Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I finally finally finally finished The Last Battle. It was hard to get through for the first half and then I misplaced it for a while. I read through the last half or so this weekend and I could barely put it down. Not my favorite, but thinking about it the part that's stuck with me is about Emeth. In the book, he is from another country besides Narnia and has grown up serving the god Tash, seeking after him his whole life. At the center of the book is the plot an Ape takes to set up a false Aslan (puts a lion skin on him and tells everyone he's the real Aslan), and as part of that they say that Aslan and Tash are the same god by different names. Emeth, hoping to find the Tash he's always been looking for, goes where they've told him he is and meets Aslan.
"[Aslan said], Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him, for I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child? I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yes I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek."
Love this. I was so scared at first, afraid that it was going to say something like all roads lead to God. However, what C. S. Lewis did say reminded me a lot of what Rob Bell says: "I affirm the truth anywhere in any religious system, in any worldview. If it's true, it belongs to God." Now, I know this is a very slippery slope, one that with a little bit of off-kilter logic can turn this into something that defends the all roads lead to God deal. And I've said before that I've always been a little hesitant with Rob Bell's stuff. But I do love what this gets at, and the way C. S. Lewis says it drives it home. I've tried to restate it for fifteen minutes now, but it's no use. And C. S. Lewis says it a hundred times better anyway.

This gives me hope. I can't quite put my finger on exactly what I mean, but it has something to do with Emeth's desire for wisdom and understanding, in the way he sought what was true. The word that comes to mind here is earnest, maybe sincere. And of course honesty and truth can be synonymous with sincerity. It's what he said: "For all find what they truly seek." And Jeremiah, too: "
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (29:13)

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