Biblical Parallels in Narnia - Deep Magic

Today we’ll end our discussion of the biblical parallels in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When we left Narnia last, Edmund has been restored to his family. But he is a traitor, and there’s a price that must be paid. The witch reminds Aslan of the Deep Magic – the rule that says every traitor’s life belongs to her, and she intends to collect Edmund’s.

The Deep Magic in Narnia has nothing to do with incantations and spells. Instead, it’s a foundational principle upon which the world was created – any act of treason against the Emperor-over-the-Sea and His Son, leads to death. Anyone who rejects the authority and principles set down by the world’s creator, forfeits his life. Moreover, that traitor’s life, by right, belongs to the witch. That’s an inescapable rule of Lewis’s Narnia.

Of course, a similar foundational principle existed in our world from the beginning of time.

…but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die. (Genesis 2:17)

As the Apostle Paul said in Romans 6:23: The wages of sin is death

This is one of the foundational principles upon which the fabric of our world is created. And Lewis created Narnia with the same principle.

So the children are really worried – what’s going to happen to Edmund? Well, that night Aslan slips away from camp, and Lucy and Susan follow him at a distance. They witness him handing himself over, voluntarily, to the Witch and her evil followers. They watch as he is bound with cruelly tight ropes, his beautiful mane shaved off, and jeered at and spit upon. He is placed on a long Stone Table, like a sacrifice. And then they watch the Witch kill him. They are devastated, and spend the cold, lonely night on the top of the hillside near his body, grieving.

Ah, but when the fingers of dawn begin to paint light on the eastern horizon, something happens. They hear a loud crack, and when they turn around Aslan is alive again! The can’t understand what has happened, but Aslan explains:

“…Though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”

There’s a deeper, stronger principle that Aslan put in place even before the foundations of the world were laid. It’s the principle of grace, mercy, and atonement. And when this Deeper Magic comes into play, the principle of death for traitors is turned on its head. As Aslan tells Susan and Lucy after he is resurrected, death itself begins to work backward, and life bubbles up inside him and breaks forth with joy and abandonment.

Lewis wrote that principle, that magic, into his world because it’s the most foundational Truth of all in our world. Jesus, God in flesh, has died on our behalf, and risen again. He paid the price, and turned death upside down.

I’ve got to tell you, when I was a child, that scene is the one that brought home to me the awesome sacrifice Jesus made for me. I was just a kid, but I identified with Edmund. I knew what it was to disobey, to be guilty. And for the very first time, I suddenly understood my Savior’s redemption. It’s fiction, but it illustrates a powerful Truth that changed my life.

Let’s not miss something very important here. The Witch did not know anything about this Deeper Magic. But Aslan did. Because He was there when the foundations of the world were laid. This wasn’t some last minute ploy, some trick he pulled out of his ear. No, it was his plan all along.

Just as our salvation was God’s plan all along. Jesus was not the second string quarterback that God had to send into the game when Plan A didn’t work. No, God knew from the very beginning the lengths He would go to in order to save us. His love and mercy have no end – and no beginning. He laid the foundational principles of the world – the physical world and the spiritual one – from the very beginning, because it is not His will that one single sinner – not one single traitor – be lost. That’s why John refers to Jesus as

The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)

In the end, the Deepest Magic of all is God’s love for us, His redeeming, self-sacrificing love.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of Journal entries, looking into the symbolic Truth in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. As I was researching, I read a book called Finding God in the Land of Narnia by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware. Much of what I learned came directly from this book. There’s a lot more, though, because the authors talk about all seven books in the Chronicles of Narnia. If you enjoy looking at the meaning behind the symbolism, I encourage you to read this book!