Biblical Truth in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
By Christin Ditchfield
Take It to Heart Ministries
CBN.com “By this time either they had grown much smaller or the picture had grown bigger. Eustace jumped to try to pull it off the wall and found himself standing on the frame; in front of him was not glass but real sea, and wind and waves rushing right up to the frame as they might to a rock. He lost his head and clutched at the other two who had jumped up beside him. There was a second of struggling and shouting, and just as they thought they had got their balance a great blue roller surged up round them, swept them off their feet, and drew them down into the sea.”
– The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader
After falling through a picture in England, Edmund and Lucy and their cousin Eustace suddenly find themselves sailing aboard the Dawn Treader in the Great Eastern Ocean off the coast of Narnia. It’s been three years in Narnian time, since the Pevensies’ last adventure. The land is at peace; all is well. And so King Caspian has begun a quest to find the Seven Lords who disappeared from Narnia during his evil uncle’s reign.
Reepicheep, the Chief Mouse, has a higher hope – a greater ambition:
“Why should we not come to the very eastern end of the world? And what might we find there? I expect to find Aslan’s country.”
The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader is a series of adventures, a story of many spiritual journeys. For Caspian, Edmund, and Lucy, it is a journey of spiritual maturity. They will have numerous opportunities to put into practice the admonition of Romans 12:9-21: “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality… rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
For Reepicheep, the voyage is the climax or culmination of the journey of his life. He has “fought the good fight” (2 Timothy 4:7) and now his eyes are firmly fixed on eternity. Soon he will experience the fulfillment of his lifelong dream, to be in Aslan’s country (Heaven). He can wait no longer. “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” (Psalm 84:2)
For Eustace, it’s a journey of transformation. He arrives in Narnia as a mean, selfish, obnoxious child who makes life miserable for everyone on board the ship. But when Eustace is transformed into a dragon, the scales fall from his eyes (Acts 9:18). He sees himself for the miserable sinner that he is – and realizes his need for a Savior. In one of the most powerful illustrations of a conversion experience in The Chronicles, Aslan comes to Eustace’s rescue and releases him from the imprisonment of his dragon self. Eustace literally casts off the outer man – the old nature – the flesh, to become a new creature.(2 Corinthians 5:17) “He began to be a different boy…”
When he wrote The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis thought he was completing The Chronicles of Narnia. There is clearly a sense of finality: The journey comes to a close at the shores of Aslan’s country and the Pevensie children are told that that their adventures in Narnia have come to an end.
In the very last scene, Lewis makes the most explicit reference to the “story within the story” – and the purpose for his writing The Chronicles. Aslan tells the children that although they will not meet him in Narnia again, they can know him in their own world:
“But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
This and many other spiritual treasures will you discover as you embark on The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader.
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Excerpted from A Family Guide to the Bible: Biblical Truths in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia by Christin Ditchfield, Crossway Books, 2003. Used with Permission.
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