The God-Shaped Hole!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What Would Aslan Do?

C.S. Lewis specifically said himself that Aslan was not an allegory. I will try to explain my own understanding of what he meant.

I'll start with an example. I once read a science fiction story where Elvis was taken from the planet (and his death faked) by aliens, to be their king. (It involved swordplay, karate, and other elements.)

I would not call this character an allegory of Elvis; rather, I would call this character a fictional parallel-universe counterpart. He is not an allegory because his characteristics are not analogous to our Elvis; instead, they are identical (except for their level of reality), up to the point where our Elvis and the fictional Elvis diverged, ie, being take by aliens. Thus this specific fictional Elvis is a fictional parallel-universe DIVERGENT counterpart.

Following so far?

Let's approach the Narnia books as any other work of fantasy / science fiction.

Throughout the Narnia books, but most concretely in Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis sets up a fictional Earth. This Earth is in a specific fictional universe, which is part of a multiverse that also includes Narnia, Charn, and possibly infinite other worlds.

(Note that Narnia and Earth are not merely different planets in the same universe. The "planet" of Narnia is the center of its universe, a flat disc, surrounded by the Emperor's Country, and the stars overhead are quasi-angelic beings.)

That (fictional) multiverse was created by a (fictional) monotheistic God, a self-existing being of infinite wisdom, innovation, and leadership. That God is a fictional counterpart to the One of this universe (whether real or not), as described by Lewis' faith, Trinitarian Christianity.

In that multiverse's Earth, the Logos (the Living Word of God) was incarnated as Jesus of Nazareth, died on the cross for all mankind's sins, and rose from the dead as proof of the end of the curse of death for all the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve that choose to accept it.

About 1910 years after that event, in that universe, Lucy entered the wardrobe, and was transported to Narnia.

Narnia was a younger world, and one in which (according to The Magician's Nephew) there was no Fall. Evil entered the world by the hand of a son of Adam, but not willingly. Instead of being applied to everyone, only traitors were subject to judgement.

Becuase of this, the Logos (in the form of Aslan) did not have to incarnate from a specific line of ancestry as He did in that Earth's history. Instead, He could remain in a perfected body. However, for the sake of Edmund, and also for all Narnian traitors who sought forgiveness, He allowed Himself to be slaughtered in that universe as well.

Thus, Aslan is Jesus is The Logos, eternally the Son of the Father, "very God of very God"... in that multiverse. They are the same being, able to move between universes at will, and take different shapes in each. (See the end of Voyage of the Dawn Treader.)

We can further postulate that some great Fall occured to Charn before its death, or such things as the Word of Power would not exist. We can therefore assume the God of that multiverse had a plan of salvation for those Charnians willing to accept it, and that Jadis (Empress of Charn and White Witch of Narnia) was an unbeliever who brought the Apocalypse by uttering the forbidden word that ended her world.

And now that I have set the stage, here is the breakdown.

The C.S. Lewis multiverse includes a fictional parallel of our universe, just as the Marvel and DC multiverses each include at least one Earth that is recognizable parallel to our own. Aslan and Jesus are co-manifestations of the same being (the Logos) in that multiverse; there, Aslan IS Jesus IS Aslan.

Thus, Aslan is a fictional parallel-universe co-manifestation of the Logos; Christ Himself, not a Christ figure.

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