Saturday, December 10, 2005

Aslan: An Accurate Portrayal of God's Character

I have read and enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia. I have read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe several times. I have seen the movie that has just come out featuring all of our favorite characters from the land of Narnia. As I recollect of it all I must say that my favorite aspect of the literature is the portrayal of Aslan as the God character in the series. Allow me to outline a few points of why I like Aslan as an accurate metaphor for God.

1. Aslan is a Lion. I find it very interesting and appropriate that Lewis chose a Lion to represent the God character in his literature. Despite the obvious comparisons, the Lion as King of the jungle, Jesus being called the "Lion of Judah", the Lion being strong etc., there are some other characteristics I like to ponder. For instance, I think of a Lion as fierce, yet attractive. A lion is an animal that you would love to pet, wrestle with, or feel its mane, but you wouldn't dare! The Lion is far too fierce. However, Aslan allows the children to touch him. He is approachable, which seems to be backwards. This is similar to God, who is incredibly powerful and one would think not approachable by mortal flesh. Yet he is gracious and allows us to approach Him.

2. Aslan has an Intimidating Look. Lewis describes Aslan in the books as being so intimidating that one can hardly look him in the face without trembling. I am reminded of the story where Moses desires to see the Glory of God (Ex 33:18-23). The Lord tells him that no one can see the face of God and live, but he will cover Moses with His hand and he can look at his back when the Lord passes by.

3. Aslan, Like God is the Quintessential Example of Meekness. Meekness, which is power under restraint, is an undervalued and underexercised virtue in our world. Aslan portrays this characteristic nicely. Wrapped up in the strength and ferocity of a lion is the gentleness and compassion of a loving father. He displays the ultimate in meekness when he allows the witches men to tie Him up and shave him. Lewis even comments that with one swipe of his huge paw he could destroy them all. But he chooses not to fight, but to be the sacrifice. I am reminded of Jesus, who "being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!" (Phil 2:6-8)

In closing, I think it is good to continually search for ametaphore that characterizes God's goodness, even if all are bound to come up short. Examples like this, if nothing else, give us yet another reason to ponder the amazing character of God. May Aslan, and others, always turn us back to worshiping our Creator.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We have read the Narnia Chronicles many times as a family. I sometimes think that Chip's number one reason for wanting children was so he could read the books to them. He has all the voices down! When the kids were younger, our home would become Narnia. Woods, a ship, Care Paravelle. The girls would argue over who got to be Lucy and not Susan. I wonder if I was the White Witch?

I can really connect with Aslan being like God. His force, his gentleness, his wisdom. I remember a line spoken to the children before they had seen him. One of them asks, "Is he safe?" The answer: "Oh no! not safe! But very good." I find, following God whole heartedly and loving him is not safe but good. He plays for keeps. He doesn't let me play games with him. Sometimes he has a scary way of letting me know...or rather reminding me that He's the big guy in charge. And loves me very much at the same time.