The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a great book and is influential in Christian thought. Indeed Aslan presents us with a great image of Jesus Christ but there is one thing I believe is incorrect.
You know the part. Edmund is rescued from the White Witch. Then she comes and demands him back. As the story continues, she and Aslan have a discussion before the epic crucifixion scene. It is this discussion that I have a problem with. The specifics are not mentioned but what is certain is that the Witch is making a legal claim on Edmund.
Isn’t the witch making a bit of an assumption here? There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that Satan has a legal claim over fallen humanity. Satan doesn’t own them. Nor does God have to buy them back off him. Yet isn’t this the line of thinking line behind the witch’s claim?
What I find equally strange is that Aslan and the Witch meet to work out a deal. Is there anything wrong with this? Not if the Witch is the equal counterpart to Aslan, but she is not. Satan is not equal in power to Jesus. Aslan is sovereign but the Witch is not. In the grand scheme of things, what Aslan says goes. When we simply equate Satan with the Witch, we give him too much power.
Secondly isn’t this all a bit of a gamble. What if the witch refused to accept Aslan’s offer? She is the one who holds all the cards and is able to decide the fate of Edmund. All that Aslan can do is make an offer and hope the witch takes it up. If we translate this directly over to the Biblical story then the implication is that the entirety of God’s salvation plan hinged upon Satan’s agreement. A simple ‘No’ from Satan would have ended it all? All hope for salvation is lost. In this story it seems like the one who has all the power is Satan, not God. It is difficult to reconcile this view with the sovereignty of God.
Jesus as a Ransom
At the heart of the issue here is the atonement. Jesus’ work on the cross was a ransom according to the Bible. But the ransom wasn’t paid to Satan. Rather, the concept of the ransom deals with victory over sin and death. God’s righteous judgement subjects us all because we are all sinners. The wonderful news is that Jesus ransoms us from it. Jesus is victorious over the curse of sin and he also delivers us.
This shows us something. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a great book and there are some good gospel messages within it. In the context of the story the event works, and works well. Without it the story would not fit together properly. Undoubtedly Aslan gives us a rich picture of Jesus but like all analogies we should not try to push the point too far.