Narnia, memory, and heaven

I’ve only read The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in the Lewis’ Narnia series (I started The Horse and His Boy, but never finished). What I have always found particularly fascinating is what I suppose you could call the questions of time and memory in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The kids stumble into Narnia and then spend at least a decade in Narnia, growing into royal adults, before accidentally stumbling back into the wardrobe as children once again.

I can’t recall: do they remember their time in Narnia? If so, what would it mean for a child who has experienced adulthood to once again become a child (but with adult memories)? Is this explored in later books in the series?

I started thinking about this because for some reason I was thinking about heaven (one of those streams-of-thought moments in which I can’t remember how I got from A to Z). From time to time I talk to our church’s youth about heaven and the Kingdom of God, emphasizing the notion that heaven isn’t out “there” somewhere (in space maybe? beyond the universe?), but in some sense all around us. N.T. Wright uses, I believe, the language of another “dimension” in which God rules (where his Kingdom exists and his will is done). At Christ’s return (and the descent of “heaven” to earth, cf. Revelation 21), it will be like a lifting of the veil between heaven and earth. This is helpful if uncomfortably science-fiction-y for some.

At the moment I’m wondering if Narnia is a helpful illustration of this as well (and perhaps Lewis meant it to be). To get to Narnia, the children don’t go more than a few footsteps through the wardrobe to get to Narnia. In a physical sense, Narnia is already where they are: stepping through the wardrobe was technically like stepping into the next room or through the outside wall of the house. They haven’t gone anywhere else than where they already were, other than into a different dimension which at the moment only they can see.

Is this a helpful or accurate way to describe the “location” of heaven? I don’t know. But it at least seems more accurate than the popular images and ideas of heaven “up there” somewhere.

2 thoughts on “Narnia, memory, and heaven

  1. Ian H.

    The memories the children have of Narnia play very much into the later books, particularly The Last Battle. Peter, Edmond and Lucy have continued to talk about Narnia and meet regularly with the Professor to talk Narnia. Susan dismisses the whole experience as a childish fantasy which is why *SPOILER* when they die in a train accident, she doesn’t make it back to Narnia with the rest of them.

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