Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Last Battle and the Last of the Chronicles of Narnia

Finished The Last Battle and The Chronicles of Narnia. Wonderful, as everybody else in the whole world seems to know already.

The Calormene and Ape effort to erode the uniqueness of Aslan is intriguing:
Tash is only another name for Aslan. All that old idea of us being right and the Calormenes wrong is silly. We know better now. The Calormenes use different words but we all mean the same thing. Tash and Aslan are only different names for you know Who." p 38
I am reminded of today's universalist efforts to make all religions equally true saying that we all believe in the same God. Later the Cat wants to "clarify" things with Calormene Rishda Tarkaan about this. He says:
"I just wanted to know exactly what we both meant today about Aslan meaning no more than Tash." "Doubtless, most sagacious of cats,' says the other [Rishda], "you have perceived my meaning." "You mean," says Ginger, "that there's no such person as either." "All who are enlightened know that," said the Tarkaan. p89-90
Which is exactly where such universalist relativism ends up, in my opinion. There are even some Anglican bishops and clergy who teach something perilously close to that. Lewis is very perceptive.

I was also fascinated by the door that you can walk all the way around and which goes nowhere, unless you open it and walk through (p160). Isn't that the thing about Jesus? We can walk all around him, describe him, analyze him, admire him, but unless we actually open the door he represents and unlocked for us, we go nowhere.

And then the final paragraph:
the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before." p210-211
Things that make the harps come.

Reading the Chronicles makes me glad that Jesus is good, but not tame. It makes me look forward even more to meeting Jesus himself face to face one day.