Further up, further in

“I see,” [Lucy] said at last, thoughtfully. “I see now. This garden is like the Stable. It is far bigger inside than it was outside.”

“Of course, Daughter of Eve,” said the Faun. “The further up and the further in you go, the bigger everything gets. The inside is larger than the outside.”

Lucy looked hard at the garden and saw that it was not really a garden at all but a whole world, with its own rivers and woods and sea and mountains. But they were not strange: she knew them all.

“I see,” she said. “This is still Narnia, and more real and more beautiful than the Narnia down below, just as it was more real and more beautiful than the Narnia outside and Stable door! I see . . . world within world, Narnia within Narnia. . . . “

“Yes,” said Mr. Tumnus, “like an onion: except that as you continue to go in and in, each circle is larger than the last.”

-from The Last Battle, by C. S. Lewis

The Narnia books have always resonated with me. This is partly due to my perhaps overly romantic nature, partly from an upbringing steeped in Lewis and Ingalls and E.B. White, and partly from the way Lewis allegorizes the Christian experience.

Having been a follower of that wacky, unassuming Jesus guy for twenty-odd years, I’ve visualized my experience in a number of ways. Sometimes my faith his like a great burden, one which I have inextricably bound upon myself and am toiling with up the side of K2. Other times, though rarely,  it’s an adornment, like a great pair of Jimmy Choos or a buttery-soft Furla handbag. And still other times, it’s like a mirror in which I see myself, that kind of mirror used to apply makeup that enlarges your pores to mammoth proportions and exposes your flaws.

In the best (and worst) of times, though, my faith is like another Chronicle of Narnia.

In “The Last Battle”, the final installment of the Narnia books, Aslan (Christ) returns with the kids to Narnia to expose a false god that has led many Narnians astray. He remakes Narnia into something new (a parallel of Biblical teachings) and they begin the greatest adventure, the real adventure that is life with God.  Aslan and the kids are running joyously, and he’s calling “Further up! Further in!” as they move up the mountains as with wings.

A friend of mine and I were discussing faith vs. science, and she said that it was only through science that we could know truth. I told her that science was frequently wrong, and that science couldn’t answer a great many questions. “They’re always making new discoveries”, I said.

“But aren’t they always making new discoveries about God?” she asked. I hesitated. How to answer that? I know I am constantly discovering things about God, like his attributes and his grace and his love. But discovering those attributes doesn’t change the basic truth of Him, any more than scientists re-evaluating findings damages the scientific process.

I don’t believe I can answer all my questions. Not in this life. I’m living in anxious anticipation for the call to arms, the great Lion catching me up in his grasp and urging, “Further up, further in!”. Each circle larger than the last. World without end. And maybe, if I’m lucky, a faun or two.

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9 Responses to Further up, further in

  1. I love the Narnia books too. All of C.S. Lewis’ writings actually. I think your metaphors about the way your faith feels are wonderful. I could relate to every one of them – the mountain climb, the Jimmy Choos (though yes – not often), the mirror, and the whole new world, like Narnia.

    (My baby is 27 months.)

  2. faemom says:

    Such a great, thought provoking post. It’s just intense. I always think of science and faith wrapped around each other. Science trying to understand the physical. Faith trying to understand what’s untouchable. And everything is further in and further up 😉

  3. evenshine says:

    Fae- thanks. This week always gets me thinking.

  4. evenshine says:

    Amy- thanks. I think the journey of faith can be visualized many ways, depending on our experience and how we approach the roadblocks. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Very thought-provoking for today. I’m thinking it’s about time I reread the Narnia books.

    And I love you describe the paradox. Yes, we discover more about God all the time. But I think that has more to do with our limitations in understanding and maturity.

    Also – Who would want to continue following a god who you came to finally understand EVERYTHING about?

  6. Evenshine says:

    Steph- great points. And so many times it’s our own limitations that hold us back. Blessings.

  7. Very beautiful and thought provoking post, Evenshine. Thanks for writing it!

  8. evenshine says:

    Thanks, Minnie! Good to see you over here!

  9. KathyB! says:

    I very much enjoyed this post. I’m reading the Chronicles of Narnia to the girls before bed every night. We stop and try to delve into the nuance and we have had some interesting conversations about science and faith as a result.

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