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March 17, 2011
For years, there has been a very contentious debate regarding The Chronicles of Narnia. On its face, this series presents the secular reader with an allusion to the battle of good and evil which has raged since Lucifer pronounced his intent to ascend above God. However, a cursory examination of Lewis’ theology compared with the series The Chronicles of Narnia shows this series to be nothing more than a blasphemous attempt by the devil, himself, to mingle paganism and mythology into Christianity.

Lewis’ Theology

As you consider the following quotations from C. S. Lewis in his various works, please keep the following ideas in mind:
In the Word of God, there are many references to water. In this context, we are looking most notably at the Water of Life.
James 3:11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? A fountain cannot send forth water which is both bitter and sweet. The Word of God and salvation from our Lord is most definitely sweet water.
As you will see from Lewis’ quotes, his water certainly is not the sweet water of the Word of God. Moreover, Lewis outright denies the Word of God, often comparing it to pagan traditions.
Isa 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
His teachings are those which would appease the widest population: the pagan, the Catholic, the Hindu as well as the ecumenical.
1Ti 4:1-4 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (3) Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Lewis on Paganism:
"The question was no longer to find the one simply true religion among a thousand religions simply false. It was rather, "Where has religion reached its true maturity? Where, if anywhere, have the hints of all Paganism been fulfilled?"...Paganism had been only the childhood of religion. Where was the thing fully grown? (The Everlasting Man was helping me here.) There were really only two answers possible: either in Hinduism or in Christianity" (Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, 1966, pp. 235, 236)

Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Jesus was quite plain. There is only one path to heaven, only one path to salvation. It is a narrow path and, sadly, there are only a few people who find it.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
When people find the only true path to salvation, they have found Jesus.

"I had some ado to prevent Joy and myself from relapsing into Paganism in Attica! At Daphni it was hard not to pray to Apollo the Healer. But somehow one didn't feel it would have been very wrong - would have only been addressing Christ sub specie Apollinis." (Green, 2003, p. 276)
Apollo, "a Christ sub-specie," really?
Exo 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
"I have therefore no difficulty accepting, say, the view of those scholars who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical." (Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, 1964, p. 110)

" I believe, Christ,...fulfills both Paganism and Judaism..." (Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, 1964, p. 129)

Do I need to comment on this claim that Christ fulfills paganism? Really? There is only one God, not many. That one God was made flesh in Jesus. Though Jesus was 100% man, He was also 100% God.

Lewis believed there are many paths to heaven:
"There are people in other religions who are being led by God's secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it. For example a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain points. Many of the good Pagans long before Christ's birth may have been in this position." (p.176, 177) (Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, 1966, pp. 176, 177)

See my comments from above. There is only one path to Heaven and that is through Christ.

Lewis believed salvation was by works:
"There are three things that spread the Christ-life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names--Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord's Supper" (Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, 1966, pp. .62,63)
Eph 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Salvation is a result of the sacrifice Christ made for us. There is nothing we can do:  no communion, no mass, no supper nor anything else we can do to earn our way to heaven. If one does not accept the free gift of salvation offered by Christ, he will not see heaven.

Lewis believed a Christian could lose their salvation:
"... a Christian can lose the Christ-life which has been put into him, and he has to make efforts to keep it" (Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, 1966, p. 49)
"There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians ..." (Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, 1966, p. 162)
Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
John 3:15-16 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The gift of life is one given by God. There is no one more powerful than God, no one powerful enough to revoke a gift offered by God. More importantly, God promises that salvation is everlasting life. C. S. Lewis proves, again, that he had no real knowledge of the Scriptures.

Theistic evolution:
Nature's "pregnancy has been long and painful and anxious, but it has reached its climax" (Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, 1966, p. 172)

"He made an earth at first 'without form and void' and brought it by degrees to its perfection" (Lewis, Miracles, 2001, p. 125)

"For long centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself" (Lews, 2001, p. 177)
The topic of evolution versus the truth of the Word of God is one of ceaseless debate among the fools of the world. Anyone who openly, honestly, looks at science and compares science to the Word of God can see just how much of a fairy-tale any form of evolution is. God created the world, and all things in the world, in six literal, twenty-four hour days.

Salvation or acceptance by God does not require repentance:
"This process of surrender...this willing not something God demands of you before He will take you back...." (p. 59-60)

"Safety and happiness can only come from individuals, classes, and nations being honest and fair and kind to each other." (Lewis, The Case for Christianity, 2000)

"I believe in Purgatory." (Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, 2002, pp. 108-109)

Lewis believed in purification after death:
"...whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death." (Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, 1966, pp. 108, 172, 174, 175, 182)

"I do not at all regard mystical experience as an illusion. I think it shows that there is a way to go, before death, out of what may be called 'this world'..." "One thing common to all mysticisms is that temporary shattering of our ordinary spatial and temporal consciousness and of our discursive intellect." (Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, 2002, pp. 63-65)

"Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me. And I hardly know how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden..." (Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, 2002, p. 107)

Platonic Theology
Plato was "an overwhelming theological genius." (Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, 1964, p. 80)

Outright denial of the Word of God
Job is "unhistorical." (Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, 1964, p. 110)

"I have the deepest respect for Pagan myths, still more for myths in the Holy Scriptures" (Lews, 2001, p. 71)

"I have therefore no difficulty accepting, say, the view of those scholars who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical." (Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, 1964, p. 110)

Lewis’ belief in mythology is one rooted in a fable. 1 Tim 4:1-4 (above) describes the progression of turning away from the truth of the Word of God unto fables, unto doctrines of devils. The end result of Lewis’ intermingling of mythology and Christianity results in his outright denial of the Word of God.

I could easily refute each of Lewis' claims. My hope is that the sensible Christian will allow the Holy Spirit to show them the fallacies of Lewis' claims.
James 3:11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
Many people have been duped into believing Lewis’ works are Christian allegory. They are not. They are an exercise of pagan mythology applied to children’s fiction. I believe Lewis’ works are an effort to dilute the Word of God by establishing a parallel between true Christianity and  Lewis’ beloved mythology. In the Chronicles of Narnia series, Lewis makes mythology, witchcraft and the supposedly Christ-like character of Aslan to be equal with each other.

Some Thoughts Regarding The Chronicles of Narnia.

After his resurrection, Aslan said, "If the Witch knew the true meaning of sacrifice, she might have interpreted the Deep Magic differently. That when a willing victim who has committed no treachery is killed in a traitor's stead, the Stone Table will crack and even Death itself will turn backwards." (Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 1994) It appears that the 'deep magic' is the code or law of Narnia. If we were to assume the parallel between Christianity and the world of Narnia existed, we would have to assume that the 'Deep Magic' is a type of the Word of God. In fact, Aslan said, "Do not cite the Deep Magic to me Witch. I was there when it was written." So, we have the first blasphemy: If the author is attempting to parallel The Chronicles of Narnia with Christianity, then the 'Deep Magic' is a parallel to the Word of God. We cannot compare any magic to the Holy Word of God! To do so would make God Himself a liar as God pronounced witchcraft (the practice of using magic) to be a sin! The second major failing is in Aslan as a picture of Christ. Aslan's sacrifice was to save the life of Edmund alone, not for the sins of the entire race. Aslan laid his life down as a substitute for one person’s transgression. Christ’s sacrifice was for the sins of all man. Second, when Aslan laid down his life, it was not a substitutionary atonement, as we see in Christ, to atone for the sins of man in the eyes of a holy, sinless God, it was the result of a bargain with the White Witch. The stain of death is a requirement on mankind as a result of the curse of sin. This requirement is upon all men, even to this day. Third, while the sacrifice of Christ is available to all men, Aslan's sacrifice did nothing for those who were followers of the witch. Where every man who draws a breath can be drawn to Christ and receive salvation, Aslan’s redemption was for one and only one person. Moreover, Christ's sacrifice causes men to be drawn to Him from serving the enemy. There were no such convert's as a result of Aslan's sacrifice.

It is quite clear that the witch used witchcraft; it is argued that she is evil and using the tools of evil is only expected of her. What of the other witchcraft in the book? The entire plot is based on the magical wardrobe. Were it not for the wardrobe, the two son's of Adam and the two daughter's of Eve would never have made it to Narnia and thus, to their parallel savior, Aslan. After they began their journey to find Aslan, Peter, Susan and Lucy were given tools and weapons (we'll get to who gave the gifts in a moment). Two of the weapons had supernatural powers: they were a bow and arrows and a dagger. Both were described as weapons that 'could not easily miss'. Additionally, Lucy was given a magic potion that would 'heal any wound'. Later, in the presence of Aslan, she used this to heal her brother's wound. Why was this needed? If Aslan were truly a parallel of Christ, would not he, himself heal Edmund's fatal wound? Why would a magical potion be required when the allegorical parallel of the Son of God is present? And, where did Peter, Susan and Lucy get their magical weapons and potions? Along their journey to meet Aslan, they met the 'Prince of Christmas'. This 'Prince of Christmas' was a jolly, fat man with a bag of gifts riding in a sleigh. Again, Lewis is introducing an aspect of the anti-Christ in the form of an alternative to Christ: Santa Claus.

When the final battle took place, who were the combatants? Of course, there was Peter and his siblings, but there were others as well.
  • Satyrs: the half-man, half-goat animal of Greek mythology.
  • Centaurs: the animal from Greek mythology with the torso of a man and the body and legs of a horse.
  • Werewolves: A werewolf in folklore and mythology is a person who shape-shifts into a wolf, either purposely, by using magic, or after being placed under a curse.
  • Giants
  • Bacchus: The Greek god of drunkenness.
Without examination, one could argue that these characters represented the evil opponent in the battle with God; however, this argument would be false. These characters were representatives of both sides of the battle.

Throughout the tale, there are also Influences from the Wiccan religion:
  • The river God
  • Trees with souls and humanity
  • Animals having a role which is equal to or higher than humans (Aslan, the centaurs, etc.)
The climax of the tale was the great battle between good and evil. I can see how some would parallel this to the battle of Armageddon. However, in the battle of Armageddon, the battle is fought by Christ, not by the saints with Him. Moreover, it is not a fight at all – Christ speaks and the enemies fall dead. Aslan had to physically attack the witch.

Everything listed above is reason enough to avoid the book series. But if you assume there to be a parallel between this fiction and the Word of God, and if you assume Aslan is Christ, then there are some key elements that are wholly blasphemous.

In the parallel, it is assumed that the battle is between good and evil. Where Aslan is the leader of the good and the witch is the leader of the evil. If the parallel exists between the fiction and the Word of God, then you would have to assume that the witch represents Satan. The witch killed Aslan, and some power higher than Aslan allowed him to come back to life. There are several problems with this:
John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Jesus willingly gave his life for the sins of all mankind. Jesus' life was not taken from Him by His nemesis Satan. Satan does not have the power to take the life of any believer, let alone the Lord Jesus!
John 10:17-18 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
  • Aslan's life was restored by some other power or grace alluded to by the 'Deep Magic'. Jesus overcame the grave of His own accord and power. (Jn 10:17-18)
With the understanding of Lewis’ theology (based upon his own quotations), it is easy to see how he could be deluded into believing that his work was allegorical to the work of Christ. However, with that same understanding of Lewis’ misguided, if not blasphemous, theology, it is also impossible to see how a true believer in the Word of God, one in whom the Spirit of Truth dwells, could ever accept this work as an allegorical parallel to the Word of God. As a parent who loves and serves Christ, I could not allow my children to read this series.

Works Cited

Green, R. L. (2003). C.S. Lewis: A Biography. Harper Collins Entertainment.
Lewis, C. S. (1964). Reflections on the Psalms. Mariner Books.
Lewis, C. S. (1966). Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.
Lewis, C. S. (2000). The Case for Christianity. Broadman & Holman Pub.
Lewis, C. S. (2001). Miracles. Harper One.
Lewis, C. S. (2002). Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer. Mariner Books.
Lewis, C. S. (2003). Letters of C. S. Lewis. Mariner Books.
Lewis, C. S. (2009). The Great Divorce. Harper One.
Lews, C. S. (2001). The Problem of Pain. Harper One.


Anonymous said...

I agree that it probably isn't a good idea for children who are raised in a Christian home to read Lewis, but I think that for children who otherwise wouldn't be exposed to Christian ideas, it's a great series.

I was in the fourth grade when I read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe for the first time, and it spurred an interest in Christianity. When I was in college, I was lost, alone and confused. Finding my old copy of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was what convinced me to "try out" Christianity, and I stand today, nearly ten years later a saved man.

Kids who understand that witchcraft is a sin don't need to read this book. Lewis wrote a story about Aslan and the Witch instead of Jesus and Satan because Lewis wasn't writing for kids who already love Jesus, he was writing for kids who have no idea what Jesus's love feels like. For kids raised in the secular world who have grown up on a diet of Harry Potter and Twilight and wouldn't normally even THINK about picking up a Bible, I feel that the Narnia series is a subtle, effective introduction to Christianity.

Randy Ross said...

First, if it isn’t a good idea for one person to read something, then it probably isn’t a good idea for anyone to read it. It’s either right or wrong.

Aside from that, your argument makes a critical assumption, which is also a critical flaw. I did not grow up in church. I did not have parents who screened my reading material and I was not encouraged to read the Bible. In fact, I did not own a Bible until I was twenty-two years old. On the other hand, I loved science-fiction. That love of science fiction thoroughly confused me. In many ways, it detracted from my belief in Christ and in the Word of God. When I did finally accept Christ as my savior, there was a lot of “damage” which had to be undone.

As Lewis did, I believed (past tense) there were many paths to heaven. I believed we were all, ultimately, somehow children of God. I believed there was an over-riding good in the world and a slightly less powerful evil in the world. Still, I did not believe they were quite real. I knew Star Wars was fiction. I wasn’t convinced the Bible was not. Thankfully, the Lord, in mercy, worked in my heart and despite all this, I was saved in 1992.

So, why do I speak out about this series of books as opposed to the Star Wars saga? No one ever claimed Star Wars to be Christian. Today, we are surrounded by people who are foolishly being used by Lucifer to promote this garbage to children as allegory. There are people who actually compare Aslan to Christ. This position is heretical. As long as people are claiming this work is a Christian work or somehow allegory for Christ, I will speak against it. As long as Christian parents are spoon-feeding this garbage to their children, I will stand against it. As long as (so-called) Christian schools read it to their students, I will cry out against it. Lewis’ perverted allegory is worthy of outcry.

Finally, in case I wasn’t clear, Lewis’ work does not draw people to Christ, it drives people from Christ.