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... her own innocent nature. Edmund, however, is seen to fall prey to temptation because of his greed for the chocolate that the Witch gives him; chocolate is a timeless metaphor for the temptations of the flesh that lead us away from our good judgment. Singleton also points out that the role of the children as followers of Aslan is indicative of the manner in which Christ expects his people to aid him in the good fight against evil and oppression: Another significant parallel is this: Aslan's loyal followers play a significant role in the battle against the White Witch. Like our own spiritual warfare, Christ ensures the final victory, but calls on His followers to engage personally in the fight. For passages relevant 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). (Singleton, Section 3, paragraph 4) As seen above, Singleton quotes many references from the Bible as illustrations of the fact that Jesus wants his followers to be warriors in his Christian army, and aid him in the battle of good versus evil.
Ever since the Crusades, the idea has been popular that religion is not really a calm and peaceful thing when it comes to the practicalities of existence; it is, instead, a war, a desperate and fierce fight to protect oneself and what one loves from the onslaught of evil forces. Lewis well depicts this theory in his books, where the landscape of Narnia becomes the battleground on which the struggle to save humanity will work itself out grandly. Aslan himself is undoubtedly a Christ-figure. His very name elicits an unexplained response in the children. This may be seen as similar to the manner in which Christians are said to experience peace from saying the name of Christ. Also, repetitive chanting is an accepted and recommended method of prayer in most religions, not just Christianity.
At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer. (p. 69) Significantly, Lewis describes each childs reaction differently, according to the things that are dearest to each of them. Lewis seems to be suggesting that religion is not the same for everyone.
It is not like a prescriptive drug which ahs to be swallowed unquestioningly by everybody, but rather like a timeless panacea which works for everyone in its own way, and which can appeal to everyone no matter what their inclinations or personalities are. Significantly, Edmund is the only one who is frightened to hear the name of Aslan. Presumably, this is because he has been with the White Witch and eaten her chocolate. He is a sinner, and is therefore afraid and guilty when he hears the name of Aslan, even though, like the other, he does not yet know who Aslan is or what role he is going to play in their lives. Not only does Edmund fear the name of Aslan, he also reprises his faithfulness towards the Witch and seeks to warn her about Aslan.
In this he is almost the Judas Iscariot of the group, although, of course, he does not really know Aslan. But in his heart he knows that he is sinning. This relates to the idea in Christian mythology that Christ strikes terror into the hearts of those who work against him and pledge their allegiance to the forces of darkness. The crux of the allegory comes when Aslan decides to give up his life for Edmunds.
Like Christ, who dies so that the sins of the world are paid for, Aslan knows that the only way to save Edmund from the Witch is to give himself up for the sake of the child: "Have you forgotten the Deep Magic?" asked the Witch. "Let us say I have forgotten it, " answered Aslan gravely. "Tell us of this Deep Magic. "Tell you?" said the Witch, her voice growing suddenly shriller. "Tell you what is written on that very Table of Stone which stands beside us? Tell you what is written in letters deep as a spear is long on the fire-stones on the Secret Hill? Tell you what is engraved on the scepter of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea? You at least know the Magic which the Emperor put into Narnia at the very beginning. You know that every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have a right to kill... And so that human creature is mine.
His life is forfeit to me. His blood is my property... unless I have blood as the Law says all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fire and water. "It is very true, " said Aslan, "I do not deny it. " (146 - 7) The Stone Table is reminiscent here of the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed, which clearly reveal a truth that is shared by both the forces of good and evil: that when a sin is committed, the sinner must pay for it with his life. Like Christ, Aslan does not question the law that seeks to destroy him, but rather accepts it solemnly with the recognition that if someone must die for a sin, then it should be his sacrifice to make, so that the sin itself is paid for, but the sinner is saved because of the benevolence and courage of a savior who is willing to die for him, and who will not refute the laws because he knows that he is above them; his own laws are founded on love and grace, and not on the need for execution. The scene after Aslan's death is a clear parallel to the aftermath of the crucifixion of Christ. Like the women who mourned Christs death (Mary Magdalene and others), Susan and Lucy bear vigil at Aslan's dead body.
Also, the Stone Table is clearly representative of the stone tomb in which Christs body lay, and which rolled aside to reveal that he was alive: There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.  "But what does it all mean?" asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer. "It means, " said Aslan, "that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that 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 backward. " (p. 169) When Aslan speaks of the origins of Time, he recalls the idea of in the beginning was the word, that starts the book of Genesis.
The subtext of this fictionalizing of Biblical events also suggests the scientific theory of the Big Bang, which seeks to explain how the universe originated. The creation theory has been presented as an alternative to the idea of evolution by theologians, and the debates are many about whether the world evolved on its own, or if it was created by a being with superior intelligence. Interestingly, Armand Nicholi also refers to the origins of time in his remarks on theological explanations for the origin of the universe: Norman Ramsey, a professor of particle physics at Harvard, won the 1989 Nobel Prize in physics. He told me recently that even in his field, scientists have become interested in the question of whether or not there is intelligence beyond the universe. He said this is a rather recent area of interest for them and that it has been provoked primarily by the acceptance of the Big Bang theory. I replied that I didn't quite understand the relationship.
He said, "Well, when the universe had no beginning, it was simply always there. One didn't have to be concerned about what came before. But once one accepts the idea that the universe had a specific starting point, one has to think about what occurred before. So physicists now are thinking about questions only theologians and philosophers thought about in the past. " (Nicholi, Section 3, paragraph 1) The above theory suggests that somewhere, science and religion have to come to a common agreement about what really happened at the start of the universe.
Whether or not we accept it, there is only one truth. While we search for the truth, we come up with different theories to explain what really might have happened. But perhaps science and religion are only two side of the same coin. Books like the Narnia tales show us that literature is the perfect forum to deal with issues that are of social and philosophical significance, because the medium of fiction opens up the possibilities that can be conceived of only through the imagination. Like Christian faith, it is the possibilities provided by a leap of the imagination that allows us to conceive of stories and fictions. Lewis, through his book, seems to suggest that we need to re imagine ourselves and our responses to our world in order to know how to deal with the problems that have existed since the beginning of time we need to look beyond the beginning of time and see the absolute truths that exist, that will never change.
People come and go, but these truths are eternal and unchanging. All we need to do, writers like Lewis and Tolkien suggest, is to open ourselves to alternative replies that are set not in parallel worlds, but in this world, a world enlightened by understanding. Even if one does not agree with theological solutions to the nature of human existence, one may believe that the way to truth is through belief; belief that as Gandalf says to Frodo in The Lord of the Rings there is a good in the world, and that it is worth fighting for. Works Cited Lewis, C. S.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. New York: HarperCollins, 1978. First published 1950. Nicholi, Armand. When Worldviews Collide: C. S.
Lewis and Sigmund Freud. Leadership U. 1995. Retrieved 26 March 2006 from < web > Singleton, Steve. Lion, Witch, Wardrobe, and Gospel: Narnia as Christian Allegory. EzineArticles. Com. 2006.
Retrieved 26 March 2006 from < web >
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