So I’m teaching this honors undergrad class on C.S. Lewis and the Problem of Evil here at Baylor. Today we covered parts of “Animal Pain” from _The Problem of Pain_. I must say that well prior to reading Rowe, I was very struck with the problem of animal pain. I regard it as in certain ways much more troubling than the problem of human pain. In fact, it constitutes–and I’m probably not alone here, though at one time it was rare to find anyone who even talked about it–one of the two objections to theism which have any real weight with me, and it bears much, much weight.
In the chapter, Lewis suggests that…
…the higher animals–the ones with souls much more like our own–might be resurrected, especially when part of a human “familia”. He supposes that part of humans mission on Earth was/is to nurture in animals their higher selves. He notes this actually happens in well-ordered households. In one poignant line he says
“If the good sheepdog seems ‘almost human’ then it is because the good shepherd has made him so.”
He also characterizes the fall of man as a fall from human nature back into the bestial nature. Likewise, he suggests that animal predatory behavior is a fall from true animal nature back into the vegetative nature. This sets up two analogies.
Just as humans will be restored to their true human nature–which entails, I take it, some AMAZING differences with fallen man–so animals will be restored to their true animal nature–which we should likewise expect to be far different from the current state of animals.
Just as humans will be deified (in the Eastern Orthodox sense) animals will be “humanified”.
Now we can also credit Lewis with giving us a picture of the incredibleness of restored and deified human nature. He has a poem about an Adamic creature “flying” his planet as part of his dominion, in his creation myth in in the chapter “The Fall of Man” in _The Problem of Pain_ he suggests that an unfallen Adamite would have control over his digestion like we have over breathing, the Gospel’s make probable that he had powers like some kind of Superman, etc.
But we should expect at least as radical a transformation of resurrected animal nature. And note that there is, in principle, no limitation to the “humanization” process Lewis notes takes place with domesticated animals (think of the etymology there, Lewis says that we get the closest glimpse of true animal nature in domesticated animals, wild animals are like the animals in Naria that lost the ability to talk).
And since humans evolved from animals, there’s no reason that any animal–or even living creature–couldn’t be evolved into a person (not a human, exactly, but a person in the classical sense, a rational substance, though very human in being a rational animal (it is an accident of history that there is only one rational animal, the man)).
In short, it might be that one day *every* animal is a person. Recall one of the more popular of the Naria books, _The Horse and His Boy_ in which a Narnian horse Bree and a boy Shasta make their way out of the land of the Calormenes. The horse was a horse. The horse was a person. That is, for all we know–and there might even be hints that it’s true beyond “potuit, decuit, ergo fecit”–it might be that one day *every* animal is a Narnian animal.
Most of the work of this theodicy is not stated, of course, but it does hold out promise that some theodicies and defenses used for humans can be extended to the animal kingdom, something which is often assumed to be impossible. As usual, Lewis takes us further up and farther in.