Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Introduction to the Chronicles of Narnia

Despite the obvious connections with the biblical creation and redemption accounts, CS Lewis did not seek to create a solid allegory.  His purpose, as with his other works of fiction, is to imagine how God would create and redeem a world much different than our own.  In the Chronicles of Narnia, this is done subtly, never disturbing the fantasy world that children are so drawn to.  As I first picked up these books and devoured them at age 8 or 9, I would sometimes almost believe that such a world existed.  Of course, I knew in my head it didn't, but it was a delightful fantasy.  Even as a young child, I could see that the world was a place touched by evil and sorrow.  Surely, within all of us there is- or at least there has been at some point- the desire to believe that there is somewhere better.  As a Christian, I rest my life in the hope that neither this world, nor the imaginary world of Narnia is my home- my home is the place in heaven which Christ is preparing for me.  In my pre-teen and early teen years, I continued to read and re-read these books.  I still find them to be a refreshing and though-provoking read.  As CS Lewis said, "A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest."

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As I grew older, the stories of talking animals, battles, and the glorious power of Aslan still entertained me, but I found myself drawn more and more to the meaning behind the words.  I noticed the brief notes and comments that Lewis placed unobtrusively throughout the text, and realized that they had a deeper meaning that often corresponded with the lessons I was learning in my study of the Bible.  Occasionally, I noticed that some ideas seemed to oppose biblical principles.  So, although I could not agree with 100% of what Lewis said, I was learning important lessons.  I knew that I should learn from and enjoy what I read, but that I must examine it by what I knew God said was true.  I admire CS Lewis for his skill at writing, apologetics, and rhetoric, but I have realized that no one person is entirely worthy of trust or emulation besides Christ.  That disclaimer and warning aside, I will, in my next post, embark on my purpose of unearthing an important lesson on battling evil and temptation that can be found in The Magician's Nephew.

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