Chapter Eight – The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

Chapter Eight is titled: What Happened After Dinner. This week’s short essay on the chapter focuses almost purely on the spiritual, so do not come to read this expecting a review of CS Lewis’ writing style – it is his underlying subject matter that I am dealing with here.

Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.

We begin when Mr Beaver mentions Aslan’s name and the children have once more a wonderful feeling run through them. This parallels the longing and perfect joy a Christian feels at the mention of Christ. But again, there is one child who shivers with fear at the mention of Aslan’s name. Edmund asks a question:

“She won’t turn him into stone too?”

We understand Edmund’s question better than Mr Beaver, so we know that he did not receive a satisfactory answer to it. He is relying on the Witch (the Devil or this world) to fulfil his desires, because of this he wishes, dreams, longs for that she would destroy Aslan (Christ or God).

Shortly after this Mr Beaver reveals that he shares a similar task to we who are saved. He is to lead the children to Aslan as we are to guide people towards Christ. He is there to lead them on a set route, like us. We have the Bible to teach us each turn and the dangers we may face along the way and Mr Beaver also knows his way through the land. Are we as competent as Mr Beaver at noticing and foreseeing dangers? Do we know our God’s guidance in His word?

Both Lucy and Susan consider Aslan a man and may be excused for believing this, but it would be terrible for any to believe Christ to be a man or in any was lesser than God the Father or God the Holy Spirit. They are an equal trinity. Three in One. Here are some texts, but if a detailed explanation is needed please let me know. Proofs of the Trinity: Genesis 1 verses 2 and 26, Matthew 3 verses 16 and 17. Proofs of Christ as part of the Godhead: Matthew 16 verse 16, Revelation 1 verse 8.

What Mrs Beaver then says is this: “…if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.” It is Biblically based and contrasting to what many people have said, such as when Winston Churchill said “I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” Who could stand before Christ on judgement day and speak so brazenly to Him? No, not even one who is brave or silly.

Then Mr Beaver answers Susan’s and Lucy’s question. “‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” Christ shall be our judge. He shall point us to Heaven or to Hell and we shall have no argument to give, because He is perfect and just.

On a short side note, I fully agree with Peter’s words here: “I’m longing to see him, even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.” It shall be an indescribable moment to finally see Christ in all His glory. As the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1 verse 21 : “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” For when I die I shall be with Him in paradise. I long to be with Him.

Now. To tackle a single name that CS Lewis causes Mr Beaver to say: “Lilith.” In Jewish folklore she was Adam’s first wife. There is no Biblical basis for this argument. You can see the verses that the belief has stemmed from, but when you interpret Bible verses you have to be very careful not to end up with a confused study. People claim there are two accounts of creation. One in Genesis 1 and a second in Genesis 2. I do not wish to divert too far into Theological debate, but I will say this: The second chapter of Genesis simply gives the account of the creation of man in further detail, it is not a new or separate item.

And now we come back to the story arc, and Edmund’s thoughts are turning into actions. Here in this chapter we meet a great betrayal that shakes the whole company.

“Then during the moment of silence that followed his last remark, Lucy suddenly said: “I say – where’s Edmund?” “

A chill always greets me when I read of Edmund’s desertion of his siblings. It is as if someone I know has denounced their family unjustly and stormed off boiling with hate. I fear for him, and others like him, every time.

“…everything they wanted to say died on their lips…” It is a depressing moment when one cannot defend another’s spiritual life. Something they have done that leaves no room for ‘possible’ or ‘maybe this or maybe even that’. There is no doubt as to what they have done and where they most likely stand; against God.

Mr Beaver goes on to say how he could be sure that Edmund would betray them. As Edmund could so easily be told apart from the others we must be sure to ask ourselves: “How am I seen by others, do I give a good witness of the Christian life? Am I clearly of God’s chosen people?” We may also see it this way: look at your friends. What do they claim to be? Christians? Atheists, Buddhists, Catholics, Muslims, etc.? Compare your own, and their, lives to scripture. Consider carefully and tread lightly. Please do not run to your friends and aggressively throw Bible verses at them, that is not what I mean to encourage. I mean to encourage caution in actions around others, and careful consideration of how our friends and colleagues act. Who has influence over you? Whose life do you look to and wish to follow? Is it Christ’s? Is it the Apostle Paul’s? Read and be filled with vigour to maintain or improve your witness, and to consider others’ spiritual state.

One final point (although CS Lewis’ writing is very good and I have only touched very briefly upon it, I am afraid that these things are far far more demanding of our attention, and I am confident the author himself would agree), Lucy fears the situation they are in. “Oh, can no one help us?” wailed Lucy.” I will now change Mr Beaver’s words slightly here: only Christ. We must go to Him. In life we find ourselves in a constant deluge of things to do, temptations, tragedies, and troubles. These things do, naturally as we are sinful fallen beings eat away at our faith. They attempt to douse our spiritual flame. But we should never fear! In all times we must ask ourselves: what does God’s word say? Be assured, be at peace, be in Christ. He is ever present and guides you home to live with Him in eternal glory. Fear not.

Thank you for taking the time to read my little writings. Feedback is greatly appreciated and will be read and digested. I’ll be back with a special post on the same chapter next week. Till then:

Best wishes,
Andrew

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Chapter Seven (Aslan’s Name) – The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

What I am about to write on is a heavy subject that cannot be taken lightly. It is incredibly important and I cannot stress that enough. Here we are talking about souls and their spiritual life. So, please, bear that in mind whilst reading this and my other pieces on Narnia, because life is more than the here and now. We have eternal souls and where they stand before our Creator should be of concern to us all.

Aslan’s Clear Parallel with Christ

Aslan, throughout these books, is seen as an allegory for Christ by many – though I have been informed by a friend that Narnia was written as a supposition – and here we have an example of a clear parallel. It strikes me even more so, because CS Lewis uses (possibly in an undeliberate manner) the first half of a line from a hymn written by Caroline M. Noel, but he replaces the name Jesus with Aslan: “At the name of Aslan…” A little later we will come to the clearest connection with Christ when Aslan dies at the Stone Table and then rises from the dead in chapters fourteen and fifteen respectively.

The Children’s Reaction to His Name

 

Each child has a reaction to the name of Aslan. Each reaction shows something about that child and a different spiritual state. Firstly, Edmund is clearly a distant sinner who is far from help. His reaction is one of horror. He cannot tell what is in his future, but he knows it is something shocking. Aren’t many like that today? Many who hear Christ’s name react in anger and horror. Why? Because they fear facing God after this life is through. Their conscience speaks to them and tells them of their sin. That they are far from God and can never be kept in his presence. That is what Edmund’s feelings portray. Thankfully, as we shall discover, Aslan saves Edmund in such a grand manner – we will look at this when the chapter arrives and the parallel that it also displays.

Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous.” Peter is stirred up by the name of Aslan to fight for him. He is a soldier for Christ. At the name of Jesus many Christians are invigorated and, after previous time spent reading some of Paul’s letters and other books that express a saved person’s desire, some will immediately wish to work for Him who died for them. They will lay down their worldly play things and their bodily thoughts and turn to higher things. Paul puts it in several ways: “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” – 1 Corinthians 9 verse 27. Philippians 3 verses 8 and 9. 2 Timothy 2 verses 3 to 6. It is in 2 Timothy 2 verse 3 that we find the kind of Christian Peter portrays “…a good soldier…” A soldier who is trained and ready for the service of his King. In Peter this is taken literally, but in us it is to be taken spiritually. It is a call to arms in spiritual warfare. To fight against the world and to stand by Christ through all hardships.

The smell of something and the sound of music flow over Susan: “Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated over her.” Maybe I am incorrect that this passage proves what I shall say now, but I feel it is backed up by what occurs in The Last Battle when it is revealed that she has denied her faith and has no place in heaven set aside for her. Susan is a false convert. Susan feels a connection to faith in Aslan (Christ) via feeling something. Whether it is by incense or by the music she likes that is how she maintains her hope in salvation – which is clearly shown to be misplaced as she falls back into her worldly ways after a short stint as a believer in Aslan (Christ). What is your faith based on? What do you seek when you are low in mood? What takes up your time? How do you worship? These are questions even Christians who are old in the faith must keep asking themselves; for the temptation of our old nature is strong and the Devil is wicked in his manner.

Lucy represents the young Christian. She is full of youthful vigour towards her new found faith and is eager to begin the walk with Christ. She gets: “the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realise that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.” We all know this feeling of being free from school after what seems like such a long time that dragged on without end, but now it is over! It is finished! The green fields of joy roll out before us as the summer holidays start and we wish them to never end. That is how it feels when you first come to Christ. You are asleep one moment in the world and lie in its terrible pain, anguish, and horror, but then wake up, open your eyes, and find before you peace, forgiveness, and freedom! It is a joy like none other to find yourself in Christ. It is a joy to be able to say with King David: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” – Psalm 23 verses 1 and 2.

Thank you for taking the time to read this far. It means a lot to me in several ways to have this sort of work read. I pray that it shall be a blessing to you all.

Best wishes,

Andrew

Chapter Five – The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe Chapter Five, titled: Back On This Side Of The Wardrobe. In this short piece I write on Edmund’s cruel deceit, Peter and Susan’s paternal-like behaviour, and a point towards the author’s writing.

Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.

Poor, dear Lucy. She is so excited upon her and Edmund’s return from Narnia, and she stands aghast – unable to speak – as he denies the existence of the world he has only just stepped out of. What a terrible slope he now finds himself on! He denied clear truth, so that he might (instead of all the siblings enjoying the world together) receive pleasure by cruelly bringing tears to Lucy’s eyes. Peter is correct to admonish him for this behaviour, but perhaps not as harshly as he does. We shall see a development of his character in a later chapter to do with this specific moment, when Aslan himself is present.

Throughout this day, Peter and Susan are displaying more and more fatherly and motherly qualities towards their younger siblings. They lead, reprimand, care for, and stand by them. Specifically, in this case, they stay up quite late discussing what they should do about Lucy and her (from their view) imagined land. Finally, they agree – with Peter leading – that they should seek help from an older, and wiser man; the Professor is sought out.

The Professor is a kind, old man and when they bring their concerns and their story before him, he sits and listens patiently. He lets them finish speaking to entirely and then spends further time dwelling upon what they have said. Only then does he begin digging deeper into the problem in front of them all. He takes their concerns as highly serious things, and this is something I feel that we all can learn from. If it is worrying someone then it is no small matter, irrespective of what we ourselves feel towards the thing. So, we should take care and spend a sensible amount of time thinking on each problem placed before us. Those who need advice can learn here too; from Peter and Susan’s example. Seek advice from those who have walked longer paths than you.

During the considering of this problem concerning Lucy we come across an intelligent lesson in logic from our author, CS Lewis (in case anyone has forgotten). It focuses finally, at the end, on the logical thought of children. Children, when creating an imagined world, can come up with things incredibly quickly – having been one myself and imagined many different worlds and creatures I know – but Lewis is entirely correct in what he says, because of the depth and detail of Lucy’s tale and the time she spent away.

Now are two things which the Professor says that make me chuckle. The first I can imagine all parents or grandparents saying at some time:

“I wonder what they do teach them at these schools.”

The second is when he ends the conversation thusly:

“We might try minding our own business.”

And though I laugh at this rather humorous line (especially after the build-up it received) it does have a sounding of truth to it. Sometimes the best thing that we can do is to leave something well alone. As a Christian I would say have faith for Romans 8 verse 28 says:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Finally in the last section of the chapter, we read of Mrs Macready and her tours. This is simple, smooth writing from CS Lewis. He believingly pushes the children back into the wardrobe – as if moving them there with his author’s hand – and, as we see in Chapter Six, all of them into Narnia. Oh, Edmund, how far you shall yet fall!

Thank you for taking the time to read my little writings. Feedback is greatly appreciated and will be read and digested. I’ll be back with Chapter 6 in one or two weeks time (I can’t decide at this moment in time) when all our Pevensies enter into Narnia! Till then:

Best wishes,
Andrew Davies