In Lewis’s book the chronicles of Narnia, there are several Christian themes that can be identified in the story despite the author’s use of mythology. The story runs parallel to the first books of the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament. However, the author of the book did not intend for it to be a Christian novel, rather a children’s novel.
Despite this, his Christian background is portrayed in the novel and it gives a Christian connotation to the novel. As a result, several Christian themes can be traced from the story. This essay intends to analyze the various Christian themes that are found in the novel.
A theme that is identified in the novel is that of incredulity. Susan, while hiding in the wardrobe finds herself in a new and strange world called Narnia. She meets new creatures on this side of the world and when she goes back, she excitedly tells her siblings of the adventure she has gone through while in the wardrobe.
However, her siblings doubt her and due to their disbelief, Susan encourages them to go into the wardrobe and experience it for themselves but nothing happens while they are there which causes them to think that Lucy is having mental problems otherwise known as hallucination.
In the bible it is this same disbelief the disciples had when they were told that Jesus had resurrected from the tomb. In fact peter runs to the tomb to verify but he finds linen that had covered Jesus by itself (Brennan 4).
Deception and greed are other themes that can be identified from the chronicles of Narnia. Edmund is a character in the book who deceives the others. First he does not confess that he was able to go to a new country that is Narnia to the other siblings when he gets back. Instead he keeps it a secret causing the others to think that Susan is hallucinating.
His deceiving act is motivated by his greed when he is given the Turkish delight by the white witch. In exchange for the Turkish delight, he gives the witch a lot of information and also promises to exchange his siblings for more Turkish delight “Turkish Delight and to be a prince” (Lewis 82).
This can be compared to Judas who betrays Jesus and the 12 disciples in exchange for 30 silver coins. Greed for the Turkish delight as well as for power drives Edmund to deception and betrayal just as Judas is driven by greed for money to betray Jesus.
Hospitality in the Chronicles of Narnia is another Christian theme that can be identified in the novel. When Susan arrives in Narnia she meets Tumnus whom even though had ill intentions at first, he later on welcomes her to his home for tea and treats her well.
Also on Susan’s second visit to Narnia with her siblings, they find out that Tumnus was arrested by the white which. Luckily, the robin comes to their aid and after a trip to the forest, he takes them to Mr. Beavers home where they are given dinner by Mr. Beaver’s wife. Through out the bible, people are encouraged to show hospitality to one another.
From the Old Testament to the New Testament there are incidences of hospitality where prophets and disciples were welcomed and housed in different houses. “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” (The King James Version, Mat. 10.14)
Sacrifice is another Christian theme in the Chronicles of Narnia. In the book the White Witch betrays Edmund by deciding to kill him so that the prophecy that four humans would overpower her and rule over Narnia would not occur. Aslan learns of this and sacrifices to die instead of Edmund.
Due to Edmunds’ greed which is sin, he lays himself in a trap. Aslan redeems him by sacrificing himself to die. In the same way Jesus sacrificed his life for the sake of man in order to redeem man from sin which was caused by Adam and Eve’s decision to eat the fruit that God had told them not to eat.
By disobeying God and eating the fruit, Adam and Eve laid the rest of humankind in a trap which is sin and only Christ could redeem man from sin by sacrificing his life on behalf of the entire human race (Jacobs 7).
There is also the theme of redemption that can be identified from the novel. The inhabitants of Narnia had been cast under a spell by the White Witch for a long period of time.
The reign that would be brought about by the humans would redeem the whole of Narnia from this spell and then the inhabitants would enjoy the four seasons instead of having winter as the only season. When Aslan sacrifices himself and dies instead of Edmund, he resurrects “It is more magic.’ They looked round.
There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again), stood Aslan himself.” (Lewis 147). He later on joins peter and Edmund in a battle against the White witch. Aslan kills the White Witch and the whole of Narnia is redeemed from the witches reign and the land of Narnia enjoys peace.
In the same way Jesus is killed but then he resurrects and conquers the result of sin which is death as he resurrects. While conquering death, Jesus redeems man from bondage that is in form of sin. Man is thus freed from sin and this is the redemption that Jesus was bringing on earth just as Narnia was redeemed from the witches reign.
Finally, wickedness is a theme that runs throughout the novel. Witchcraft is evil and it is this that is a source of great distress for the people of Narnia “Before the new, clean world I gave you is seven hours old, a force of evil has already entered it; waked and brought hither by this son of Adam,” says Aslan (Lewis 126).
Wickedness is also evidenced by Edmund’s greed when he decides to hide the truth about his meeting with the White Witch and his plot to be the only king of Narnia once his siblings are captured by the witch. Deception is wicked and so is sorcery which is forbidden in the bible.
Wickedness is a Christian theme since all of human suffering is grounded on the basis of evil which was introduced by Satan I the world. The source of wickedness in Narnia sprouts from the white witch. “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (The King James Version, Gen. 6.5)
The chronicles of Narnia depict the wickedness and good present in everyday life in style that can reach out to children. It also utilizes Christian values and the moral of the story is written in a way that captures the attention of the reader who in this case is a child. The book is interesting for both adults and children and the Christian themes in it make it a source of interest for Christian theologians.
Brennan, Matt. The Lion, the Witch and the Allegory: An Analysis of Selected Narnia Chronicles. Into the wardrobe, (n.d). 12 May 2011.
Jacobs, Alan. The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis. San Francisco: Harper, 2005.
Lewis, Staples. The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. New York: Macmillan publishers, 1988.
The King James Version. Ed. Asimov, Isaac. New York, NY: Avenel Books, 1981