An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

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An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Lady Haleth » Oct 20, 2010 7:07 am

So I was thinking about how Emeth came to Aslan. I always thought that in Aslan he found what he was really seeking. He thought it was Tash, it turned out that Aslan was his true desire. Its like what Lewis said in other works, about God speaking to people through stories in their own religion.
But the one thing that Emeth reminded me of in the Bible was the Magi. They were (presumably) from a pagan culture, and they didn't know about God. But they followed what they knew (the star) and came to Christ. Emeth was from a pagan culture, and followed what he knew (his devotion to Tash), and found Aslan. I wonder if this was meant to be a parallel or not. But still, I think its neat.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby aragorn2 » Oct 20, 2010 7:48 am

The Magi were not pagans, but most likely Jews in exile from the foreign invasions. What would a pagan care for Hebrew prophecy that they would leave their home and go on a long journey to find some foreign baby.

But it makes sense if they were exiled Jews in Babylon or somewhere like that. They would have looked through the the prophecies in the Old Testament and found that the time had come and would go looking for their Messiah.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Savber100 » Oct 20, 2010 11:25 am

aragorn2 wrote:The Magi were not pagans, but most likely Jews in exile from the foreign invasions. What would a pagan care for Hebrew prophecy that they would leave their home and go on a long journey to find some foreign baby.

But it makes sense if they were exiled Jews in Babylon or somewhere like that. They would have looked through the the prophecies in the Old Testament and found that the time had come and would go looking for their Messiah.


Interesting point. I honestly never heard of this explanation before as most interpretation I read speaks of the Magi as Gentiles that held the Jews in high regard due to their Jewish predecessor Daniel.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Lady Haleth » Oct 21, 2010 6:20 pm

Well, it says very little about them in the Bible, so we can't know for sure. It has been a tendency of artists to depict them as foreign, probably because they were trying to emphasize that Jesus came for all people, and not just Jews. And there is still the parallel about following your desire.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Shy Galadriel » Nov 02, 2010 2:43 pm

The Magi was a group formed by Daniel during his time back there in power. The members may or may not have been Jewish (there were 70 btw, we don't know how many came to see Jesus... but three is a little small amount). One thing's for sure, whether they were Jewish or not, they were strong followers of Jewish prophecy and worshipers of God.
I've been irked by Emeth ever since I first read LB. It's an idea that has never been in the Bible and has certainly never been seen in history. Any time you hear about stories from missionaries that show up at islands and there are a few people there that do not worship the pagan deity but rather are "waiting" for the true God's emissaries to come tell them about Him.
I mean, think about it. If you could be saved by "following God's rules" why ever become a God-follower? Romans talks about His visible attributes in creation, but that does not mean that by worshiping Ba'al you would end up truly worshiping God. I mean, Tash was evil, the methods of worshiping him were despicable and the "holy" writ was so chalk full of evil that a true seeker would see that Tash was a demon.
I really think Jack should have left such a heavy theological issue to true theologians. He himself never claimed to be one, just a philosopher. As that I love and respect his work. LB is my least favorite book partially due to Emeth, but mostly because HE KILLED NARNIA!!!! WHAAAAAAAAAA. I can never go there now.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Cineadh » Dec 13, 2010 10:27 am

Shy Galadriel wrote:I mean, think about it. If you could be saved by "following God's rules" why ever become a God-follower? Romans talks about His visible attributes in creation, but that does not mean that by worshiping Ba'al you would end up truly worshiping God. I mean, Tash was evil, the methods of worshiping him were despicable and the "holy" writ was so chalk full of evil that a true seeker would see that Tash was a demon.


A valid concern, certainly, but I don't think that was Lewis's intentions at all with Emeth. Let's go back to the actual description from LB:

"Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he had truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child? I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek."


I think the point he was driving at here was for someone who had never heard of Aslan, rather than someone who has heard of Aslan, yet rejected his Lordship. It's exactly as Aslan said to him: "Unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek." This implies that Emeth would not have continued to follow Tash had he found Aslan before Narnia's destruction.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Dec 13, 2010 11:34 pm

What would a pagan care for Hebrew prophecy that they would leave their home and go on a long journey to find some foreign baby?

That's a good point but I think they were pagans. I've always imagined this was to show that God also reaches out to pagan cultures and that elements of their culture have snippets of God's Truth hidden therein.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Lilygloves » Dec 21, 2010 4:53 pm

It could be that Emeth was searching to serve the true god. Obviously because of his upbringing, he was always taught that Aslan was bad and Tash was the true god. Emeth was earnestly searching for the truth, and that could be a reason he was accepted by Aslan.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Ithilwen » Dec 22, 2010 12:35 am

Cineadh wrote:I think the point he was driving at here was for someone who had never heard of Aslan, rather than someone who has heard of Aslan, yet rejected his Lordship.


But Emeth states in Aslan's Country that, while he lived, the name of Aslan was hateful to him...


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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Lilygloves » Aug 27, 2011 10:08 am

It is worth pointing out that after Emeth came to Real Narnia, he began to worship Aslan. He gave up his "heathen" ways and followed the true king. He realized he had been following the wrong god the whole time and earnestly sought a diety to follow. When he discovered Aslan, he converted right away.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Aravis Narnia » Aug 27, 2011 5:23 pm

I always thought the Magi were Zoroastrians. And Zoroastrianism, though not an Abrahamic religion, is usually not considered to be paganism.

However, had they been any kind of pagan, such as Hellenic or Kemetic, the message would have still been the same.

In my old church, it was stated that the Magi illustrated that salvation was available and open to everyone. And this sounds like a good idea.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Graymouser » Aug 29, 2011 1:57 am

Ithilwen wrote:
Cineadh wrote:I think the point he was driving at here was for someone who had never heard of Aslan, rather than someone who has heard of Aslan, yet rejected his Lordship.


But Emeth states in Aslan's Country that, while he lived, the name of Aslan was hateful to him...


~Riella


This could be explained by the idea of invincible ignorance, held by the Catholic Church, that if you have no opportunity to know the truth, you can't be held liable for that.

The image of Aslan as presented to Emeth in Calormen would have been that of a horrible demon, the enemy of the good God Tash and dedicated to the destruction of all that was righteous- naturally he wouldn't have accepted the name of such a creature.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby hansgeorg » Dec 29, 2011 6:17 am

aragorn2 wrote:The Magi were not pagans, but most likely Jews in exile from the foreign invasions. What would a pagan care for Hebrew prophecy that they would leave their home and go on a long journey to find some foreign baby.


As far as St Thomas Aquinas is concerned, their sect was founded to wait for the Messiah by the Canaanean prophet Bileam/a k a Balaam. The one who in the end refused to curse Joshua. The one with the talking donkey (and who, unlike Shift, listened to the talking donkey). Thus as Gentile as Melchisedec or Job (or more than Job, if as I have seen his country was Edom=descendants of Esau).
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Lady Arwen » Dec 29, 2011 6:44 pm

aragorn2 wrote:The Magi were not pagans, but most likely Jews in exile from the foreign invasions. What would a pagan care for Hebrew prophecy that they would leave their home and go on a long journey to find some foreign baby.

But it makes sense if they were exiled Jews in Babylon or somewhere like that. They would have looked through the the prophecies in the Old Testament and found that the time had come and would go looking for their Messiah.


hansgeorg wrote:As far as St Thomas Aquinas is concerned, their sect was founded to wait for the Messiah by the Canaanean prophet Bileam/a k a Balaam. The one who in the end refused to curse Joshua. The one with the talking donkey (and who, unlike Shift, listened to the talking donkey). Thus as Gentile as Melchisedec or Job (or more than Job, if as I have seen his country was Edom=descendants of Esau).


I've heard the theory that the Magi were Edomites before, which could be true, as they went to visit Herod first, who was an Edomite himself. However, then they would have been Wisemen from the South, not from the East.

The theory that I have heard, which is the most probable in my mind, is that the wise men were Zoroastrians, or others of a similar sect, where originated in Persia, but at that time, had a decent following closer toward India. Zoroastrianism probably originated with the followers of Daniel, when the king had him in charge of the magi. Daniel would have taught the Jewish scriptures to these men, and created a sort of proselytism in Persia, which eventually grew into its own religion that is quite reminiscent to early interpretations of Judaism in other areas...the Samaritans, when they first were brought into Israel, had created a belief system quite like Zoroastrianism when they combined Jewish teachings with their native teachings.

Interestingly enough, the word "magi" finds its roots in Persian, and was the word that often described the priests and learned men that followed the teachings of Zoroaster (the man who codified Zoroastrianism, and is sometimes said to be a direct student of Daniel's).

Bringing us back to Lady Haleth's original point, then, I think that this would support her theory that Emeth could be quite like the Magi. They knew they were seeking the Holy Child and a King, but their religious beliefs only got them in the general vicinity of truth; at the home of Herod. Emeth's search led him to try to be a good man, but he was just getting the general idea and into the general vicinity of truth. It took a revelation to see the real truth, just like the Magi needed a clearer understanding of prophecy to find their way to baby Jesus.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Lilygloves » Jul 04, 2012 12:56 pm

In Mere Christianity, Lewis writes that we know that the only way to heaven is through Jesus. But we don't know that the only those who know Him can get to heaven. I agree with his statement, although some may disagree. It seems as if he is saying that it is possible that those who haven't heard of Jesus but recognize some sort of diety may be able to get to heaven. It does not seem to be in God's character of being perfectly loving or perfectly just to allow some people into heaven because they had the opportunity to properly hear about Jesus and chose to accept Him. This is how I feel about Emeth. He never really had the opportunity to choose or deny Aslan because he never really knew about Aslan (and from what he did hear about Aslan, it was probably a lot of lies to make Aslan seem negative). The point is that Emeth turned from Tash to follow Aslan. Aslan accepted him for who he was, which shows his unconditional love, "and this is the marvel of marvels: that he should call me 'beloved'".

On the whole, we don't know if Lewis meant this to be a Christian parallel. It certainly seems so, but keep in mind that this is not an allegory. It may not exactly line up with the Bible or what God actually does, but it doesn't really have to. This is a story designed by Lewis and he wanted Emeth to have a happy ending.
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Re: An Idea about Emeth--A Biblical Parallel

Postby Narnian_Archer » Jul 15, 2012 10:26 am

Lilygloves, I agree with you. The way I saw it, Emeth is someone who is searching for the truth - someone who is seeking the right way to live, who is honestly seeking the light. He felt dissatisfied with the golden image of Tash and felt there was something wrong with it all, and that was why he was seeking the real Tash, because he had no one to teach him the right way, to show him the truth about Aslan. In this sense, I think it's safe to say he was not actually seeking Tash, but rather seeking light, seeking truth, and since he had no one to guide him, he sought for it in the wrong places. The thing is, if we take into account that Aslan is a metaphorical portrayal of Christ, then he is that light and truth ("I am the Light of the World" -John 8:12 "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" - John 14:6a) So, in this sense, it's not that he was seeking Tash and was led to Aslan, but that he was earnestly seeking light and truth, and so he was seeking Aslan. I think that's the point here - that those who earnestly seek the truth will find it (Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you -Matthew 7:7) - that somehow or another, Christ will have mercy on those who want to know the truth but cannot find it. Because, after all, "God is love" -1John 4:8b and He says "Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you" -James 4:8a, and so in His mercy, if someone seeks His light and Truth, which is ultimately Him, I think He will, in His mercy, receive them. That's, at least, how I always interpreted Emeth. :)
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