In 1991 a short story was published in OMNI Magazine entitled, They’re Made Out of Meat by Terry Bisson. In it, two members of a highly advanced extraterrestrial civilization are having a conversation about what to do with us humans on Earth. It’s clear from the onset that they had been studying us for some time, but they quickly determine that we are not worth any additional analysis because of our primitive nature. More specifically – the fact that we are made entirely of meat. They find it odd, and rather shocking that meat can be sentient, that meat can think. The story wraps up with the aliens deciding to erase the records about us and mark our entire sector of the solar system as ‘unoccupied’. Cruel, they both agree, but necessary because like one of them says, “…who wants to meet meat anyway?”
It’s a great story and a funny description of us, and I can certainly imagine how advanced beings could come to that kind of a conclusion. Perhaps we are the minority in the universe, life’s dim-witted cousin? Perhaps most other ‘intelligences’ out there have brain mechanisms that aren’t made out of carbon-to-carbon organic molecules, or meat.
Anyway, it’s a great segue into a Biblical topic, specifically the flesh! It’s been over fifteen years since I read this story for the first time, and after reading it again recently I can’t help but to see parallels between Bisson’s use of the fictional flesh (meat) as a hinderance to our advancement in the universe and our real flesh being a hinderance to our advancement to the Kingdom of God.
In the story humans are a primitive life form and I don’t blame the aliens for not wanting to reveal themselves to us. From their perspective we’re beneath them, and probably beneath all other life forms in the universe. But in reality – we really are a vile race of creatures with a severe propensity for evil all the time – that’s not fiction, that’s an accurate description of who we are. Read any newspaper from any town, or just scroll through your favorite news site, then come back and tell me how GOOD humans are.
But unlike the snooty aliens in this story, God has not given up on us. He has not rendered our sector of His creation ‘unoccupied’! In fact, He invaded our realm once before and made a provision for us to advance in His kingdom, i.e. the death of Jesús on the cross. And, God will invade again, but this time as as C.S. Lewis states in Mere Christianity…
God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realise what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else – something it never entered your head to conceive – comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last for ever. We must take it or leave it.C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Read the story here first, then watch video below.
Copyright Podunk Press 2020