"The whole Narnian story is about Christ." (C. S. Lewis, 1961)
"The things he loves Aslan for doing or saying are simply the things Jesus really did and said." (C. S. Lewis)
The allegory of the intriguing and enchanting world of Narnia is rich in symbolism. Symbolism is a great tool to imbed meaning into characters, events and stories. Author, C. S. Lewis did a masterful job of defining the Christian faith through the Chronicles of Narnia.
Aslan, meaning “lion” in the Turkish language, is the one character who appears in all seven of the Chronicles of Narnia. He is majestic; the great lion: the son of the Emperor over the sea. He is the constant guardian, protector and helper of Narnia. He watches over the children from this world who are called to Narnia's aid. Indeed it was Aslan who created Narnia by singing it into life.
The character of Aslan of Narnia is sometimes fierce yet always good. The question arises as to whether Aslan is tame. The answer is “no”. He is not tame … but he is good.
Looking deeper into
the character of Aslan we find he is symbolic of Jesus in the Christian faith.
Though loving and forgiving, Jesus is also anything but tame. He demands love
and obedience yet he is so good. He is strength to those who believe in him.
Aslan is often found to be the redeemer in the stories that unravel in the world of Narnia. He sends a rescue party for Edmund, a rather nasty child when we first meet him. Aslan rescues Edmund just before the White Witch attempts to kill him.
The faun also has his life redeemed by Aslan. When he saves Lucy from the White Witch he is turned into a stone. Aslan revives him.
Giant Rumblebuffin was also turned to stone by the White Witch and revived by Aslan.
The character Eustace is dragged into Narnia and accompanies King Caspian to the end of the world. His meeting with Aslan has a lasting effect on him and he returns from Narnia a changed person.
The symbolism is not lost on those who know and follow Jesus. Jesus is our redeemer. He is the one who loves us even when we are truly “nasty children” as Edmund was.
Even when our associations
with the hard and evil ways of our world leave our hearts hard as stone, Jesus
is the one who can rescue us. He is the one who can revive our hurting and darkened
hearts by his grace and his love.
Though the Chronicles of Narnia are mythical they mirror the true essence of Christianity. The mythical character of Aslan mirrors the majestic character of Jesus Christ, the redeemer of hard hearts. He is the one who leaves a lasting effect on those who meet him. He is the one who can truly change us as individuals into more than we ever hoped or dreamed we could be.
Today you can move from
the intrigue of the symbolic myth of Narnia to the reality of knowing the one
true Jesus. He came to redeem the broken hearts and to set the wanderer’s feet
on a sure path.
You can know him today. He waits to be invited into your life. He waits to forgive you for the ways you have mismanaged life. He longs to change a heart of stone to a heart of freedom.
Simply tell him … “Lord Jesus, I invite you into my life today. Forgive me for the times I have pushed past what I knew was right. Please change my heart today. Walk beside me every step of my journey. Thank you that I can find a new way to live with you as my guide.”
First published as a book over 50 years ago, Narnia is a place and time outside our “everyday” world and home to a host of astonishing characters. The plot line is woven with timeless themes, many taken directly from the Bible itself. Good and evil, sacrifice and freedom, death and rebirth all play powerful parts. This allegory is actually adapted from the gospels, which are the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ life (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). The movie’s main character, Aslan (the Lion-king), compares closely to Jesus Christ (the Lion of Judah), in a number of surprising ways.
Both Aslan and Jesus have a similar mission: to rescue a friend whose life is in danger. Both heroes ultimately succeed in their mission, but only after paying the ultimate cost—sacrificing their own lives. Consider the similarities listed here.
THE NECESSITY OF THEIR MISSION Aslan’s: Because “...every traitor belongs to [the witch] as [her] lawful prey and that for every treachery [she has] a right to a kill.” Jesus’: Because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [and] the wages of sin is death. Romans 3:23, 6:23.
THE EXPECTED COST OF THEIR MISSION Aslan’s: “Please—Aslan,” said Lucy, “can anything be done to save Edmund?” “All shall be done,” said Aslan. “But it may be harder than you think.” Jesus’: From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Matthew 16:21
THEIR FEELINGS ABOUT THE MISSION Aslan’s: “How slowly he walked! And his great, royal head drooped so that his nose nearly touched the grass. Presently he stumbled and gave a low moan. ‘Are you ill, dear Aslan?’ asked Susan. ‘No,’ said Aslan. ‘I am sad and lonely.’” Jesus’: [Jesus] took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:37-38
THEIR TREATMENT AFTER SURRENDERING Aslan’s: “Everyone was at him now. Those who had been afraid to come near him even after he was bound began to find their courage…kicking him, hitting him, spitting on him, jeering at him.” Jesus’: Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. Matthew 27:27-30
THEIR RESPONSES Aslan’s: “Had the Lion chosen, one of those paws could have been the death of them all. But he made no noise. He never moved.” Jesus’: Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? Matthew 26:53
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:23
THEIR DEATHS Aslan’s: The children did not see the actual moment of the killing. They couldn’t bear to look. Jesus’: After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. Matthew 27:31
THEIR REAPPEARANCES Aslan’s: “‘Who’s done it?’ cried Susan. ‘What does it mean? Is it more magic?’ ‘Yes!’ said a great voice behind their backs.…They looked around…and there stood Aslan himself.” Jesus’: “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there.… John 20:13-14
THEIR END RESULTS Aslan’s: “When a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.” Jesus’: He committed no sin....Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit. 1 Peter 2:22; 3:18
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. Romans 6:9
SYNOPSIS: There are many more parallels between The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the biblical accounts of Jesus’ life. We encourage you to look for them as you watch this fantastic film, read the classic book, and especially discover them for yourself in the Bible.
Once you understand the point of the film, the main theme of the Bible should be clearer. God loves you and created you to have a relationship with Him, but you are separated from Him because of your sin. Sin demands a price, death, and so Christ was sent (on His mission) to save you. To pay your debt, He willingly died in your place.
Jesus’ sacrificial death can save you, and His resurrection restore you to life. When you’re ready to enter His world…just admit your need, put your trust in Him… and tell Him.
Narnia Movie Review
Almost one hundred million people have read THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, in a publishing universe where most books sell less than 10,000 copies, according to the publishers. The book is a favorite among Christians, although many readers have said that they have missed the book’s clear Christological allusions. The great news is that the Disney movie, produced in conjunction with Walden Media, is not only very entertaining, but clearly retains the deeper truth and essence of C. S. Lewis’s great novel, the first in his great seven part CHRONICLES OF NARNIA fantasy series.
In this regard, C. S. Lewis wanted the story to get past the “watchful dragons” of young minds trained by an increasingly secular British culture to help the readers understand the good news of Jesus Christ. He revealed this in his March 1961 letter to a young girl named Anne:
“I think you will probably see that there is a deeper meaning behind it. The whole Narnian story is about Christ. That is to say, I asked myself ‘Supposing that there really was a world like Narnia and supposing it had (like our world) gone wrong and supposing Christ wanted to go into that world and save it (as He did ours) what might have happened?’ The stories are my answers. ... The whole series works out like this.
The Magician’s Nephew tells the Creation and how evil entered Narnia.
The Lion etc the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Prince Caspian restoration of the true religion after corruption.
The Horse and His Boy the calling and conversion of a heathen.
The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader” the spiritual life (especially in Reepicheep).
The Silver Chair the continuing war with the powers of darkness.
The Last Battle the coming of the Antichrist (the Ape), the end of the world and the Last Judgement.”
(Source: “Bluspels and Flalansferes: A Semantic Nightmare,” in Selected Literary Essays, Walter Hooper, ed. London: Cambridge University Press, 1969, 426).
The movie itself starts slightly before the book with an air raid in London that puts the four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, in jeopardy. The children are sent out of the city to stay with Prof. Kirke in the countryside for protection.
During a game of Hide and Seek, Lucy stumbles on an old wardrobe. The wardrobe leads her to Narnia, a world with talking animals and mythical creatures. There, she meets a faun, who thinks better of kidnapping her and puts his life in jeopardy by letting her return to the world of men. The evil White Witch has taken control of the land, turning it into a state of forever winter but never Christmas. A prophecy says that four sons and daughters of Adam and Eve will be brought to Narnia to assist Aslan, the son of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea, free Narnia from the White Witch. To thwart the prophecy, the White Witch has told the creatures of Narnia that, if they see a son or daughter of Adam and Eve, they should kidnap and bring them to her.
When Lucy returns to the world of human beings, her brothers Edmund and Peter and her sister Susan do not believe she was in Narnia. Lucy goes to Narnia through the wardrobe a second time. Edmund follows her and becomes a pawn of the White Witch. Like Satan, the White Witch offers Edmund something that he already has, the authority to rule Narnia, and traps him with a counterfeit sacrament of Turkish Delight, a jelly confection dusted with sugar. Edmund’s sisters and brother must find Aslan to try to set him free. Aslan tells the White Witch that he will die to pay the penalty for Edmund’s treachery, but not that his resurrection will once and for all break her control over Narnia.
THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE is very exciting. The excitement is heightened by a compelling sense of Providence leading the children into Narnia and the foreshadowing of the prophetic expectations.
The production quality is much greater than the sum of its parts. The camerawork is superb. The computer generated images are enchanting. Aslan comes to life in a magnificent way (he is a real lion!), as do all the creatures of Narnia. The four children are very good, especially Lucy, and the only regret is that Peter and Susan are not given meatier lines. Ms. Swinton would have been a better White Witch if she had been allowed to be more seductive, but her costume often cocoons her personality. The music is good, though not great. The direction is very exciting and entertaining, though it lacks nuance and depth. But, aside from critical nitpicking, the movie is spectacular! C. S. Lewis never wanted a movie made of his books, but one can even imagine that he would be proud of this production, and so everyone involved deserves high praise.
As noted, the movie has retained its theological foundation, even though the filmmakers have deleted some important scenes that are in the book and added others that seem trivial. Even so, some of the theology has been toned down. These changes are subtle, with a little more emphasis on the Creation rather than the Creator. There are no direct references to the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea, for instance. Also, the sacramental communion banquet with the coming of Father Christmas and the gifts of the Spirit has been truncated into a very brief scene with Father Christmas. Finally, the resurrection romp with Aslan, Lucy and Susan has been eliminated, and the movie focuses more on the children being the solution to the evil in Narnia when in fact the victory is Aslan’s, and the children, just like people in our world, are more than conquerors only because they are heirs to the victory that Aslan wins on the stone table, (or, rather, Jesus Christ won on the cross!).
Andrew Adamson said that when he directed the movie, he started from his memory. He felt that the book was too thin, so the movie reflects his memory of the book, not the actual book. He understands the element of sacrifice and redemption, but his concern was for the empowering of the children. Clearly, his perspective helped produce the subtle shift from the great clarity of the book itself, but his love for the original source ultimately keeps the movie on target.
The movie is a very clear Christological allusion, or imagining, of the story of Jesus Christ. The minor changes do not take away from that meaning in the book, which lifts up the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as our deliverer from the eternal winter of sin and damnation.
To understand more about all things Narnia, please read "NARNIA BECKONS: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE AND BEYOND!" Jean Peerenboom wrote in her Green Bay Press-Gazette column:
"Narnia Beckons: C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Beyond" (Broadman & Holman) by Ted and James Baehr. If you choose only one of these books, this would be the one to go with. It's an elegant coffee table book rich with photos related to Lewis's stories. This is a compilation of essays on his entire life. There are rare photographs of his English childhood haunts and profiles of family and friends. Interspersed throughout are rich illustrations and back stories of his brilliant characters, special interviews with a variety of associates and a unique look at the television and film adaptations of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE."
RELEASE: December 9, 2005
TIME: 125 minutes
STARRING: Tilda Swinton, Georgie Hensley, Skander Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Jim Broadbent, and James McAvoy, and as well as the voices of Liam Neeson, Rupert Everett, Ray Winstone, and Dawn French
INTENDED AUDIENCE: All ages
BASED ON THE NOVEL BY: C. S. Lewis