In the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis creates a fantastic Secondary World for readers to enter. Its magical tales of adventure has had children and adults alike captivated for decades. In this paper, I will be exploring the worldview of Narnia, the nature of that world and how the actions of few individuals affect the well being of the larger population. I will also be explaining similarities between events that happen in Narnia and events recorded in the Bible. We will first explore the god Lewis created to rule over Narnia.
Many fantasy stories characterise a king or a higher power that governs or rules their world. Aslan the Lion is the god and creator of Narnia. In the Magician’s Nephew, Polly and Digory witness Aslan singing Narnia to life. They watch him sing the stars into being, forming animals out of the land and giving them breath to speak. From a Christian perspective, this is a great allusion to God creating our heavens and earth. In Genesis 1:1, the Bible records that God spoke creation into being. Aslan demonstrates fatherly qualities and is the protector of Narnia and its subjects.
In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aslan gives himself up as a sacrifice to White Witch (Witch), in place of the boy, Edmund. Aslan later rises back to life, due to what is known as a Deeper Magic that Witch did not know about. Aslan quotes this Deeper Magic in Chapter 15, page 148, “When a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.” This Deeper Magic goes back to the dawn before time and therefore only the Creator would know this. Aslan’s death and resurrection parallels Jesus’ death for our sins on the cross and rising again (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Aslan has another characteristic like God in that he is personal. The main characters that we meet in the books have, at some point, a meaningful conversation with Aslan that changes his or her perspective about life in order to change and mature their character. God is personal and values relationships. However, God has boundaries and principles that govern our world and preserves life.
There are laws in Narnia that operate and are required to be obeyed. What makes Narnia special is that they have magic laws as well as natural laws to govern their world. One of these magic laws we see carried out is in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (LWW). White Witch makes these claims in Chapter 13 p. 128: “You know that every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have a right to a kill” and “ ... unless I have blood as the Law says all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fire and water.” The traitor the Witch is talking about is Edmund, because although he has been rescued, he hasn’t been released from the Witch’s claim on his blood. Aslan trades himself in Edmund’s place and the Witch agrees to it, thinking Aslan a fool, however, she is oblivious to the Deeper Magic. The Witch having a claim on traitor’s blood is, I believe, symbolic of Satan having a claim on the sinners of our world to bring with him to hell. In the Magician’s Nephew when Aslan first created Narnia, there was no blemish and all of His creation was good, just like in Genesis Chapter 1, when God created the heavens and the earth. Tragically, only five hours after its creation, evil entered into Narnia from an unwelcome source.
The cause of evil and suffering in Narnia is the result of one person, the Witch, successfully influencing others who yielded to her power and control. The Witch is a sorceress, a terror, merciless, greedy for power, and only interested in personal gain (The Magician’s Nephew).
Evil can only triumph when people make the choice to yield to temptation. Edmund succumbs to the temptation of Turkish Delight and promises of power from Witch. He allows himself to make the wrong decision and joins forces with evil (p. 38, L.W.W.). The Witch has knowledge of prophecies and also the laws of Aslan. Her knowledge is demonstrated by her contempt of Aslan’s laws by consuming the Apple that would give her immortality (p. 149, The Magician’s Nephew). She tries to tempt Digory into eating an apple by planting doubt in his mind about Aslan. This action echoes the serpent deceiving Eve and planting the seed of doubt, “Did God really say?” By disobeying Aslan and eating the Apple, Digory would have come under the deception of the Witch and be under the dominion of evil and darkness. This event is symbolical of Genesis 3 in the Garden of Eden when Satan tempts Eve with the fruit from the tree of Good and Evil. Witch’s knowledge is incomplete because she lacks understanding of the past which affects the future. Her knowledge is limited and she is not all knowing as this trait belongs truly to the One who created all things.
History serves as a lesson for us to learn from the past. However, that past may involve other realities, such as the pools described in the Wood between Worlds. This is an allegory of the reality that there is a spiritual world and not just a physical world. In order to have a complete picture of the way laws and principles function, one needs to understand the relationship between the two worlds. The Witch’s world represents death, decay and darkness (p. 60, The Magician’s Nephew). If the Witch was aware that history involves a sequence of events she would have discovered a deeper secret than the law that decrees, “Every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have a right to a kill” (p. 128, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe). Genesis Chapter 3 states that while Satan will bruise the heel of Christ, Christ will crush his head. Like the Witch, Satan thought he had won the ultimate battle against the Creator. However, the deeper secret that both Satan and Witch were not aware of was the knowledge that existed before creation. When Jesus died on the cross (1 Peter 2:24) Satan thought he had defeated the Son of God. What he didn’t know was the eternal truth that, even from the beginning of the foundation of the world, the Creator knew that the Lamb would be slain (Revelation 13:8 and 1 Peter 18:1-20). The deeper magic, so to speak, was the principle that that the innocent (Jesus / Aslan) would die for the guilty (all of us including Edmund) and that innocent, the only One righteous person, would bring forgiveness to the world and be exalted through resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In conclusion, Narnia parallels the truth that creation is ordered, has a sequence of events and is governed by spiritual laws that can only be known if they are revealed by the Creator. When those spiritual laws are violated, evil and suffering comes and only the love and grace of the Creator who has the power to redeem and restore all things as new. No person can make their own laws or escape the judgement of disobeying God, and this is the choice they must make: To choose to obey the laws of the Creator or to disobey the laws and live in evil and the darkness of sin.
A fairly simple written essay for school :) The four questions I had to cover was: 1) What is the god of Narnia like 2) What is the nature of the Narnian world 3) What is the cause of evil and suffering 4) What is the meaning of history.