Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Missing Villain

If C. S. Lewis's The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe were told in the same manner that lots of evangelizing Christians (Ray Comfort is one example) told the story of Christ and the situation of sinful humanity, the story might go rather like this:
     The four Pevensie children play hid-and-seek in the old professor's house. Lucy enters the wardrobe, and as the actual story Lewis wrote, meets Mr. Tumnus the faun in the wintry Narnian woods. Tumnus explains to her how the world is under the curse of eternal winter, as the result of the sin of one of her race entering Narnia long ago (this is canonically true, in fact, in the stories Lewis wrote--the entire story is told in The Magician's Nephew). She returns through the wardrobe, but her siblings refuse to believe her story. When Lucy revisits Tumnus, Edmund follows her through the wardrobe. When Lucy tells him the reason for the eternal winter, he refuses to recognize his own sinfullness. Later, when all three children enter Narnia, they encounter the Beavers. They tell the children how Aslan has returned to Narnia, and intends to put an end to the terrible winter. But he can only do so if the children are willing to admit their sinful nature and accept him as their lord. Peter Susan and Lucy agree, and are eager to meet the Great Lion. Edmund, however rebels and heads off into the snow storm alone. The others search, but are unable to find him. But Mr. Beaver tells them that only Aslan can save their brother. They head in the direction of the stone table. Along the way, the eternal winter begins to break.  They meet with Aslan and his followers at the Stone Table. Meanwhile, Edmund has been captured by some evil creatures who intend to sacrifice him. But Aslan sends his followers to save Edmund. However, the Narnians, both good and evil, remind Aslan that Edmund must die to appease the wrath the Emporer Beyond the Sea, because he is a traitor. But Aslan offers to shed his own blood in Edmund's place. Edmund's former captors take Aslan and slay him on the Table, and Emporer's wrath is satisfied. But Aslan returns to life. Edmund aknowledges Aslan as Lord. All of the children now take their places as the rightful kings and queens of Narnia. The End.
      I think it's obvious who it is that's missing in this version of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. And it's rather curious in how evangelists trying to convert people to Christ almost always leave out the the White Witch's allagorical counterpart, namely Satan. This leaves a disturbing impression that God the Father (the Emporer in Lewis's tale), is the real "bad guy", and Christ is rescuing us from Him. But Lewis got it right. It's Satan, not God, who hates humanity and who ultimately works for our destruction. The true story of Christ sacrifice is that of his triumph over the devil. I have very little doubt that, just as in Lewis's fictitious allagory, Satan thought that he had triumphed by killing the Son of God. I have no doubt that Satan is the author of evil in this world. True, he works upon humanity's inborn inclination toward sin, just as the White Witch played on Edmud's selfish nature in the story. But think about it. The Romans who tortured and killed Christ were undoubtedly tools of Satan, whether wittingly or unwittingly.
     Why is Satan left out entirely when the story of Christ's sacrifice is told, whether by atheists or by evangalicals? That is more than a bit of a mystery, but I suspect that Satan may have a hand in that as well. Belief in the devil's existence may seem to some a bit more superstitious than belief in God. I'm really sure why that is; both are supernatural entities after all. If belief in an all-good spiritual being is not too far-fetched, why not being that personifies evil?  Maybe all the caricatures of the devil as red-skinned, pitchfork-wielding horned creature have something to do with it. Personally I don't think Satan has a physical form at all. But leaving the devil out of the picture has more than its share of consequences.

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