Discussion: Narnia and Aslan

(I’ll probably get my Easily Amused post up late this week; have an open thread instead)

I know I have a lot of Christian readers, maybe I can get an interesting discussion going around something that’s been nagging at me lately about CS Lewis’ Narnia books.

Here’s the thing: Jesus is usually portrayed as a lamb, the Lamb of God. In fact, I distinctly recall reading a very trippy and confusing (for me) book in which he appeared repeatedly as a lamb, sometimes dripping with blood, to guide people through parables when I was a child. (I wish I knew what it was called now.. I think it had a black cover?)

The lion, on the other hand, is usually held up as the opposite of the lamb, as in, “the lion shall lie down with the lamb”. What does it say about Lewis’ theology that he shunned the image of Jesus the Lamb and recast him as a Lion? That he dismissed the idea of Jesus the Sacrifice and gave us instead Jesus the Predator? Which he then sacrificed anyway, but in the sense of one powerful leader dispatching another who happened to be her enemy.

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3 Responses to Discussion: Narnia and Aslan

  1. Firedrake says:

    I’m speaking from limited knowledge here, so anyone who knows more please enlighten me. I get the impression that many people were inclined to think of overt Christians as wimps – all that turn-the-other-cheek, try-to-make-peace-rather-than-war stuff – and that Lewis, in much the same way as the Muscular Christianity movement some seventy years earlier, was reacting against that. His God is someone who can fight, but chooses not to – as opposed to someone who’s not capable of it.

  2. Jarred H says:

    Actually, Jesus is also known as the Lion of Judah. It’s not so much that Lewis recast Jesus as the Lion as he chose to emphasize that image over the Lamb image.

    • yamikuronue says:

      Now that I did not know! Interesting. It looks like that’s used within the Bible mostly in Revelations, which is being referenced heavily by modern-day Evangelicals — I wonder if there’s similar lines of thought going on?

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