I’m taking a class on science fiction and religion (I didn’t take it because I wanted to…) and we had to read C.S. Lewis’s Space trilogy (at least that was an upside). One of the reading responses we had to write was an answer to this question: Is Tinidril human? Tinidril, of course, is the Green Lady that Ransom meets in Perelandra. Here is my response.
Is Tinidril human? That all depends on what we mean by “human.” There is a sense in which she is human and a sense in which she is not, depending on how we understand the term. In one sense, she is not human. She is obviously not the same species as us since she comes from a different planet and has no human ancestors. Her DNA fingerprint is very likely completely unique in the sense that it does not come from any human sires. Since she is a different species, she is not “human” in this sense. Perhaps she would be called a Perelandrian or something along those lines. However, there is a sense in which she can be understood as human. If we think of humans not just as our particular species, but any creature that is created by Maleldil in His image (as understood in Genesis 1); with the capability of exercising rationality, self-awareness, reason, and possesses an immaterial soul along with a material body, then she most definitely is human. Alsford describes the views of Descartes, who believed that insofar as a creature is simply a material being, “animals are nothing more than automata totally lacking in consciousness,” (10). Humans, however, are both material beings and a mind or soul. Alsford also raises some questions asked in religion and SF. What is essential to our humanness? Perhaps our relationship to God (28)? If the ability to relate to God personally is a trait of a human, then one could argue that Tinidril is more human than us, because she is in a much more free and unhindered relationship with Maleldil than any human, even Ransom. So, is Tinidril human? She certainly is not the same species as us, but if we imagine a human as a being with certain properties or capacities, then yes, she is human.