Narnian Apocalypse ~ The Imaginative Conservative

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The sobering actuality stays that this wonderful world of life-after-death will not be ours for the taking however solely ours for the asking. If we is not going to ask to be admitted, we can not enter. It isn’t ours by proper however is obtainable as a present. If we gained’t settle for the present, we gained’t be compelled to obtain it.

Over the previous two weeks, we’ve found the deep theology to be present in Narnia for individuals who settle for C. S. Lewis’ invitation to go “additional up and additional in”. In “Resurrection in Narnia”, we seemed on the methods through which Aslan’s self-sacrificial loss of life and resurrection in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe parallels the Gospel narrative of the loss of life and resurrection of Christ. Then, in “The Creation of Narnia”, we targeted on the deep trinitarian theology which animates Aslan’s singing of Narnia into being in The Magician’s Nephew. This week, finishing our Narnian triptych, we’ll come to the Finish of the World as Lewis depicts it in The Final Battle.

Within the climactic moments of Narnian time, within the final battle itself, the forces of evil are on the verge of ultimate victory over the virtuous few. The ultimate remnant of the devoted are being compelled by a door to a steady through which the demonic “god” Tash awaits them.

“I really feel in my bones,” says Poggin, “that we will all, one after the other, go by that darkish door earlier than morning. I can consider 100 deaths I’d fairly have died.”

“It’s certainly a grim door,” says Tirian. “It’s extra like a mouth.”

“Oh, can’t we do something to cease it?” says Jill, her voice quaking.

“Nay, honest pal,” says Jewel. “It might be for us the door to Aslan’s nation and we will sup at his desk tonight.”

There’s a lot of nice worth on this temporary trade between 4 associates, comrades in arms towards an evil enemy. Realizing that they’re about to be compelled by the steady door into the demonic presence of Tash is a destiny worse than any loss of life conceivable. It isn’t merely assembly the face of loss of life, grim sufficient in itself, however coming nose to nose with the satan.

Who wouldn’t quake at such an encounter? It’s, as King Tirian professes, a grim door, the brink of doom, an all-devouring mouth, the jaws of all-consuming destruction. And but, because the devoted Jewel proclaims, even the gates of hell is perhaps, for the true believer, the door into heaven itself.

For the depraved soul, doomed to damnation, the door of loss of life is the gate of hell, the place the place all hope is deserted and everlasting destiny is sealed. The devoted soul should additionally go by the identical door of loss of life however, for him, it turns into the gates of heaven, the place the place all hope is fulfilled and the place the everlasting life within the presence of God begins. It might be for us the door to Aslan’s nation and we will sup at this desk tonight. It’s with such hope that the chums battle courageously to the final, lastly being compelled by the steady door.

The door of the steady, the second of loss of life, is just like the wardrobe in Lewis’ earlier story. It takes us out of our world into one other. On this case, nonetheless, it takes us not solely past our bodily world however past our bodily life. It takes us into the realm of life after loss of life, past loss of life itself. It’s into this realm that we are going to now go, taking the last word journey into these mystically fantastic locations which are additional up and additional in, past time and loss of life.

The fellowship of associates, discovering themselves in a postmortem paradise, see timber bearing fruit way more stunning than something they’d ever seen. Questioning whether or not they need to decide them, or whether or not doing so could be a sin, it’s Peter who perceives the wondrous actuality through which they now discover themselves. “It’s all proper,” he says. “I’ve a sense we’ve bought to the nation the place every little thing is allowed.” This profound perception arises from the data that they’re in an Immaculate Kingdom, unstained by sin and, much more fantastic, unstainable by it. Sin is unattainable within the heavenly realm through which they now discover themselves. It’s a place the place religion and purpose are each fulfilled in Actuality. In such a spot, it will be unattainable to consider something evil as a result of its unreasonableness could be starkly evident from the fact skilled. It’s a world through which the factor beheld is seen completely as a result of the attention of the beholder has been cleansed of all of the pleasure and prejudice which had blinded it. It’s a world through which sanity and sanctity are indivisible and indistinguishable as a result of they’re one. Sin, being a violation of proper purpose and a denial of the great, is unattainable the place purpose is righted and the great is all there’s. Solely in such a spot, the place evil is unattainable, can every little thing be allowed.

And but the sobering actuality stays that this wonderful world of life-after-death will not be ours for the taking however solely ours for the asking. If we is not going to ask to be admitted, we can not enter. It isn’t ours by proper however is obtainable as a present. If we gained’t settle for the present, we gained’t be compelled to obtain it. That is made evident within the willful blindness of the dwarves who refuse to see the heavenly actuality that surrounds them. The dwarfs see nothing they usually odor nothing they usually consider nothing as a result of all they know is the “no-thing” that they consider is on the root of the cosmos. As soon as a cynic believes on this almighty No-Factor, nothing will persuade him that he’s flawed, not even have been the One thing who created the very cosmos to disclose himself to him. We see this when Aslan arrives on the scene, making his first look in direction of the very finish of the story, after all the protagonists have already handed by the door of loss of life. Lucy asks him to “do one thing for these poor Dwarfs”.

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Aslan explains that he can solely assist those that are prepared to simply accept the gits of sunshine and life that he affords. “They won’t allow us to assist them. They’ve chosen crafty as a substitute of perception. Their jail is barely in their very own minds, but they’re in that jail; and so afraid of being taken in that they can’t be taken out.”

Aslan is not going to deprive the dwarves of their freedom. He’s not a tyrant or a rapist who forces himself upon those that refuse his love. In the end, the dwarves are given what they need. They’ve chosen a blindness that binds them to their self-inflicted hell. The selection is between hell and the healer. Those that refuse therapeutic, select hell.

Leaving the dwarfs to their depressing selves, we’ll transfer onto the newer and greener pastures of Paradise.

With laughter in his eyes, Aslan calls on the fellowship of Narnian associates to observe him. “Come additional in! Come additional up!”. He then shoots off like a golden arrow over the carpet of flowers into the space.

Because the Kings and Queens and their companions journey additional up and additional in, they start to see that they’re now experiencing the Actual Narnia, the Narnia which has at all times existed within the thoughts of God. It’s the divine Narnia, the proper Narnia, that they’re now seeing. It’s the Narnia that basks within the mild of God’s undimmed and undiminished Presence. In such a Narnia, there’s nothing of the Fallenness or Brokenness of the world of shadows. There isn’t a decay, no entropy, no ill-health, no impediments to the proper goodness of issues. Thus the companions discover that they’ll run quicker and quicker with out getting sizzling or drained, or out of breath (good health), they usually can do all issues with out feeling the least afraid (good fearlessness). It’s the Good Paradise, eternally past the attain of any evil.

In addition to good health and excellent fearlessness, the proper paradise additionally has good time and excellent area. There isn’t a means of understanding if one thing takes half an hour or half a century, “for time there’s not like time right here”. As for area, because the Faun tells Lucy, “the additional up and the additional in you go, the larger every little thing will get”.

On the ultimate web page of this most fantastic of tales, Aslan tells the youngsters that there was an actual railway accident in their very own world and that they’re useless, “as you used to name it within the Shadowlands”. And but this loss of life results in the true fullness of life. “The time period is over: the vacations have begun,” Aslan proclaims. “The dream is ended: that is the morning.”

The world through which the youngsters had been born, and through which they’d lived and died, had been solely a Shadow. It was a projection or a shadow of the actual world which had at all times existed within the thoughts of God. That they had left the Shadowland through which they’d been born and had entered the Actual World, with out shadows, through which they’re being born once more right into a life way more actual, way more alive, than something within the dream that they’d skilled so far.

As for the remainder, there isn’t any higher means of concluding than with the phrases with which C. S. Lewis concludes The Final Battle:

And as He spoke He now not seemed to them like a lion; however the issues that started to occur after that have been so nice and delightful that I can not write them. And for us that is the tip of all of the tales, and we are able to most actually say that all of them lived fortunately ever after. However for them it was solely the start of the actual story. All their life on this world and all their adventures in Narnia had solely been the duvet and the title web page: now ultimately they have been starting Chapter One of many Nice Story which nobody on earth has learn: which works on endlessly: through which each chapter is best than the one earlier than.

Joseph Pearce’s guide Further Up and Further In: Understanding Narnia is obtainable from TAN Books.

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The featured picture is courtesy of Pixabay.

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