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C. S. Lewis: “Course He Isn’t Safe. But He’s Good”

In chapter 8 of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Mr. Beaver talks about the experiences of Tumnus. He explains that Tumnus was arrested by Secret police under the White Witch’s spell (Lewis, 1950). Children, to whom Mr. Beaver was talking were scared and wanted to help Tumnus. However, Mr. Beaver told them that there was nothing they could do and that the only person who could assist was Aslan. The children wanted to know more about Aslan and, therefore, continued to ask questions. Mr. Beaver told them that Aslan was the true King of their land and not the Witch, who in the story, was the Queen (Lewis, 1950). He continues to tell them that Aslan was not always around, but when he was present, everything returned to normalcy. The children asked Mr. Beaver whether Aslan was a man and he answered that he was not a man but rather a Lion. The children got scared and stated that they would be terrified to face a Lion. However, Mr. Beaver reassured them that despite being a Lion, he was good, since he protected Narnia.

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C.S. Lewis did not only write The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to serve as an entertaining narrative for children, but also to show a different perspective of the nature of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the story serves as a representative of Christ’s resurrection and God’s nature, and His relationship with His creation, specifical man. From this statement, “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good” (Lewis, 1950, 91), there are numerous meanings that one can derive. I think that this statement means that an individual preparing to follow God should not expect the journey to be painless and smooth as described by parents to their children. For instance, during my early childhood, the description of God in Sunday Schools was pleasant rhetorical. These stories told often highlighted heroic tales of David and Goliath and narratives of encouragement and love. However, this is not the case in the real world, especially when it comes to matters concerning following God.

I do not believe that Christ is safe because He is an all-powerful being capable of great deeds. As such, just as represented as the Lion by Lewis, people are supposed to fear Him. What people need to learn from this is that when they need to approach Christ, they should humble themselves. While praying, individuals must beg for his mercy because He was a mysterious deity. When they do this, they stand to gain important elements in life such as security and stability (Fassler, 2014). Furthermore, as described in Lewis’ narrative, the Lion King is not consistently available; however, when he is, people are protected from the Witch’s actions. Mr. Beaver speaks with a hopeful tone that assures the children that everything will be well when they seek the help of Aslan. I believe that this can be compared to God, since He provides hope, protection, and cares about His subjects. Despite individuals not being able to see Him, they can always depend on him when in dire situations.

I think the word “safe” does not have any literal meaning; however, it exists to explain to people that they should not expect everything to be well while following Christ. Today, most people believe that when an individual is a follower of Christ then everything becomes easier. Safe, in this case, may refer to the circumstances that an individual may encounter while on the path of Christianity. There are numerous challenges that one may expect that Christ would protect them from. However, these challenges are part of the process of gaining more trust in Him. What matters is how these individuals gain insight and how they overcome the situation. His goodness comes when you have learned about different life elements and how an individual approaches Him at the moment of need. If one does not seek Him in the right manner, just as the Lion Aslan, He can be frightening and dangerous.

From Lewis’ description of Aslan, it is clear that Aslan literally terrifies the people of Narnia because of his track record. In the book, the land of Narnia is under a wicked Witch who falsely accuses Tumnus of treason and, therefore, she sentences him to death (Fassler, 2014). However, Aslan demonstrates an act of compassion and sacrifices himself. He is killed, but after three days, he resurrects and frees every prisoner that the Witch had. A great battle ensues in which the Witch is killed by Aslan. Similarly, this is the case of the bible where Jesus sacrifices himself for the sins of mankind (Wann, 2021). Only an almighty being is capable of coming back to life after being killed. Therefore, this is enough to elicit fear in people’s hearts. Furthermore, Christ did not fear death and, therefore, was willing to sacrifice himself for his people. These track records are proof enough that Christ literally terrifies his subjects.

Christ is good because He is prepared to do everything within his power to protect his followers. He expresses immeasurable love to His people by offering Himself as the ultimate sacrifice. Lewis expresses this love in his book through Aslan’s actions of replacing himself with Tumnus. I believe that no human being is capable of such kindness. Therefore, even though he is not safe, He still protects and cares for His followers. From the story, despite Aslan being known to people, he was not around when they were undergoing challenges. The Witch imprisoned those who opposed her and accused others such as Tumnus wrongly. Nevertheless, when Aslan came, everything was restored to normal and people rejoiced. Similarly, this is the case with following Christ and as such, people should expect difficulties along the way, but He will always offer protection.

Chapter eight describes the character of Aslan to resemble the behaviors of Christ. Mr. Beaver’s references tacitly imply his supreme benevolence, superpower, and immortality. These expressions clearly depict Aslan as a divine deity, capable of great deeds. This supernatural being referred to, in this case, represents Christ in the real world. He presents Aslan as the Lion King who should be feared because of his past actions. However, at the same time, he makes it known that he is good. Additionally, he presents Aslan as not safe and that he is frightening and dangerous. This can be compared to Christ who has great powers, while at the same time can be terrifying and menacing. Nevertheless, this should not stop his followers from seeking help from him because he will protect, stabilize and care for them.

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References

Fassler, J. (2014). Confronting reality by reading fantasy. The Atlantic.

Lewis, C. S. (1950). The chronicles of Narnia: The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe. London, England: Geoffrey Bles Publishing.

McGrath, A. (2013). CS Lewis–A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Wann, L. (2021). Always good, never safe. Desiring God.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "C. S. Lewis: “Course He Isn’t Safe. But He’s Good”." October 22, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/c-s-lewis-course-he-isnt-safe-but-hes-good/.

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