Friday, December 11, 2009

Reflection. written December 3, 2009, 4:30pm. Two weeks, 5 days. Share

I am reminded of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which CS Lewis was unashamed to call allegory...well if it was good enough for St Gregory of Nyssa, why not CS Lewis? It is clear who Aslan represents...he is the Christ figure in the story.

What was never clear to me until recently--but let me backtrack.

What struck me, when saying goodbye to Nelson in the flesh, was how like a statue he looked and felt. It was still my Nelson, only turned to stne. I'd never had such a reaction to a dead person before. They had always looked different to me from their live selves, sometimes enough as to seem like another person...or like a wax figure. Not so with my Nelson. Maybe because I'd memorized every line and pore of his face and his hands. I'd caressed that same face a thousand times. For the first time it did not relax at my touch, nor did he get that little smile that he would get...turned to stone. He was familiar to me, so even dead, he still looked like himself. And the makeup was an obscenity. (I could just picture him sputtering, "I'm a man! I don't wear makeup!")

It was still my Nelson, only turned to stone. His face still looked like his face, still felt like his face. The shape of it, all the pores, all its character, they were all the same...Still my Nelson, only turned to stone.

Back to CS Lewis. Lewis fought in the First World War, and grew up in an age without penicillin. He must have seen a lot of people he loved die. I'm sure they didn't use makeup on the dead then they would have looked like white marble-like statues.

So back to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. What is the first thing Aslan does after he rises from the dead, breaking the stone table? With "Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time"--I always loved that wording--which overruled the "Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time" that he had submitted to voluntarily, that had put him there.) What is the first thing Aslan (Christ) does after rising from the dead? He storms the White Witch's castle. What has the White Witch been doing throughout the book? She's been zapping people with her wand, turning people into stone, and using them to decorate her castle. Into statues. Statues, made of stone, cold, unfeeling, unmoving, resembling who they had been but unresponsive...stone statues.

Again, the first thing Aslan does after rising from the dead is storm the White Witch's castle, which he does effortlessly. Immediately, once inside, he goes from statue to statue, breathing on them and bringing them back to life.

The White Witch's castle, clearly, is Hades (Hell/Death). The statues are the dead, whom Aslan (Christ)breathes on and brings back to life. It is Christ storming Hades, destroying death by his death...Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs, bestowing life...

Funny how I never caught that metaphor before...I must have read that book a thousand times as a child and never picked up on it.


  1. It is a wonderful story! And yes, it is true that Christ will bring all of those stones back to life.

    I wonder if there is a parallel to when Jesus said that if the Pharisees didn't praise him, He could raise up stones that would - stones being those he declared victory to when He descended to Hades? (don't have my Bible right here so not sure of the exact reference)

  2. You're referring to the Palm Sunday passage in Luke (Google is my Bible verse finding friend: seminarian's trick.) Luke 19:40. After the disciples are praising him and the Pharisees rebuke him for it, Christ says, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out." (NKJV)

    (Also, is my buddy.)