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Lion, Witch, Wardrobe, and Gospel: Narnia as Christian Allegory
The Chronicles of Narnia, a seven-volume saga for children by CS Lewis, shows a world that is parallel to our own, filled by men and women, dwarves and talking animals, giants and merpeople, centaurs and fauns, and ruled by a kind but awesomely ferocious and gigantic lion named Aslan. Lewis, who died on the same day as JFK, November 22, 1963, combined the three passions of his life – classical mythology, medieval lore, and Christian-based philosophy – to create in Narnia the microcosm of our own character struggles for our own. the faces of the world.
The characters and plot
Along with Aslan himself, the heroes of the Narnia books are the four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Taken from their London home to avoid Nazi bombs, they move in with a high school professor in his mansion in the country.
While playing hide-and-seek, Lucy, the youngest at age 8, hides in an old wardrobe full of racks of clothes. Stepping back and forth to escape detection, he pushed his way across the robes, expecting to crash into the back of the robe at any moment. Lucy felt instead the branches of trees without green, she heard the crunch of snow at her feet, and saw in the distance the glow of a candlestick like those she had seen many times back in London.
This marks the beginning of the many adventures of the four brothers in Narnia. Each of the books, although linked to the others, can also stand alone. Finally we learned where the lamppost came from and how the wardrobe became the portal. We also learn more about Aslan, what he needs to be his friend, and who his enemies are.
For those who know to look for it, Lewis has filled Narnia, not only with interesting characters, great scenery, and funny action, but also with a Christian example. Aslan himself represents Jesus Christ, “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 7:14). The Pevensie children eventually became so much at home in Narnia that they saw it as their homeland and this world as a place where they were strangers. Lewis, in his writings on Christian apologetics, describes the spiritual world as being comparable to the physical, having the quality of being, not shadowy and insignificant as compared to the physical, but more real, more color, and very, very alive.
As Paul explains,
… many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Destruction is their portion, and their god is their belly, and their glory is in their shame. Their minds are on worldly things. But there is a city in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ….. — Philippians 3:18-20 (see also Hebrews 11:13-16).
The Disney film
The first book of seven, Leo, Economics and Clothing, now the subject of a major motion picture produced by Walt Disney Pictures & Walden Media and directed by Andrew Adamson. At the end of the story is a good sacrifice, Lewis pictures the death of Christ.
If you go to the movie, watch out for the breaking of the Stone Table, which symbolizes how Christ’s death and resurrection fulfilled the end of the Mosaic Law by fulfilling your requirements for blood atonement. Note also the role played by Susan and Lucy in witnessing the death and resurrection of Aslan, according to the historical role of women as mourners at the death and burial of Jesus and as the first witnesses of His resurrection.
The professor helps Peter and Susan sort through how to get Lucy’s testimony about Narnia: if it is not false and not crazy, then understandably, you must tell the truth. This corresponds to the testimony that Jesus gave about His identity, and the subsequent testimony about Him—what Lewis elsewhere describes as the dilemma about Jesus: Is He the Lord, a Liar, or a Fool?
Another important connection is this: Aslan’s loyal followers played a vital role in the war against the White Witch. As in our own spiritual warfare, Christ assures the final victory, but He calls His followers to be personally involved in the fight. For scriptures related to that conflict, see Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 1 Timothy 6:12; and 2 Timothy 4:7).
There are plans for six more films to follow the first one, in which the rest of the Narnia story unfolds. If they are faithful to the books and as well conceived and produced as this one is, all of us diehard Lewis fans welcome them as an introduction of Narnia to the jaded world. We hope that viewers will understand and appreciate the features as they make the surface story. The goal is not only to know about Aslan and Narnia, but to become friends and subjects and live in His kingdom forever.
Want to go deeper?
You can search for books that go into more detail on the myth of Narnia, including these three: “The Lion, the Witch, and the Allegory,” “The Wardrobe as Christian Metaphor,” and “The Allegory Is True: The Origins of the Chronicles of Narnia.”
If you want to buy and read your own copy of The Chronicles of Narnia, they are available in a variety of editions, from a one-volume edition in softcover to a seven-volume box set in either hardback or softcover. It’s still available Illustrated Movie Companion Official for Leo, Economics and Clothingincludes photos from the film and interviews of the director and cast members, as well as EJ Kirk’s Beyond the Cloak: The Practical Guide to Narnia. (My blog provides links to all of these, allowing you to access substantial discounts, from 24% to 33% off retail prices.)
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