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

Advertisements

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 Seven – The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Chapter Seven is titled: A Day With The Beavers. In this chapter we see further development towards Edmund’s betrayal, we begin to get to know more characters in Narnia, and we hear mention of Aslan.

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

C.S. Lewis’ Writing

Their apparent guide, the robin, has flown away. The children are lost in an uncharted forest, within the reach of enemies. A bush rustles and a shadowed figure of an unknown creature is seen flitting between bush and tree. CS Lewis builds the tension and steadily adds details to the encounter, before revealing the creature is a beaver by Peter saying

“…it’s a beaver. I saw the tail.”

We all breathe a sigh of relief! Lewis then captures childish innocence in Lucy and Susan’s reactions of

“I think it’s a nice beaver.”

and

“I feel I want some dinner”

respectively. They consider only the outward appearance and their personal feelings. Even Peter their leader misses the possibility that there may be more than one creature lurking nearby. Nevertheless, this beaver is fondly referred to as Mr. Beaver by the children once they feel safer around him.

Edmund is held apart from the other children in CS Lewis’ writing. This is shown by his vastly different reaction to the mention of Aslan’s name. It is one of horror, for he stands by the Witch’s regime. It is further displayed by only him not trusting Mr. Beaver and his longing look between the two hills – towards the White Witch’s palace.

“…Edmund could see two small hills, and he was almost sure they were the two hills which the White Witch had pointed out to him…”

The final piece of CS Lewis’ writing (and the final point of this short essay) that I wish to draw attention to is his creation of the Beavers as a very comfortable couple. The beavers’ house is given to us in even more detail than Mr. Tumnus’ is earlier in the book, and the characters are given a lot more time to show themselves to us. We see Mr. Beaver’s dam that is praised out of courtesy by Susan:

“What a lovely dam!”

To which Mr. Beaver can’t help but reply in feigned modesty:

“Merely a trifle!”

By this we can clearly see that Mr. Beaver is a homely chap. Mrs. Beaver sows and cooks very well, and Mr. Beaver fishes and drinks a little beer. What a gentle couple, and so very welcoming. For the first time that the children are in Narnia I feel they are in safe hands.

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 Davies