Monday, July 1, 2013

CREATION (part 3)


Lewis’s take on the creation account in the Magician’s Nephew is a striking attempt at capturing the beauty in which the world as we know it was created.  His vibrant descriptions paint a created world which makes the reader feel the significance of creation.  As Jonathan Rogers puts it, “You’ve heard it so many times you may have lost the ability to marvel at the most marvelous, and perhaps the most fundamental of Christian truths: the natural world is of supernatural origin.”[1]  The story of Adam and Eve has become an overused story through Sunday School lessons, children’s Bibles and Vacation Bible Schools in our culture. 

Yet Lewis, through his gift of writing, creates a world that evokes feeling and emotions which the Biblical narrative of creation just cannot do. 

Though it is evident that Adam and Eve are recognized even in Narnia as the created beings of earth, the land of Narnia takes on an entirely different – yet similar – creation story.  God speaks the world into being, while Aslan, the Great Lion, sings his land of Narnia into being.  This smooth and “most beautiful noise”[2] brought light and vegetation and animals to the world, which is an impressive testament to the created things of the world as well.  

Lewis clearly understood the phenomenon of creation by the way he described two wonders during Narnia’s creation.  One was the harmony of voices, “more voices than you could possibly count.”[3]  The other wonder “was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars…one moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leapt out.”[4]  If this gives any testament to the Genesis account of “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3 NIV), then it surely paints a more vivid picture and understanding of the massive change the world had just experienced.  

In fact, I cannot help but wonder if there is a hint of C.S. Lewis represented by the Cabby who responds to the creation scene by stating, “I’d h’a been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.”[5]  Perhaps this was his way of inserting his regrets of not understanding God’s beauty and grace sooner in life.

The remainder of the creation story in chapter 9 of The Magician’s Nephew is primarily focused on the animals and humans.  After identifying a lion as the source of the song of creation, the land of Narnia begins its growth through the musical undertones.  

As he walked and sang, the valley grew green with grass…making that young world every moment softer.  Soon there were other things besides grass,”[6] like trees and mountains and flowers.  Nature grew right in front of the small crew of people from London.  They were able to witness life from the beginning as trees sprouted quickly as the “great Lion, Aslan”[7] sang nature into creation.  

The next thing he focused upon is the birth of animals.  The Lion’s song changes and the land swells into humps which “moved and swelled till they burst, and the crumbled earth poured out of them, and from each hump there came out an animal.”[8]  This interesting creation of animals brings about dogs and moles and frogs and panthers and all sorts of new life.  

Lewis is clear in Mere Christianity that he understood the act of God creating as “begetting, not making, because what He produces is of the same kind of Himself,[9] and it is evident that Narnia has a similar beginning.  The song of the Lion is soon overtaken by the new noises of the animals who join in their creator’s song, emphasizing that “Narnia was quite a different world from ours.”[10]

[1] Jonathan Rogers, The World According to Narnia: Christian Meaning in C.S. Lewis's Beloved Chronicles (New York: FaithWords, 2005), 153-4.
[2] C.S. Lewis, “The Magician’s Nephew” in The Chronicles of Narnia, 1st American ed. (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 61.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid, 62.
[6] Ibid, 65.
[7] Kilby, 118.
[8] Lewis, Magician’s Nephew, 69.
[9] Lewis, Mere Christianity, 151.
[10] Kilby, 120.

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