Lewis wrote, our understanding of the Cosmos has grown and changed. We now have reason to think there are many earth-like planets, billions possibly. We do not yet know, but at least some of those worlds probably have intelligent life, life modeled as we are on God, our and their Creator (the old name for the “Big Bang” is “the Creation”).
The relationship between science and Christian theology is also changing. Mathematics and science have, in recent years, identified multiple dimensions we do not perceive and suggested there may be many parallel universes, which may not have the same laws of physics as our universe. Astrophysicists have discovered that most of the matter in the universe cannot be detected through the five senses; now called “dark matter”, earlier centuries knew it as phlogiston. Together, these findings may (I stress may) give us some insight into the world we enter through death. As the late Jeffery Hart wrote, when the scientists finally reach the pinnacle of their Mount Parnassus, they may find the theologians already there.
Lewis gives us more to think about in this regard in his three science/theology novels, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. Set within our solar system, the three books have other planets inhabited by intelligent life but earth the only place where that creature, man, fell. That fall, the second original sin, occurred because Satan was cast into earth after his rebellion. Had earth held no Satan, no one would have tempted Eve.
If we expand Lewis’s thesis to our entire universe, there is still only one God and one Satan, therefore only one planet into which Satan was cast, one planet where the creation modeled on God fell and one planet where the Second Person of the Trinity became incarnate and died to redeem His fallen creatures. In that sense, the pre-Copernican model of the universe may still be valid; because of those events, earth may be the spiritual center of the universe even though it is not so physically. Lewis’s defense of the Medieval world view is thus justified and the discarded image born anew.
And evil and sin came into the world because of a demand for equality. Should it surprise us that Satan is demanding it still?