The Singer

Posted on October 7, 2011 by


If you are reading The Chronicles of Narnia in the order in which they were originally written (as I first did), then The Magician’s Nephew will not be your first glimpse of Aslan. But if it is, then it is a spectacular introduction. The first picture we have of this most central of Lewis’ characters is that of the Creator who takes boundless joy in his creation. He brings the world into existence through an immeasurably beautiful song.

But the song is not beautiful to everyone. Uncle Andrew and Jadis cannot stand it.

 Uncle Andrew’s mouth was open too, but not open with joy. He looked more as if his chin had simply dropped away from the rest of his face. His shoulders were stooped and his knees shook. He was not liking the Voice. If he could have got away from it by creeping into a rat’s hole, he would have done so. But the Witch looked as if, in a way, she understood the music better than any of them. Her mouth was shut, her lips were pressed together, and her fists were clenched… She hated it. She would have smashed that whole world, or all worlds, to pieces, if it would only stop the singing.

This is possibly one of the most important truths in The Magician’s Nephew. What you hear – what you understand – depends on what sort of a person you are. Just as Uncle Andrew and the Witch hated Aslan’s song of creation, so too Uncle Andrew at least is completely unable to understand the speech of Aslan or the Talking Beasts because he has deluded himself into thinking that none of it is real.

 For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are…

 And the longer and more beautiful the Lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring. Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. Uncle Andrew did. He soon did hear nothing but roaring in Aslan’s song.

Today we are often as guilty and as foolish as Uncle Andrew. We read the Scriptures and we see what we want to see, we hear what we want to hear. And so if we find passages such as the Genesis account to be archaic and foolish, because it does not match up with what godless scientists have told us, then very soon the Genesis account becomes archaic and meaningless. If we find the admonitions towards sexual morality in the epistles to be uncomfortable or stifling, suddenly we find reasons to dismiss them as uninspired (or at least, the parts of them that make us hot under our collars).

In His Word, God has given us an infallible, inerrant, wholly inspired song. Throughout His Word God sings to us (many times literally) of His holiness, His glory, and His grace. He is singing to us – and we hear unintelligent roaring. Not because that is all there is to hear, but because we want to hear it.