Ok, so, what did I get up to this weekend? In brief: on Friday evening, I went to see “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” at the cinema with Sarah & Jon and Philippa. On Saturday, in the morning I went into town to get my hair cut, and then in the afternoon lazed around watching Futurama. I had dinner at Philippa’s, Luci was with us as well as she was staying for the weekend. It was good to see her again, albeit briefly 🙂 And then afterwards we dropped Luci off on campus and went to mine to watch some of the Star Wars documentary. Yesterday, in the morning we went to Fordham for ‘Lessons & Carols’, and then had lunch. In the afternoon, we went to Simon’s for mulled wine and mince pies, which was rather nice!
Then, we treated ourselves to a curry from the Bengal Tiger in Wivenhoe, and went round to Alex’s to watch “Love Actually” (the second time I’ve seen it in a month, but still. Elisa hadn’t seen it so Alex wanted her to watch it…)
I think that’s just about it. One more thing though – I said I was going to talk about Narnia!
I have to say, I thought it was brilliant. It was really well done, and quite faithful to the book for the most part! I really think they managed to capture the spirit of the book. And it definitely made me think about some Christian things a bit more!
One thing which Phil pointed out to me which I hadn’t noticed before related to what I was reading about in “Consuming Passion” a few months ago. It’s basically this: in the book (and the film), the demand for sacrifice comes not from Aslan, but from the White Witch. This is a bit different to how a lot of conservative Christian theologians seem to view it, i.e. seeing God as the wrathful one imposing punishment on Jesus (what Steve Chalke called ‘cosmic child abuse’!). Maybe they’re not so different, but in the ‘wrathful’ interpretation wrath seems to be the operative force, whereas in the other interpretation justice seems to be the operative force.
Just some random musings there, I haven’t really solidified any kind of clear thoughts on it yet!
6 thoughts on “The Weekend, and Narnia2 min read”
I’d be slightly careful about using C.S. Lewis’ interpretation as a control on what the Bible claims. In any case, I’m not sure that Lewis does claim that the demand for sacrifice comes from the White Witch. “The Deep Magic” demands that treachery is punished with death. Aslan, knowing the “deeper magic” willingly offers himself in Edmund’s place – the White Witch does not demand Aslan’s death, only that the “justice” of the deep magic be fulfilled – that treachery is punished with death. The fact that the White Witch carries out the sacrifice is probably the low point in Lewis’ allegory but the key point is that, as with Christ, Aslan is a willing victim. He suffers the consequences of Edmund’s actions (judgement or wrath) but he goes willingly.
This is why the Steve Chalke line is so ridiculous. Of course, what Jesus suffered on the cross was terrible as he faced the full force of God’s anger for all human sin but to call him an unwitting victim is wrong and thoroughly unbiblical. You only have to read the account in Gethsemane to see that Jesus made a willing and conscious choice to obey the Father’s will and go to the cross.
And to be honest, if Jesus is not taking the punishment on the cross for our sins, then the whole thing becomes a little bit pointless and, if anything its more of a case of cosmic child abuse cos God sent Jesus to die a horrific death for absolutely no good reason. I’d recommend reading Ben Cooper’s book “Just Love” as it deals very clearly with the issue of how a loving God can punish sin.
Hope this helps your thinking – and do come back to me!
Thanks for your comment!
I think I may have been slightly misleading when I quoted Steve Chalke — I in no way meant to suggest that Jesus was an unwitting victim! And I definitely didn’t mean to suggest that Jesus didn’t take the punishment for our sins on the cross 🙂
My point was really about the emphasis placed on the events, not so much on the meaning of the events themselves.
One thing I said to Phil before was that the ‘Deeper Magic’ could be bound up with justice. God had to punish us (or Jesus) in order that justice may be served. What I was thinking about was, a lot of people seem to present that in a “God is wrathful because we are all depraved” way; I was thinking perhaps another way of looking at it would be to say God, in order to satisfy justice, would have to punish us — even if it were to break his heart.
With all this emphasis on wrath, it makes it sound like God wants or even enjoys punishing us, which I don’t think is true.
Sorry if I was a bit unclear in my post, as you can tell I haven’t really thought this through properly! 🙂
Incidentally, I found another blog post which is sort of about this and explains it a bit better over here: http://blog.simon-cozens.org/post/view/1008
I think God’s wrath and his justice go together. God’s wrath is not the flying off the handle anger of a power-crazed tyrant nor the sadistic vengeance of a divine bully. I think the righteous anger that Jesus showed in overturning tables in the Temple shows us a glimpse of what this is like. It’s the perfectly just anger in response to the wickedness and rebellion of mankind. Of course God doesn’t enjoy it, just as no good parent enjoys punishing their children, but it must be done.
Because God is perfectly right and just and holy, he is rightly angered when those he lovingly created act in rebellion against him – not like us who just as easily get angry when we don’t get our own selfish way! God’s perfect justice means that he is angered by wrong doing and that he must act to punish that. This means his wrath, his righteous anger and judgement on those rebelling against him. There must be a great extent of pain for him to do it – especially to the created beings he made to love him and relate to him. And this is why Jesus comes to die on the cross, so that God’s justice and wrath are satisfied, that the punishment is taken so that there is a way that humans can be spared God’s judgement and can relate to him as his children.
If we lose the rightness of God’s anger at our sin, if we lose the reality of God’s wrath then we lose a huge aspect of what Jesus has saved us from and we forget how seriously God takes our sin – so seriously that it took his one and only Son to die in our place. Sure, God’s “wrath” doesn’t make us comfortable, but it’s a big part of what the Bible teaches about what happened on the cross and what remains for those who don’t cling to Christ for salvation.
God’s wrath is his justice … the merciful news is that we need no longer be under that wrath. See Romans 1-4!
Thanks for that Joe – certainly gives me more to think about! Over the past few months I’ve been exposed to a lot of different ideas and had to think things through, some which were actually quite revolutionary to me. I guess my ‘theology’ (as it were) is going through a bit of a formative period – not that I’m turning liberal wishy-washy, or going ultra-conservative, but just I’m trying to juggle what I’ve been reading and thinking about.
I certainly don’t think asking questions is a bad thing and I’m sure I’ll come out stronger after it! If there is an ‘after’ it, that is – it seems to me that the more I learn, the more I realise how much there is to be learnt…
Well do keep asking questions and thinking about things! I’m doing just the same about all kinds of stuff. After all, God gave us brains to think and understand. John Chapman, a great Aussie evangelist has a great line on what to do on a wet Sunday afternoon. Turn off the TV, Engage brain, Use it! No one ever died from using their brain too much – many have died from not using it enough!