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In C.S. Lewis’ book The Last Battle – his conclusion to the Narnia series – we experience something unique – we get to the end of this children’s book to find that all of the child heroes from earlier in the series are dead.
In those last chapters, Lewis presents his Platonic Christian view of heaven. The characters realize that the “real Narnia” is what they are entering into, while the old Narnia that they thought was so marvelous is actually merely a shadow of this real Narnia.
Therefore, as we make sense of Lewis’ analogy, compared to heaven we are figuratively living in the shadowlands of heaven while here on earth.
Later in the book, as the children run further and further, closer to Aslan, they encounter a waterfall. Instead of hiking around it or backtracking to find another way, they all swim up the waterfall! All their boundaries are broken!And when they arrive at the top, everyone is there to join in a huge celebration of fellowship.
The book concludes with Jewel the unicorn saying to Aslan, “I have come home at last. This is my real country. I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life. Though I never knew it until now. The reason why we love the old Narnia is that it sometimes look a little like this.”
You see, like the magi who searched for the Christ-child, they had no idea exactly what they were looking for. But when they found Him, they recognized that Jesus is what they had yearned for all of their lives.
Similarly, Jewel – and many of us for that matter – long for heaven simply based on this shadowland around us and will recognize its magnificence when we arrive. And at that time, our bodies, our souls, and even our earth will be restored, perfected and redeemed by God.
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