Aslan vs. Tash

This is a exerpt from on of C.S. Lewis’ lesser known pieces. Beware: You may have to read it more than once…it’s a little hard to grasp. To be honest, I can’t figure out what Lewis is trying to communicate, so I thought that the blognation could help. Tell me what you think.

* In this story, a soldier has gone through something anaologous to the doorway of death. This soldier has served a false god named Tash all his life, and he comes upon a great Lion named Aslan, who represents Christ.

” In a narrow place between two rocks there came to meet me a great Lion. The speed of him was like the ostrich, and his size was an elephant’s; his hair was like pure gold and the brightness of his eyes, like gold that is liquid in the furnace…In beauty he surpassed all that is in the world, even as the rose in bloom surpasses the dust of the desert. Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honor) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be [king] of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down and touched my forehead with his tougue and 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 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.”

– Letters to Malcolm, C.S. Lewis


7 Responses

  1. That doesn’t make any Damn sense!

  2. I think that Aslan is saying that if you do good deeds, even if in the name of Tash (satan), he rewards you. If you do bad deeds in the name of God (Aslan), then it serves satan.
    My question is with the soldier saying “I’m not your child, I serve Tash.” and Aslan basically saying it doesn’t matter, you’re welcome into heaven anyway because you did good deeds and you sought me even though you didn’t know it.
    Sounds a little shady. C.S.Lewis expert I am not. Maybe he’s saying that a person’s good works only benefit God. Is he saying that non-Christians get to heaven by their good works even though they don’t know God?

  3. that is my exact question…good assement, tapp. Thanks for the insight.

  4. Is J.Tapp the only playa that has a thought regarding this ambiguous Lewis story? Somebody speak up…I want to hear what you think.

  5. i am in the chronicles of narnia now and the are kickin!!!

  6. Matthew 25: 31-46 The Sheep and the Goats

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    from Wikipedia:

    The Sheep and the Goats or “The Judgment of the Nations” was a discourse of Jesus recorded in the New Testament. It is sometimes characterized as a parable, although unlike most parables it does not purport to relate a story of events happening to other characters.

    One explanation is that it tells of the Last Judgment, and the division of all the world’s people into the blessed, who are welcomed by the Father, and the cursed, who are cast out. The division is entirely based on the acts of kindness and mercy done by people to their disadvantaged fellow men; Jesus identifies such kindness with kindness towards himself.

  7. Firstly we have to acknowledge the characteristics of the two given from the book. The two are polar opposites: Aslam is goodness in entirety and Tash is evilness in entirety.

    We have to remember in context that Shift the scheming ape, Ginger the duplicitous cat tricked the Narnians into believing that Aslan and Tash were one of the same, called Tashlan. The Narnians having know of Aslam’s nature thought this was ridiculous, but were unable to rebuke the claims.

    This concept of doing good in Tash’s name is fundamentally wrong from Christian theological viewpoint as Tash is the representation of the devil. But because the confused Narnians believed that they were serving Tashlan (both Aslan and Tash as one entity), that means that any good they did could only be in the name of Aslam (as you could do no good for Tash) and vice versa.

    I don’t think C.S Lewis was hinting at his support with pluralism at all. He simply created a plot device in which confused Narnians were serving Tashlan the contradictory entity (who was fully good and fully bad). The misunderstanding was cleared by the kind hearted and forgiving Aslan.

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