What If Zeus Appeared on Our Doorsteps Today?
In this post, I talked about the overall Christian worldview in the Chronicles of Narnia, with its principles character being of course Aslan, the Story Writer within the story.
This story writer I will now attempt to define more closely. And I think the best way to get to know him is by starting with the negative definition: what Aslan is not like. By so doing, I shall set to work like a sculptor who takes a slab of rock and chips off everything that does not belong to his envisioned piece of art. With each stroke of the hammer, the form of the actual sculpture will become more defined.
The first bold stroke of the hammer, which will drive the chisel deep into the rock and wedge off a considerable part, is the issue of polytheism. C. S. Lewis did not believe in one god among many. Aslan is not the “local deity” of Narnia, because then he could hardly be its creator.
Lewis understood that gods without a capital “G” cannot possibly have created all that exists. Only a self-existing Being is capable of doing so, and a “local deity” is not self-existing. Its existence is always derived from something else. If such a being created the universe, he (or she or it) would himself be living in another universe, and the question would be who (or what) created that universe. And so we could go on indefinitely and never reach an answer. This is a well-known issue in philosophy and has often been called the “infinite regress.”
For this reason the gods do not, in fact, deserve the high name of “God.” They are only “gods” in the sense of “immortals” or “super-humans,” but not in the sense I am trying to define. They are not ultimate existence. They are not the basic Fact from which all other fact-hood is derived. Even supposing there are such gods, they would be mere products of something higher and included within it. If Zeus bodily appeared on our doorsteps today, our search for ultimate reality would still not be over.
More “hammer strokes” in another post.