In C. S. Lewis’ imaginative account of a visit to Venus, the Lady, a green version of Eve, is tempted by a Satanic force but does not yield. Describing a planet where eating its delectable fruit not only satisfies hunger but gives inexpressible pleasure, boundless energy, and elevated understanding, Lewis also explains the inscrutable. The battle between good and evil, a constant on the Silent Planet (Earth) is unknown (as is death) on the young planet, Perelandra/Venus. Innocence: never having to say you’re sorry; always interacting lovingly with others, both seen and unseen, animal, god, human (or a combination thereof) makes Perelandra the paradise we lost with one bite of the apple. And Lewis gives a logical reason for God to make the fruit off limits (analogous to the Fixed Land in Perelandra–also off limits for an overnight stay). In this my favorite of Lewis’ fiction, he seems to suggest that if we could fully comprehend the rewards of obedience, we would have no will or even word for disobedience.
I am amazed, humbled, and inspired by the way Lewis’ decodes Genesis theology through playful, yet profound storytelling that swings between enchantment and horror. In story form, it is easily embraced; from a pulpit, more often erased. If you hope to communicate difficult concepts, try embedding them in a tale. Or do what Lewis did and borrow ideas from mythology and the Bible and weave them into great science fiction.