Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Last Judgement as seen in The Chronicles of Narnia

Yesterday, we took a brief look at a passage in CS Lewis' great Chronicles of Narnia series, one in which the author predicted perfectly the coming "dictatorship of relativism" and the necessary enslavement that would follow. Another passage from the same volume in the series, is well worth reflecting on after the sober thoughts of yesterday and that is what I'd like to turn our attention to today. While the Ape and his cronies, the Calormenes, seemed to have won the day by convincing the poor Narnians to accept their relativistic creed their end is ultimately doomed by the existence of the real Aslan (the real God). As much as the forces of the anti-Aslan seek to use him and his image to dominate his people, as much as they seek to push a perverse understanding of relationship with him on them - Aslan finally uses them to bring about his will. It is a classic case of God bringing good even out of evil. Here, in The Last Battle, the good brought about is the ultimate good of all Creation as he calls each and every creature home, to meet him face to face.

The creatures came rushing on, their eyes brighter and brighter as they drew nearer and nearer to the standing Stars. But as they came right up to Aslan one or other of two things happened to each of them. They all looked straight in his face; I don't think they had any choice about that. And when some looked, the expression of their faces changed terribly - it was fear and hatred... And all the creatures who looked at Aslan in that way swerved to their right, his left, and disappeared into his huge black shadow... I don't know what became of them. But the others looked in the face of Aslan and loved him, though some of them were very frightened at the same time. And all of these came in at the Door, on Aslan's right. (Ch 14)

Those on left are not heard from again, although we may have some hints of their ultimate fate when we see the Dwarfs who, having been taken in by the Ape, have decided to be too clever to ever fall for any such nonsense again. They too come face to face with Aslan, but they can't recognize his presence. He gives them food and drink to feat upon, at the request of our heroes, and lays them in a breathtaking land. The dwarfs, however, can't see the beautiful blue sky, smell the fragrant flowers, or even taste the mean given them in this grand land, they can only "see" the inside of the small stable through whose door they entered Aslan's country. Aslan even roars, but they respond only with
"Hear that? That's the gang at the other endow the Stable. Trying to frighten us. They do it with a machine of some kind. Don't take any notice. They won't take us in again!"
Our heroes are distraught over the self-imposed fate of the Dwarfs (who weren't really evil like the Ape and the Calormenes) and beg Aslan to help them, but Aslan explains,
"They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning over belief. Their prison is only in their minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out." (Chapter 17)

 It is then that we are, with the crowd of creatures who ventured towards the right, bidden to travel "further up and further in" leaving behind a now cold, lifeless, indeed dead Narnia. As the group travels deeper and deeper into "Aslan's country" they come to see their lost friends - those who have passed into Aslan's Country ahead of them - from both Narnia and, surprisingly, England. In amazement they stare at the country side around them seeing what seems to be Narnian landmarks, but somehow they are more Narnian than Narnia ever could be. Digory, who witnessed the birth of Narnia in The Magician's Nephew, explains,
"that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. it was only a shadow or a copy of something real in Aslan's real world. You need not mourn over Narnia... All of the old Narnia that mattered, all of the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream." His voice stirred everyone like a trumpet when he spoke these words: but when he added under his breath "It's all in Plato, all in Plato: bless me, what do they teach them at these schools!" the older one's laughed.
And indeed it is "all in Plato" and the Book of Revelation.

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