Chapter One of the Great Story

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I just finished the final book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, The Last Battle. I began to read through the series when The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe came out in theaters, and would greatly recommend the series to anyone, but especially Christians.

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Althought he did not set out to do so, C.S. Lewis found himself incorporating Christian concepts into the fantasy books as he wrote them. As he says in Of Other Worlds:

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“Some people seem to think that I began by asking myself how I could say something about Christianity to children; then fixed on the fairy tale as an instrument, then collected information about child psychology and decided what age group I’d write for; then drew up a list of basic Christian truths and hammered out ‘allegories’ to embody them. This is all pure moonshine. I couldn’t write in that way. It all began with images; a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion. At first there wasn’t anything Christian about them; that element pushed itself in of its own accord.”

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The parallels Lewis draws in the series are abundant. The most obvious one would be viewing Aslan as the Christ figure throughout the series, namely when he gives himself as a sacrifice to save Edmund in the first book and then rises again. There are too many others for me to even remember them all. Since it is the book so fresh on my mind, two parallels from The Last Battle were iminent. First, the character of the “false Aslan” is a direct metaphor to the Anti-Christ mentioned in Scripture. Secondly, at the end of the book, Aslan leads his people to a new world after Narnia dies. The new world is a sort of “Heaven,” and the ways in which Lewis describes it are wonderful. Aslan speaks and describes our world, the old world, as the “Shadow-Lands,” which struck me as a deeply unique way of putting it. Compared to Heaven, our world and the best times of our lives are “but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away,” as the Psalmist says. After Aslan says these things, Lewis brilliantly wraps up with another excellent parallel to Heaven:

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“And as he spoke he no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all the adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and title page; now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read; which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

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