Did Aslan eat?

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Did Aslan eat?

Postby Aravis Narnia » Apr 28, 2012 5:05 pm

And if so, what was His diet like? Was it similar to that of a Panthera leo, or that of a Homo sapiens?

Or did He not eat?


How about sleep? Did Aslan ever sleep? Or did He just keep watch over Narnia and other places?
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby -centaur- » May 10, 2012 12:36 pm

That's an interesting question. I always assumed he did eat, although I can't recall if there is any mention of his doing so in the books.
In VDT, the table prepared with the feats is referred to as "Aslan's Table" although Ramandu's Daughter also mentions that it is reserved for travellers who have come (or something like that, I'm too lazy to look up the actual quote).
I would assume he would have to eat, just as Jesus had to eat and sleep when he was a human on earth.
The question of his diet being like that of a lion or a human is a little trickier, but I would venture a guess that it would be closer to that of a human. Talking Animals in Narnia have diets similar to those of humans, reference the marmalade and potatoes Mrs. Beaver served the Pevensies. At the same time, though, Animals such as shift and Puzzle have diets that seem to reflect their animal selves, recalling Shift's fondness for Oranges and Bananas, and Puzzle's desire for Sugar. Then again, Puzzle goes to the market to buy food, giving the impression that their diets are still influenced by humans.
Kudos if you got through that. :ymapplause:
Good question. To my knowledge, not answered in the Chronicles. Open for speculation I guess! :)
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Glumpuddle » May 10, 2012 5:03 pm

Aslan claims to have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms. So he has eaten. But does he really need to eat? Don't know.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » May 10, 2012 5:15 pm

glumPuddle wrote:Aslan claims to have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms.


That cannot have been literal. A lion's stomach obviously isn't big enough to hold an entire realm ;)). I'm pretty sure that this was entirely metaphorical.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Glumpuddle » May 10, 2012 5:37 pm

Lions aren't capable of becoming invisible or turning into lambs either. ;)

I see no reason to not take Aslan at his word. Jill asks if he eats girls, and he replies that he has eaten girls before... and more.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Ithilwen » May 10, 2012 6:02 pm

I agree with DiGs. That passage was completely symbolic, in my opinion. Whether he could eat them or not isn't really the question. It wouldn't make sense for C.S. Lewis to write that he literally ate people and towns and worlds. It doesn't serve any purpose, nor does it make any sense in context of the story. But it does make sense in a metaphorical context -- because Aslan has been victorious in defeating villains (such as the White Witch) and taking captive the hearts of his followers. And I have often heard "devouring lion" refer to a great or terrible warrior or victor in multiple stories. A lion is often a symbol for strength and courage, and the teeth and claws -- what he uses to devour -- is the lion's most feared parts.

As for whether or not Aslan ate, I think his situation was much like what ours might be on the New Earth -- we will eat, but not as a necessity. He was most likely the same way. But unless Lewis backed this up in any way in the books themselves, we'll never know for sure. It's all speculation. ;)


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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » May 10, 2012 6:07 pm

glumPuddle wrote:Lions aren't capable of becoming invisible or turning into lambs either.


This is true. . . but the difference is that you're citing information that ties him to a physical body with physical needs. If he eats. . . the buildings of a cities, and the stars of an entire realm don't exactly have much nutritional value ;)).

Aslan obviously had supernatural powers, and physical needs, but I don't think Aslan actually had eaten human beings. It's not in his character whatsoever.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Glumpuddle » May 10, 2012 9:16 pm

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:If he eats. . . the buildings of a cities, and the stars of an entire realm don't exactly have much nutritional value ;)).


I doubt Aslan is referring to buildings or stars (though I suppose it's possible). He is saying he has eaten the entire population of a realm. Read the entire line... Jill asked "Do you eat girls?" and Aslan responded "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms." The first six examples are clearly referring to human beings, so it's safe to assume the final two do as well. Saying he has swallowed buildings or stars would not answer Jill's question.

I also doubt Aslan ate these people for their nutritional value, though again I suppose it's possible. The reasons Aslan did this are not given. Possibly for similar reasons he destroyed Narnia and left much of its inhabitants to freeze to death?

Of course... it's also possible that Aslan never did anything of the sort, and only said this to frighten Jill. The whole point of that scene is that Aslan gives Jill every reason to be afraid... but she has no choice but to trust him anyway. And thus begins Jill's journey towards learning trust again after having no one to trust for so long.

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:It's not in his character whatsoever.


That's quite a bold statement. How many times in the series does Lewis stress that Aslan is not a tame lion? I don't think it would be out of Aslan's character at all. And the context and reasons he swallowed up realms is not given. I always got the sense that we only saw a tiny snippet of who Aslan is and what he's about. That's part of what makes the character so intriguing. I think to say this is something Aslan could never do really waters down the character.... and makes him more like movie-Aslan. ;)

Aslan is a lion with teeth and claws. It's safe to presume he has used them to kill. If not, perhaps he's pretty "safe" after all, and all the moments in the series where characters are trembling with fear before Aslan are virtually meaningless.

“Haa-a-arrh!” roared Aslan, half rising from his throne; and his great mouth opened wider and wider and the roar grew louder and louder, and the Witch, after staring for a moment with her lips wide apart, picked up her skirts and fairly ran for her life. 

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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Ithilwen » May 11, 2012 8:42 pm

glumPuddle wrote:Of course... it's also possible that Aslan never did anything of the sort, and only said this to frighten Jill.

That would mean Aslan was lying to her. And that is out of character.

I think to say this is something Aslan could never do really waters down the character.... and makes him more like movie-Aslan. ;) Aslan is a lion with teeth and claws. It's safe to presume he has used them to kill. If not, perhaps he's pretty "safe" after all, and all the moments in the series where characters are trembling with fear before Aslan are virtually meaningless.

We already know Aslan isn't "safe" because we saw him defeat the White Witch. We know he has power. We saw him create the world of Narnia in MN, we saw him throw Trumpkin like a rag doll in PC, and all through the books we get to know his character as the one we can trust to always win. So, if it turns out that the "eating people and cities and realms" is metaphorical (which I believe it is) it wouldn't turn him into a "safe" "movie" Aslan at all.


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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Glumpuddle » May 12, 2012 9:01 am

Ithilwen wrote:That would mean Aslan was lying to her. And that is out of character.


Could you elaborate on that?

I'm sure Aslan knew Jill would take the statement literally. So, if you are correct and Aslan was speaking metaphorically, one could argue he was lying to Jill. Or, at the very least, intentionally misleading her.

I don't think there's any reason to believe he was using a metaphor. Jill asked if Aslan ate girls, and he responded that he had eaten girls... and more.

Ithilwen wrote:So, if it turns out that the "eating people and cities and realms" is metaphorical (which I believe it is) it wouldn't turn him into a "safe" "movie" Aslan at all.


I agree. I was only arguing that eating up cities and realms would not be out of character for Aslan.

Metaphorical for what exactly? Obviously we could never know for sure, but could you speculate? Remember, Aslan is responding to Jill's question "Do you eat girls?"
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Ithilwen » May 12, 2012 6:44 pm

glumPuddle wrote:
Ithilwen wrote:That would mean Aslan was lying to her. And that is out of character.

Could you elaborate on that?

Sure. Your original statement was:

You wrote:Of course... it's also possible that Aslan never did anything of the sort, and only said this to frighten Jill.

If Aslan had done that, he would have been lying. For example, if I went up to you and said to you, "I once stabbed 20 men with a knife" (which I have never done) in order to frighten you, I would be lying to you. Similarly, if Aslan told Jill he had done something he hadn't done, in order to frighten her, he would be lying to her. This would be out of character for him. Lying is a sin. I'm pretty sure Aslan doesn't sin.

I'm sure Aslan knew Jill would take the statement literally. So, if you are correct and Aslan was speaking metaphorically, one could argue he was lying to Jill. Or, at the very least, intentionally misleading her.

No, there's a difference between lying and speaking to someone metaphorically -- even if you know that doing so will mislead them. For example, Christ purposely spoke in metaphors and parables, and even admitted that his purpose in doing so was so that some people would not understand him correctly.

Mark 4:10-12 wrote:When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,

“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”

Lying is a sin. Jesus was without sin, and he purposely confused people by speaking in metaphorical ways. Therefore we can conclude that doing so is not lying. :)

I don't think there's any reason to believe he was using a metaphor. Jill asked if Aslan ate girls, and he responded that he had eaten girls... and more.

I really don't think it's possible for it to be anything but a metaphor. It would be one thing if it said one person or two. But whole cities? Whole realms? Even if it's referring to the people of those cities and realms only, and not the buildings and things, it's still seems like quite stretch (IMO) for that to be literal.

For one thing, the books only give evidence that Aslan goes by that name and lion-appearance when he's in Narnia. It's possible, I suppose, he could go by that name and appearance in other worlds; but since there's no evidence for it, it would be pure speculation. We couldn't know for sure. And eating with his lion teeth would be done in his lion appearance. Which means, if that passage is literal, it would most likely take place in Narnia.

I've read Lewis's notes on the history of Narnia. It tells all the major events, battles, appearances of Aslan and children from our world, etc. And I don't remember reading any part in that history where Aslan went into a city and literally ate every single person there. In fact, most of his appearances were documented in the Chronicles, since his appearances and the appearances of children from our world seemed to usually happen at roughly the same time. Also, whole realms? Narnia itself is a realm, and I don't know of any "mini-realms" inside Narnia...

Metaphorical for what exactly? Obviously we could never know for sure, but could you speculate? Remember, Aslan is responding to Jill's question "Do you eat girls?"

Also remember, Aslan's response is "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms." Notice that he doesn't say he ate anyone -- he says he swallowed them up. That might sound trivial at first, but I think it makes a big difference in the meaning. The phrase "swallow them up" has been used hundreds of times, outside of eating. Take for example:

Numbers 14:9 wrote:Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them."


Proverbs 1:12 wrote:let's swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;


Isaiah 25:8 wrote:he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.


Luke 20:47 wrote:who swallow up the property of widows and mask their wickedness by making long prayers. They will be punished far more severely than others."


2 Samuel 20:19 wrote:I am among those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the inheritance of Yahweh?"


2 Samuel 20:20 wrote:Joab answered, "Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.


Also, here's a concordance that lists the scriptural references, meanings, and roots of the Hebrew term that is translated as "swallow up" -- http://concordances.org/hebrew/1104.htm

The term "swallowing up" means to take, to conquer, to destroy, in a basic sense. You can swallow up people with the sword, with bombs, (and yes) with claws and teeth. You can swallow up nations just by destroying them using your words, or diplomacy with their enemies. It's a pretty general phrase that basically means to be victorious over something or someone, through a multitude of possible ways.

As I said in previous posts, I believe Aslan is referring to all the moments he has been victorious over enemies. The events in LWW and PC alone could cover it: defeating the White Witch, both Battles of Beruna, etc. But I think it's referring to every moment Aslan has ever defeated someone. Now, those ways of defeating people could include eating them. Of course it could. But I don't think it's referring to that specifically. Rather, I think it's referring to something much broader than that.

I think it's referring to every victory over an enemy that has ever taken place in Narnia, no matter what method of killing it was. And why stop at Narnia? Aslan is in other worlds too, only He goes by a different name. I'm sure it would also include all the defeated enemies of our world as well: every nation thrown down for their sins (such as those in the Old Testament), every punishment God has dealt out over the course of human history. And I'm sure it includes every other world, every pool that lies in the Wood Between the Worlds. Every realm that's ever perished, be it through fire, water, earthquake, famine, disease, and any natural disaster you can name. There are a hundreds of ways that Aslan/Jesus and Emperor-Over-the-Sea/God can "swallow up" His enemies and ours.


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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » May 12, 2012 7:20 pm

Ithi, I wish that there was a way for me to "like" your post, like on Facebook. You said absolutely everything that I wanted to say, but did not have the time (or patience ;)) ) to do so.

Lions are not the "nicest" killers in the animal kingdom either. They usually don't even wait for their prey to "die" before they start eating them. (Although, the prey usually goes into shock very, very quickly). The idea that Aslan would do such a thing is just unthinkable to me.

If you buy into the metaphorical approach, you also have a pretty nice lesson woven into Jill's story. She is so concerned with the needs of her physical body. "I'm Thirsty. I'm worried I might be eaten. Etc..." If Aslan's talking of a metaphorical conquering, it's almost like he's telling her, "There are more important things to worry about than your physical body, child."

(I don't feel like I said that very well ;)) )
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Glumpuddle » May 12, 2012 7:48 pm

Ithilwen, thank you for adding such a lengthy and thought-through post to this enjoyable discussion. ☺

Ithilwen wrote:I'm pretty sure Aslan doesn't sin.


You’d have to define sin and explain why you think Aslan doesn’t do it for me to respond to that one. And that would probably be too far off topic.

Ithilwen wrote:I really don't think it's possible for it to be anything but a metaphor.


That’s a bold statement. I’m not saying it’s impossible for it to be a metaphor. I’m just saying I don’t think there’s a compelling reason to believe it is. For example, in HHB Aslan tells Shasta he is “one who has waited long for you to speak.” I suppose it’s not impossible that Aslan was using some kind of metaphor, and that he didn’t actually mean “waiting.” But I see no reason to believe Aslan didn’t mean exactly what he said. That’s not a great example, but I hope you see my point.

You disagree, of course. You do have a reason for believing it’s a metaphor: The claim seems impossible…
Ithilwen wrote:It would be one thing if it said one person or two. But whole cities? Whole realms? Even if it's referring to the people of those cities and realms only, and not the buildings and things, it's still seems like quite stretch (IMO) for that to be literal.


That’s the sting of it for you? The implausibility? Well first of all, we don’t know if Aslan did this in Narnia or another world. Think about the hundreds of pools in the wood between the worlds that have been around far longer than our world.

It seems to me that if Aslan had not added “cities and realms,” it would have never have occurred to you to think he was speaking metaphorically. It would not have occurred to you to interpret “swallowed” any other way. The problem is that you read the last part and thought “oh, but surely Aslan could not do that.” We know so little about Aslan (and the hundreds of worlds in the pools in MN), that I would be very reluctant to put that limitation on him.

Ithilwen wrote:I think it's referring to every victory over an enemy that has ever taken place in Narnia, no matter what method of killing it was.


This is possible, but I would tend to lean away from that because Aslan was responding to the question “do you eat girls?”

By the way, I love the fact that we don't know for sure and that it has been left open for discussions like this. It only makes Aslan that much more intriguing of a character. :D

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:Lions are not the "nicest" killers in the animal kingdom either. They usually don't even wait for their prey to "die" before they start eating them. (Although, the prey usually goes into shock very, very quickly). The idea that Aslan would do such a thing is just unthinkable to me.


I don't know of anything in the books that suggests Aslan eating something before it dies. I only know of Aslan claiming he has swallowed people up. But he's not a tame lion... I wouldn't mess with him. If there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Ithilwen » May 13, 2012 2:18 am

glumPuddle wrote:You’d have to define sin and explain why you think Aslan doesn’t do it for me to respond to that one.

I define sin as whatever the Bible calls sin (and it calls lying a sin); and since Lewis was a Bible-believer, his world would most likely reflect his beliefs. So I'm sure lying is most likely considered evil in Narnia too. And I believe Aslan doesn't do it because I think Lewis purposely portrayed Aslan as being Jesus Christ appearing in Narnia by another name. I know people will argue about "how similar is Aslan to Jesus?" until the cows come home. And if we decide to go there, it will probably have to be in another thread so this one doesn't go off topic, like you said. But for me, I think it was Lewis's intention for Aslan to be Christ appearing in Narnia. And since Christ was without sin, I believe Aslan was too.

Ithilwen wrote:I really don't think it's possible for it to be anything but a metaphor.

That’s a bold statement. I’m not saying it’s impossible for it to be a metaphor.

I hope you don't take it as me running down your opinion. ;)) Because that's certainly not what I'm trying to do. But I do have to be honest. I'm not running down anyone who takes it literally. I just, personally, don't see how it could be that way. I've re-read the passage several times just within the course of this conversation, purposely reading it in the literal sense so as to see it from your perspective. And I'm just... not seeing it. :-?? That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with interpreting it that way, though. :) I have absolute respect for your opinion. But respect is often one thing, while the ability to agree is another. ;))

You disagree, of course. You do have a reason for believing it’s a metaphor: The claim seems impossible…That’s the sting of it for you? The implausibility? Well first of all, we don’t know if Aslan did this in Narnia or another world. Think about the hundreds of pools in the wood between the worlds that have been around far longer than our world.

I mentioned that in my last post. My problem with it was that, if he's literally eating people like a lion, he's probably in lion form. And I've never seen any indication that he appeared in the form of a lion in a world other than Narnia. It's not impossible for him to do so, but there isn't any proof of it. It's all speculation. And "Aslan", so far, has only been shown as the name and shape he chose to go by in Narnia. He doesn't go by that name or shape in our world. And we don't know what names or shapes he goes by in the others.

It seems to me that if Aslan had not added “cities and realms,” it would have never have occurred to you to think he was speaking metaphorically. It would not have occurred to you to interpret “swallowed” any other way. The problem is that you read the last part and thought “oh, but surely Aslan could not do that.” We know so little about Aslan (and the hundreds of worlds in the pools in MN), that I would be very reluctant to put that limitation on him.

Actually, I interpreted "swallowed up" as the metaphorical sense before I even reached the part about cities and realms, when reading that sentence for the first time. And even then, I interpreted it that way in a very subconscious sense. There wasn't any time where I sat down and said, "Hmm... is this literal or metaphorical?" It seemed very... automatic, for lack of a better word. I also remember, a few years later, reading this book to my mom for the first time, and after I read, "'I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men--'" my mom interrupted me by bursting out laughing. Then she said, "Poor Jill! I wonder if she knows he meant that symbolically." And I hadn't told her my view of it beforehand. And everyone I've ever met has interpreted it as metaphorical, all instantaneously without any controversy about it at all. :-\ In fact, I didn't even know it could be taken any other way until I first read this conversation. The idea never occurred to me, or anyone I know. You're the first person I've ever met who thought of taking it that way. :-o

I'm not saying any of this makes you wrong at all. You could easily be correct. I'm just wondering how this happened. If you're right, then why did I and every other person I know automatically assume it was the other way? But if I'm right, and the people I know are right, why didn't it come across to you that way as well? :-\ If there was no reason at all to believe that passage was metaphorical, it's a very odd thing that so many people have taken it that way, without even questioning it. There must be something in it that's giving them that impression, though I can't quite put my finger on what it is. It's very odd. For me it's a lot like meeting someone for the first time who sees the sky as a different color. You always met people who automatically agreed it was blue, and thought it was just a fact that it was blue. But then you meet someone who sees it as a different color, and maybe other people see it that way as well. Maybe the sky isn't really blue, and its color is a subject up for debate. It's a very odd thing... Or maybe I'm just tired. :P ;))

Anyway, I knew there were many parts in the Chronicles on which people have differing opinions. But I didn't know until now that this was one of them. And I find that interesting. I wonder, if there was a poll, which opinion would turn out to be the majority. (Maybe it'll turn out that that my opinion was the minority all along, and that I just thought my view was a fact because all the people in my household saw it that way. ;)) )

This is possible, but I would tend to lean away from that because Aslan was responding to the question “do you eat girls?”

I understand what you're saying here. But the thing is, a lot of the parables Christ told his followers were in a context quite like this. In John 2, there's a part where Jesus and his disciples were inside a temple. And it went:

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body.

Jesus's statement could have been referring to his body or to the temple they were standing in. But because they were standing in a temple, it would seem right to assume it was the actual temple he was referring to. But he wasn't. It seemed to be a sort of habit Jesus had when he spoke to people. There would be a question or a statement or topic, and Jesus would say something that could pertain to that topic in the ordinary sense -- but he would mean it in a different sense.

And this passage in SC has always reminded me of when Jesus told parables. And whenever Jesus told parables, it always reminded me of this part in SC. It doesn't remind me of it because I thought about it for hours, in an attempt to prove my viewpoint or anything. It's just always been the impression I got from the passage. (In fact, that whole chapter always gave me a very metaphorical impression. Such as how the river near Aslan is the only one that will quench her thirst, just as Christ is the only one who can heal us in the ways we need.) I've always wondered if maybe Lewis intended it that way. Lewis often designed Aslan's dialogue to mirror Christ's dialogue. For example:

John 21:12 wrote:Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord.


C.S. Lewis wrote:They came on and saw that it was a lamb. "Come and have breakfast," said the lamb in its sweet milky voice.


John 21:21 wrote:So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”


C.S. Lewis wrote:"And is Eustace never to come back here either?" said Lucy. "Child," said Aslan, "Do you really need to know that? Come, I am opening the door in the sky."


GP wrote:I’m just saying I don’t think there’s a compelling reason to believe it is. For example, in HHB Aslan tells Shasta he is “one who has waited long for you to speak.” I suppose it’s not impossible that Aslan was using some kind of metaphor, and that he didn’t actually mean “waiting.” But I see no reason to believe Aslan didn’t mean exactly what he said. That’s not a great example, but I hope you see my point.

I do. The problem is, I'm not sure how to explain what my "compelling reason to believe it is" is. It's not that there isn't a reason. I'm just having trouble finding a way to tell it accurately.

It reminds me a lot of another situation I was in once, and so I'm going to use it as an example. It may or may not make you agree with me, but if the example works, hopefully it will at least give you a better idea of what I mean.

Now, I am really hoping you come from a Protestant background instead of a Catholic one, because if not, this example won't work at all. ;)) But anyway, here goes. One time I got into a discussion with a Catholic friend concerning Transubstantiation. I'm a Protestant, and so, I don't believe in Transubstantiation. (Note to mods: I am not going to start a conversation on Transubstantiation or anything. I'm just using this as a quick example. :) ) As you probably know, Transubstantiation is the belief that when we take part in communion, the bread and wine we eat and drink literally turn into Christ's actual flesh and blood. But Protestants believe it's just regular bread and wine and that it stays that way -- that it's just something we do as a sort of metaphor.

Now, let me tell you, this discussion I had with my Catholic friend went absolutely nowhere in either direction. My friend said, "Christ said that the bread is his body and the wine is his blood. I have no reason to believe he meant it in a metaphorical sense. Therefore I see nothing but to take him at his word. You can't say it's impossible for the bread and wine to turn into actual flesh and blood, because with Christ's power, nothing is impossible. He can do anything, no matter how miraculous. He's God." And I said, "I know God can turn bread and wine into flesh and blood, but... He isn't. If you read that passage, you can see he clearly meant it symbolically. It's obvious." And my friend said, "No, if you read that passage, you can clearly see he meant it literally. It's obvious."

To each one of us, it wasn't a question of "Can/would he do this?" We both believed he could do it. But to me, it's quite obvious that God isn't turning bread and wine into literal flesh and blood as you eat it -- there's no question. I can't see how anyone could possibly get that impression. My friend finds it quite obvious that Christ meant it literally -- he has no reason to believe he meant it metaphorically -- and therefore it's obvious. Bread and wine turns into flesh and blood during communion. He can't see why anyone would disbelieve this. There's no reason to, he says.

Now, Transubstantiation is a very different subject than than that of Aslan eating people. But I hope I can still use it as an example in the social context of one person believing one thing and the other person believing the opposite. :)

This is why I'm really hoping that you, like me, disbelieve in Transubstantiation. ;)) Because then, you'll see the problem that arises when something is so obviously metaphorical to one person, but then that person meets someone who thinks it's obviously the other way. For me, it doesn't matter if God can turn bread and wine into flesh and blood (He can), because he isn't. I don't believe that's what that scripture is saying. Similarly, it doesn't matter to me that Aslan can eat people (He can), because he didn't. I don't believe that's what that passage is saying. With the bread and wine, that scripture is so obviously metaphorical to me, I don't even see how people could see it any other way. Same goes for the SC passage.

Now if you, too, disbelieve in Transubstantiation, and if you imagine trying to explain your view to someone who does believe in it, you'll see the difficulty. If the reason you believe something is because "it's obvious, no question", and you meet someone who doesn't find it obvious, how can you explain your view to them? Is it even possible? I had no idea what to say to my friend. And I don't really know what to say in this discussion, either, besides the points I've already given.

I do think it would be interesting to have a poll on the subject, though. ;))

GP wrote:By the way, I love the fact that we don't know for sure and that it has been left open for discussions like this. It only makes Aslan that much more intriguing of a character. :D

Ditto. :) Although, when it comes to discussions that are held with a lot of speculation on both sides, and very little evidence on either side, I find they tend to be unfortunately short and ending with the phrase "agree to disagree". ;))

It's been really fun so far, though. And even if we do end up completely disagreeing on the passage in the end, thanks so much for what has been a fascinating conversation so far. :)


~Riella =:)
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Glumpuddle » May 14, 2012 11:37 am

Thanks once again for such thoughtful post. It seems that, for whatever reason, we read the same line and it just hits us different ways.

One final question: Suppose Aslan had simply replied "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors." Do you think we would be having this discussion now? Do you think you would have still interpreted the line as a metaphor?
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » May 14, 2012 12:52 pm

glumPuddle wrote:One final question: Suppose Aslan had simply replied "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors." Do you think we would be having this discussion now? Do you think you would have still interpreted the line as a metaphor?


In short. . . yes. I have always interpreted it to be a metaphor for conquering, rather than a literal consumption of human flesh.
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