A Family Guide to Narnia: Biblical Truths in C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Christin Ditchfield
eBook Category: Spiritual/Religion/Children's Fiction
eBook Description: This book serves as a simple and practical companion to The Chronicles of Narnia for those who want to discover its biblical and Christian roots. This book will help them quickly locate references to familiar passages of Scripture and encourage deeper understanding and appreciation of C. S. Lewis's masterpiece, as well as the Word of God itself.
eBook Publisher: Crossway Books, Published: 2009
Fictionwise Release Date: June 2009
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Introduction to The Magician's Nephew
In the opening paragraph of The Magician's Nephew, we learn that we are about to read an "important" story--important because it shows "how all the comings and goings between our world and the land of Narnia first began." After writing five other books about Narnia, C.S. Lewis decided to go back and tell readers the story of Narnia's creation. (On Lewis's suggestion, publishers later renumbered the series, and The Magician's Nephew became Book One.)
When Uncle Andrew--the magician--tricks his nephew Digory and neighbor girl Polly into trying on his magic rings, the children discover that there are countless worlds beyond our own. They first visit Charn--an ancient world in ruin and decay, destroyed by the wickedness and corruption of its people. The last survivor of Charn, and the one ultimately responsible for its destruction, is Jadis. (This wicked Queen later becomes the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.) Jadis grabs onto Digory and follows the children back to our world, where she begins to wreak havoc on the city of London. In an attempt to return her to Charn, the children accidentally stumble into Narnia--just as Aslan is singing it into existence. They are eyewitnesses to the miraculous creation of a glorious new world. But Narnia's beauty and perfection is marred almost immediately by the presence of Jadis, whom Digory has unwittingly brought along. Unable to bear being in the presence of the great Lion, Jadis flees to the North. She will return to threaten Narnia in the future.
The story of The Magician's Nephew is essentially the story of Creation and the fall of Man. Digory is responsible for bringing evil (Jadis) into Narnia. "Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin" (Romans 5:12). As Aslan prophesies, "Evil will come of that evil, but it is still a long way off, and I will see to it that the worst falls upon myself.... And as Adam's race has done the harm, Adam's race shall help heal it." This fore-shadows the story of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe--just as God's promise to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15 foreshadows the defeat of Satan at the cross, where Jesus destroyed the power of sin and death by sacrificing His own life for ours.
Power is a central theme in The Magician's Nephew--the power of pride, the power of temptation, the power of sin, the power of evil. Jadis, like Satan, is thoroughly corrupted by a lust for power and dominion over others. Uncle Andrew has devoted his entire life to acquiring secret knowledge and mysterious power through "scientific" experiments with the occult. Even Digory is tempted by a desire for power, though his motive is good: He wants the power to save his dying mother. In the end, it is only by refusing to grasp for power--and instead obeying Aslan's command--that Digory and his mother are saved.
Digory discovers the power of faith, the power of trust--the power that comes from obedience and submission to the will of God. "When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10). The Magician's Nephew also includes illustrations of the following truths: "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them" (1 Corinthians 2:14). "A friend loves at all times" (Proverbs 17:17). "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him" (Psalm 103:13).
These lessons are just a few of the spiritual treasures you will discover as you witness the creation of Narnia along with The Magician's Nephew.
1. THE WRONG DOOR
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. PSALM 10:2
Biblical Parallels and Principles
* The two children share an active imagination and a love for mystery and adventure. The Bible encourages believers to seek out hidden truths and spiritual treasures: "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings" (Proverbs 25:2).
* For a while, it seems, Uncle Andrew has been trying to get hold of Digory. This time the two children are caught unawares. Describing the ways of the wicked, Psalm 56:6 says, "They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps." So the psalmist prays, "Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, from the traps set by evildoers" (Psalm 141:9). In Matthew 24:4 Jesus told His disciples, "Watch out that no one deceives you."
* Polly's alarm evaporates when Uncle Andrew compliments her. She lets down her guard and walks right into his trap. The psalmist observed, "The godly are no more.... Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception" (Psalm 12:1-2). Romans 16:18 explains, "By smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of naive people."
Do You Know?
Digory says that his uncle has "awful eyes." It's the eager, greedy look on Uncle Andrew's face that alerts Digory to the danger of the rings. Do you know what the Bible compares a person's eyes to?
(Hint: Read Matthew 6:22-23.)
Scriptures on Staying Alert
1 Peter 5:8-9 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Ephesians 5:15-16
2. DIGORY AND HIS UNCLE
The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.
Biblical Parallels and Principles
* Uncle Andrew prides himself on his superior intellect. He believes that he is above the law--that the rules don't apply to him. Isaiah 5:21 warns, "Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight." Psalm 119:118 tells us that God rejects those who stray from His decrees. And Proverbs 28:9 says, "If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable."
* The magician is obsessed with obtaining secret knowledge. (Clearly it is not godly wisdom he seeks--he acquires this knowledge from "devilish" people in dark, dangerous places.) First Timothy 4:1 tells us that some people "follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." Revelation 2:24 speaks scathingly of those who claim to have learned "Satan's so-called deep secrets." First Corinthians 3:19 says, "The wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight." And James 3:15 explains, "Such 'wisdom' does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil."
* Uncle Andrew praises the wicked and immoral, while mocking those who are decent and upright. Describing a wicked man, Psalm 10:3 observes, "He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD." Isaiah 5:20 warns, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness." God's anger will burn against them, and they will be destroyed (Isaiah 5:25).
* Digory is horrified by Uncle Andrew's complete disregard for the fate of the guinea pigs--and his total lack of concern for Polly's welfare. Proverbs 12:10 says, "The kindest acts of the wicked are cruel." Psalm 119:70 explains, "Their hearts are callous and unfeeling."
Think About It!
Digory tells his uncle, "You're simply a wicked, cruel magician like the ones in the stories. Well, I've never read a story in which people of that sort weren't paid out in the end." According to the Bible, what is the ultimate end of men like Uncle Andrew?
(Hint: Read Revelation 21:8.)
Scriptures on Loving Others As We Love Ourselves
Mark 12:28-31 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 1 John 4:7-11