Another Name: The Theological Treasure of Narnia

I’m There Too

The third movie based on the Chronicles of Narnia, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” is less than a month away. I’ve loved these books since childhood, have read them to and with my own children, and look forward to enjoying this movie as well.

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Aslan has just told the children they will not be returning to Narnia. This passage is the key to understanding the entire series, and is one of my favorite Narnia quotes:

“You are too old, children,” said Aslan very gently, “and you must begin to come close to your own world now.”

“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”

“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.

“Are–are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.

“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This is the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

Knowing Christ Better

Lewis’ books are masterpieces of children’s literature, but they are much more than that. They are an introduction to Christ. By knowing Him a little in Narnia (the books), they may know Him better in our world.

This was certainly true for me. When I read the books as a child, I saw basic spiritual imagery – Aslan dying and rising again is the most obvious comparison to Christ. Yet later, as I read them to my sons, I developed a deeper appreciation for the skill with which Lewis wove theological truths into his stories. They were profound, yet on the level of a child. Simple, but not simplistic.

Unfortunately, much modern Christian media for children seems to be little more than clean entertainment. There’s nothing wrong with clean entertainment, but it’s disappointing that there isn’t more literature that accomplishes what Lewis did.

Spiritual Reality through Sanctified Imagination

The Chronicles have provided an invaluable aid for teaching my sons. Some of the best theological discussions we have are during bedtime reading. Even when I don’t agree with Lewis, it provides an opportunity to develop their critical thinking as well as teach them important truths. I desire that they develop an experiential knowledge of the spiritual reality of our world. The sanctified imagination of Lewis’ world helps make that dream a reality.

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