Case Studies in Greatness: Aslan

Saturday, July 18th, 2009 at 12:01 pm

We don’t meet Aslan until halfway through the book–and even then, we do not know Him by name. We know Him only by His actions. We know a voice, more beautiful than any other sound ever heard. We know a song, more beautiful than any other melody ever composed. We meet Aslan as a voice that can sing the world into existence.

Then, by the light which He Himself has created, we can finally see the Lion.

We see the Lion in contrast to Jadis, when Jadis’s blow glances off Him, bothering Him not in the least. Rather than using people for His own gain; we see Him going amongst the animals, choosing many for their own gain. While Jadis brought death to all creatures within her domain (even to the blades of grass), Aslan brings life to His domain–life beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. His chosen animals and trees and waters are not only living, but have souls. He gives them life, yes–but goes beyond to give them souls that they might love, think, speak. Where Jadis took everything she could from everyone, the Lion gives all that He has created to the creatures He has chosen.

The contrast between Aslan and Uncle Andrew also becomes apparent. Uncle Andrew’s first thought, in this new world where a torn crossbar grows into a new lamp-post, is to exploit it for his monetary gain. Aslan’s first action, after the creation of this marvelous world, is for its protection. He gathers a council to warn them of the entrance of evil into this world, He prepares a way by which the evil can be held off, and He states from the beginning that He intends for the worst effect of this evil to fall upon Himself.

Both Jadis and Uncle Andrew think themselves above the rules. But if anyone were above the rules, it would be Aslan. Surely the great power that created the entire world could break its rules–the very rules that He created. But Aslan does not break His rules, even when the rules mean that He must bear great pain. When Jadis ate the fruit of eternal youth (the fruit created at Aslan’s word), how easy would it have been for Aslan to have decided that the fruit would no longer bring eternal youth. But Aslan does not break His rules, any more than He would change His nature. Jadis will be forever young, and Aslan will suffer to make things right according to the rules which He has written.

Aslan is great because He is good. And if ever Aslan should cease to be good, His greatness would be diminished. He would be, not a great and benevolent king, but a petty and foolish ruler, such as Jadis and Andrew are. But thankfully, another aspect of Aslan’s greatness is His unchanging nature. He is good, He always was good, and He always will be good. And His goodness, His greatness, enlivens the entire world.

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