How Can the Lion Aslan Represent Christ in C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” When He Is Said “Not to Be Safe”?

Paul Tambrino, EdD, PhD

Ask Augustine with Dr. Paul Tambrino


Ask Augustine is a weekly column where professor/author Dr. Paul Tambrino discusses various theological questions with wit, clarity and substance.

Question #59 – How Can the Lion Aslan Represent Christ in C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” When He Is Said “Not to Be Safe”?

 

When the children in the movie “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” visit the Beavers and first hear about Aslan, they ask, “Is he safe?”

Immediately Mr. Beaver replies, “Oh no, Aslan is a lion! He is not safe, but He is good.”

With these words, C. S. Lewis does indeed paint an accurate picture of who Christ is.“Many of our pulpits today transform the lion of C. S. Lewis into something altogether different.”

Contemporary Christians have been presented with a friendly caricature of Christ; a Christ who is user-friendly, meek and mild, and safe.

Many of our pulpits today transform the lion of C. S. Lewis into something altogether different.

He has become a cuddly stuffed harmless lion; a lion who reacts to our every imagination and who serves us.

Indeed a “softer” view of God is more popular among many today, especially when it comes to beliefs about God’s wrath.

This is hardly news of course, as modern theology could be described as one long project intended to remake God in our image.“The Christ of Scripture and of C. S. Lewis requires our service to Him not only in love and gratitude, but also in reverence and godly fear.”

This modern theological view is a quintessential example of the modern mind at work.

First, confuse the reality of God’s wrath with human attempts to understand it. Second, dismiss the Bible as antiquated, oppressive, and outdated.

Third, suggest that liberation from the Bible’s oppressive text now frees us to “grow in God,” and to replace the God of the Bible with a vision of deity more in keeping with the spirit of the age.

The Christ of Scripture and of C. S. Lewis requires our service to Him not only in love and gratitude, but also in reverence and godly fear – for He is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29).

Serious worship ought to be done in spirit and truth, not from a post-modern perspective that suits and entertains us.

We would do well to agree with Lewis and Mr. Beaver. Aslan (Christ) is not safe, but He is good and we ought to worship Him with love and godly fear.

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