“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.