Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Reflections on the Last Battle


I was able to be home last week with my family, so I did more riding around with my boys. As we have ridden this last week we have listened to the the audio of C. S. Lewis’s The Last Battle. Patrick Stewart does the reading and does a great job.

I have read/listened to this book numerous times and still find it fresh, fun and stimulating. Listening again I was reminded of my post from a few weeks ago on preaching with imagination. In the comments I was asked for examples of such preaching. I have heard such preaching but was not prepared with some good, easily accessible examples. C. S. Lewis is a great example of good imaginative communication (though it is not preaching). In the Narnia series he powerfully communicates truths in fresh ways. I plan to take a few posts to reflect on some examples from The Last Battle.

As one preliminary note, let me acknowledge that The Last Battle does contain the most significant theological error in the Narnia series: a worshipper of the false god Tash is invited into heaven and is told he was really worshipping Aslan all along even though he did not know it. It is clear what Lewis is suggesting, and I will be as clear in saying Lewis missed it here. Mature reading requires the sifting of wheat and husk, and the presence of some husk does not negate the presence of some really good wheat as well.

7 comments:

Preston Atkinson said...

....and so therefore, may we suggest a theological toothpick.

I hope to get the audio book for our children.

Adam Winters said...

Excellent! I look forward to your fleshing out of these examples, Dr. Van Neste.

Cameron Cloud said...

I read TCON with my son some time back and loved the great truths throughout. Even the error in TLB was an opportunity to teach, both theology and discernment.

I look forward to reading your posts.

Ray Van Neste said...

Preston,
I found our audio copies of Narnia at two main places at 50% or better discount. Several I found at our Books-A-Million in the clearance section. They seem to be dumping alot, maybe due to the shift to ipod sorts of things. Second, I found some copies at bookcloseout.com.

AspiringTheologian said...

Yes, that Tash is Aslan thing irked me. One of the few things I've found to dislike about the Narnia books.

Reminds me of this: Roman Catholic Bishop Wants Everyone to Call God 'Allah'.

Lewis was a very sharp guy; how could he not see the distinct, unreconcilable differences between religions? It's a contradiction that I was actually surprised he fell into. Tash shouldn't really have been Aslan any more than Jadis.

In Christ,
Shep

Ray Van Neste said...

Well, Shep, Lewis actually makes it quite clear that he considers the 'Tash is Aslan' line bunk. He makes it clear that they are entirely distinct. That strong distinction is key to his 'argument' for the 'noble Calormen' getting into heaven. Rather than equating Tash & Aslan he has Aslan tell the Calormen that whenever he did soemthing noble in the name of Tash he was unwittingly doing it for Aslan since Tash could receive nothing noble.
Still faulty, but along a different line.

AspiringTheologian said...

Hmm... sounds like salvation by works to me! Thanks for clearing that up though.

Shep