The Narnia Code is authored by Michael Ward on C.S. Lewis and the code or hidden meaning behind the seven part series: The Chronicles of Narnia. Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. There are over 157 pages of intrigue and discussion concerning The Chronicles of Narnia; literature that has literally had a long lasting influence on our thinking. I personally have read many of Lewis' works and have always admired his life's story. Reading this book is a must for Lewis fans.
Some Lewis scholars have suggested this series was linked to classical virtues (e.g. faith, hope, love, justice, prudence, temperance, and courage). Others suggested they all had the unifying theme of the seven deadly sins (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, anger, envy, and pride). Ward suggests that "none of these ideas proved to be the solution to the riddle." (Ward, pg. 13)
Ward insists that the code is in the seven planets (Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Moon, Mercury, Saturn, and Venus) that played a big part in Lewis' life-long interests and study of Middle Ages and Renaissance literature. Ward recounts that Lewis himself said most of his books were written "tous exo" (Greek) which is to say for "those outside". Lewis consciously uses this type of method so, as Jesus did with his parables, "those outside" may always be seeing and never perceiving. (Ward, pg. 11) Often times while reading the parables of Christ a first reading only reveals a certain level of meaning or understanding whereas a second or third reading will reveal much more.
George Sayer, a close friend of Lewis, said that Lewis or Jack, as he was also called, "never ceased to be secretive." (Ward, pg. 12) In fact, the movie Shadowlands is all about Lewis who got married and told no on what he had done for the most part of a year. Even his close friend, J.R.R. Tolkein, who did not like the Chronicles series, did not know. C.S. Lewis was known for his secrecy and wrote many books, even one of his last books, under different pen names (e.g. Clive Hamilton, N.W. Clerk).
Although chapter two does not discuss the seven planets it does discuss an issue that I wanted to share in this review. Chapter two is called "The Beam of Light" and Ward cites Psalms 36:9 here which says, "in your light do we see light." (ESV) Ward recalls Lewis' work "Meditation In A Toolshed" where he is making the point that we should "consider every question in both ways--both by "looking at" it and by "looking along" it. (Ward, pg. 17) An example given to illustrate this is falling in love. Whose opinion on falling in love would matter the most to you? A man who had fallen in love with a woman who is enjoying and looking along the light of love or the opinion of a scientist or sociologist who are only contemplating or looking at love? We can look at light and it can blind us momentarily; however, we can also look along the light as well and it illumines us or our surroundings. The latter, is when the light is invisible because you no longer see the light but see "by" the light. As Ward points out, Lewis's point was simply this: "Light is not something you see; it's something you see by." (Ward. pg. 19) It is by God's light that we can see thereby.
During the Middle Age period each planet, in the pre-Copernician world, had its own special symbol or influence. Ward makes the point, in the remainder of the book that each Chronicle contains symbolisms of each planet. Lewis felt that the universe, as it was understood in pre-Copernician times, was "tingling with life" whereas in post-Copernician times the Classical Physics have given us a universe more like a machine. This tingling of life referred to the way that we have viewed the planets and stars as something special.
What does this have to do with Christ? As Lewis has noted, Christ is the cosmic glue which holds our universe together. (Ward, pg. 20) Ward notes that "from the very start of the Bible, the stars have great significance...Creation story...God creates the stars "for signs and for seasons"...God makes the sun to "rule the day" and the moon to "rule the night" (Genesis 1:14, 16) (Ward, pg. 38) It was the Star of Bethlehem that led the wise men to Jesus; in Judges the stars are portrayed as angels; in Revelations 1:16, 20, 2:1 the Son of Man is holding the "seven stars in his right hand". Ward, who even lived in Lewis' old home and has lectured on him for years, believes that Lewis used the "symbolism of the seven heaven in this world as he wrote the Narnia books...each Chronicle...would embody and express the spiritual quality of on of the seven planets." (Ward, pg. 42) Below I will briefly list each Chronicle and its corresponding planet.
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Jupiter
- Prince Caspian - Mars
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - Sun
- The Silver Chair - Moon
- The Horse and His Boy - Mercury
- The Magician's Nephew - Venus
- The Last Battle - Saturn
Since this is a review and not a spoiler I will discuss only one of the Chronicles and its planet - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This year (December 2010) Walden Media, who has already produced two of the Chronicles, will also produce their third film about this series, the Dawn Treader specifically. As previously mentioned, Ward believes this Chronicle is about the Sun.
In this Chronicle Caspian, Lucy and the others find a pool on a mysterious island. At the bottom of this pool they can see a life-sized figure of a man made of gold! Even as Edmund edges close to the water the tip of his boots turn to gold. Even the spear Edmund places into the water turns to gold! Everything the water touches turns into gold. The story gets better. Caspian picks up a spray of heather and dips it into the pool. Immediately it too turns into purest gold! Caspian begins to be stricken with greed and attempts to claim the land for himself and even renaming it "Goldwater Island". Edmund has a different plan than Caspian and a tussle erupts. It is at this point that, on the horizon, a huge lion begins to walk at a slow pace..."Nobody dared to ask what it was. They knew it was Aslan!" (Just as the disciples knew Jesus in John 21:12)
As Aslan appears bright and shining as if he was in the bright sunlight even though the sun was in fact gone. Aslan is clearly being portrayed here by means of Sun imagery. The pool that turns everything into gold is seen to be the evil of alchemy. This is why later Reepicheep would call the place "Deathwater Island" instead of Caspian's "Goldwater Island". The evil and desire of worldly riches is overpowering and creates division amongst the characters in this story. Only when they look toward Alsan do they become free of this greed for gold. "Aslan's riches bring life, not death." (Ward, pg. 72)
Lewis teaches us a powerful lesson that can be found in Psalm 19:10. God's ways are "More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb." It is the riches of God that can fill our longings with the purest and finest gold!
Here is an excellent article from Jason Dulle, M.A. from Theosophical Ruminations
Oneness Pentecostals (OPs) have always struggled to explain the duality of activity and consciousness we see portrayed in Scripture between the Father and Son. The Father is doing one thing, while the Son is doing another; the Father knows all things, while the Son knows only what the Father reveals to Him; the Father is prayed to, while the Son prays. How can this distinction of activity and consciousness be explained other than in terms of multiple persons? Admittedly, that would be the most obvious and natural explanation. And yet, because we are persuaded that the Biblical affirmation of monotheism extends both to God’s essence and God’sperson, OPs have sought an alternative explanation that is Biblically and philosophically sound.
The standard way of explaining the distinction of activity/consciousness between the Father and Son is to appeal to a duality of natures. The human nature of Jesus is said to do X, while the divine nature of Jesus (the Father) is said to do Y. On this account, Jesus’ prayers can be explained as the human nature praying to the divine nature. What I find interesting about this explanation is that it simply swaps the word “person” for “nature.” What Trinitarians refer to as “two persons,” we refer to as “two natures.” Functionally speaking, the two phrases are equivalent, for both admit the presence and distinction of two metaphysically distinct entities. On the Trinitarian view, there are two metaphysically distinct persons in communion with one another, whereas on the OP view, there are two metaphysically distinct natures in communion with one another. The only substantive difference is that on the Trinitarian view both entities are divine, whereas in the OP view one is divine and one is human.
The problem with the traditional OP explanation is two-fold. First, while OPs have tried to avoid the conclusion that God is “two persons,” they have ultimately turned Jesus into two persons. His human nature is understood as a separate person from the Father; a human person. In Jesus, then, there are two persons: one who is divine, and one who is human. But this is de facto Nestorianism. On this view, God did not truly become man, but merely came to dwell within a human person who is ontologically distinct from the divine person.
Secondly, natures are impersonal, and thus cannot be the source of personal activities such as thought and prayer. A nature just refers to a set of essential capacities demarcating what kind of thing someone or something is. Natures cannot think or act. Natures do not pray or speak; only persons are capable of doing these things, utilizing the capacities of their nature to do so. In attributing some activities to Jesus’ human nature, and others to the divine nature, we have reified natures so as to give them personhood. For OPs, natures have all the attributes and carry out all of the functions of persons, but we dare not call them “persons.” Given the fact that natures are impersonal by definition, the distinction of activity and consciousness between the Father and Son cannot be explained by an appeal to natures. Only persons are capable of doing what we see the Father and Son doing in Scripture. Does this commit us to the Trinitarian view, then?
No. We can make sense of the distinction of activity and consciousness between the Father and Son if we understand the one divine person to be conscious of Himself in two distinct ways: as God in His cosmic mode of existence, and as man in His human mode of existence. On this construal, the divine and human natures are not the locus of activity, but rather the cause of activity. In His cosmic mode of existence, the one divine person functions according to His divine nature, causing/allowing Him to be conscious of Himself and act in a divine manner. But in His incarnate mode of existence, the one divine person functions according to His human nature, causing/allowing Him to be conscious of Himself and act in a human manner. In each case it is the person, not the nature, who acts. The distinction of natures simply allows the one divine person to be conscious of Himself, and act in two distinct modes simultaneously.
Click here to go to the article @ Theosophical Ruminations
The Deity of Christ
What Think Ye of Christ?
Is He God or Man?
Click here to read online or download.
Excerpt from introduction:
This little volume has been prayerfully collected and written to meet the oncoming, terrible onslaught against, and the denial of the absolute Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in these last, evil days of apostasy from the true and living faith. It might be truthfully titled forty volumes in one, for it is the condensed testimony and teaching of a vast number of the very best Christian scholars, dating from the early church fathers down to the present day, on this most important and vital subject of our Christian faith. In fact it contains the very essence of Christian belief concerning the doctrine of the Godhead, both from a theological and a Scriptural standpoint.
It is a book especially to be recommended as of helpful value to scholars, and in fact to all who desire a clearer- understanding of this most sacred and profound subject. May the faith of many be built up, strengthened, and restored through its perusal, is the sincere prayer of its author and compiler.
Los Angeles, California
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This sermon, represented by the images below, was delivered August 27th, 1867
at the Artillery Street Chapel in London.
at the Artillery Street Chapel in London.
This sermon is provided by The Acts of the Apostolic Faith in Jesus Christ, Inc.
Dr. Michael Brown, a former Calvinists turned Arminian and member of SEA, presents both sides of the debate between Arminianism and Calvinism in 4 sessions. The goal is for his church to better understand the leading points and opposing points of view to prepare them for conversations concerning this issue. It has a tendency to be a divisive topic. But Dr. Brown presents both in such as way as to equally impress and convince.
Dr. Brown's presentation may be accessed in 4 You Tube videos (though there is no live video) or 1 MP3 audio file. Click here to read more, listen or download at the SEA website (Society of Evangelical Arminianism).
The Kingdom Life, by NavPress is a well done hardback book. The design and layout are also excellent. There are over 314 pages of practical theology that is meant to be translated to daily living. The study of theology must be more than simple head knowledge but must move into our discipleship and spiritual formation. Alan Andrews is general editor. Other authors in the book are Dallas Willard, Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, Keith J. Matthews, Bill Hull, Keith Meyer, Peggy Reynoso, Paul Fuller, Bruce Demarest, Michael Glerup, Richard E. Averbeck and Christopher Morton. The foreword is by Rick Warren.
The Kingdom Life receives praise from Michael J. Wilkins who says "This book is sorely needed.". David Fitch from Norther Seminary says "It is not another book on how to do discipleship as a program; rather, it reexamines the theology and practice of discipleship in light of the lordship of Christ and the life we have in His Kingdom." The books points out that the "word kingdom is used more than 150 times in the New Testament" and that "in democracies, people have a difficult time understanding the full implications of living under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ." (pg. 7) Although America is not only a democracy the point carries that we should look afresh at life in the Kingdom of His Lordship.
"Where is the kingdom of God?" the book queries. The simplified answers is "The kingdom of God is wherever Jesus is king! If Jesus is king in your heart, then the kingdom of God is within you." (pg. 7) Jesus is king in heaven and in our hearts but when "the reign of Christ is fully realized on earth, then the kingdom of God is on earth." (pg. 7)
The book is split into two parts. Part one is "Process Elements of Spiritual Formation" and part two is about "Theological Elements of Spiritual Formation." In this review I will only highlight a couple chapters that were my personal favorites - "The Gospel of the Kingdom and Spiritual Formation" by Dallas Willard and "The Bible in Spiritual Formation" by Richard E. Averbeck.
In chapter one Willard rightly notes, in simple and concise fashion, that "The simplicity is that we discover all of the complexity of the kingdom by simply following Jesus. As we follow Him, we are also formed in Him." (pg. 30) Often this point is overlooked but we cannot keep looking for the pie in the sky or the "next" miracle around the corner that will get us where we need to be. No! It is in becoming a true follower and disciple of Christ. As we do this Christ will lead us and teach us for "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2:3 NIV).
Willard goes on to note that "we are called to well informed action in the process of our own spiritual growth." (pg. 31) The Word of God and the Holy Spirit are essential for our growth but trusting them to follow through is not in question. We must be mindful of our part in participating in The Kingdom Life. Much of the book focuses on "our part" in the journey. He also notes that "When you line up with the laws of God, you are lining up with what God Himself is doing." (pg. 38) Willard also points out the trinity of evil which he defines as the world, the devil, and the flesh. (pg. 47)
In chapter ten Averbeck begins with the premise that "Spiritual formation is based upon the Bible as God's reliable and authoritative revelation...our primary source of truth..." (pg. 275) As part of our spiritual formation we must move the Scriptures from simply being words on pages or simply historical narratives. As he notes, "The Scriptures are living and active in penetrating, exposing, and transforming our hearts and lives as the Holy Spirit brings to bear upon us individually and together." (pg. 275)
In a practical sense, "if you love someone, you take what he or she says seriously." (pg. 276) This is probably where the great disconnect lies in our culture. It is to see the Bible as what God would say to us, and if He is truly Lord then we are also living in His Kingdom. We must take the Bible seriously in our times because it is a "divine revelation for spiritual formation". (Pg. 279) Averbeck cites 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and points out that "Timothy could rely on Scripture both to say what is true and to use as his divine authority in teaching..." (pg. 279)
Averbeck also notes one of the presuppositions of every reader of the Scriptures. This is something we must bear in mind as we study and read the Word of God. He notes that "People are so bound up within their matrix of cultures and communities that they do not read the Bible apart from that set of circumstances. As with individuals, he experiences of communities profoundly shape how they read the Bible." (pg. 284)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I have been using Logos Bible Software for many years now. I also use other software for my Bible studies but this has to be one of the best digital Bible programs available. It has a great search engine to find and research any Bible word or theological topic. Not only is the software great but they are great people to work with over the phone. Another plus is that Biblia and Logos Bible Software have partnered up for the benefit of its customers. This means good news for us theologians.
If you have logos software, also referred to as Libronix (search engine), you can also create an account at Biblia.com and access many of your library books online. Anywhere access. You have access to great translations and reference works side by side! Students can also get academic discounts. This is how I got my first Scholars edition from Logos a few years ago. If you are into Bible study and and really enjoy your Logos Bible Software like me then you'll enjoy this resource!
The About Page notes this:
Biblia.com is your place for Bible study online. Part of a family of services from Logos Bible Software, it offers free access to a collection of Bibles and Bible reference works, with an easy user interface and powerful search engine.
Biblia.com uses exactly the same e-books and account management as Logos Bible Software, whether you download software or not. That means that Biblia.com already offers thousands of high quality resources for Bible study. You can purchase content for use with Logos Bible Software for Windows or Macintosh, or simply unlock it online at Logos.com, and you’ll have access to it online at Biblia.com.*
Biblia.com is in beta release now; this release represents just a fraction of the features we have planned! Please share your ideas by joining the conversation on our forums.
* Certain titles are not yet licensed for online and iPhone display. We’re working to secure permission from rights holders, and are activating new titles all the time. Each book’s page at Logos.com indicates whether or not it works with the iPhone, and the Biblia.com restrictions are almost exactly identical.
12 Fallacies to Avoid in Communication | Reasons To Believe
- Argumentum ad baculum: “An appeal to force” uses threats to achieve the arguer’s goal. Damer cites the evangelical “threat of eternal damnation” conversion tactic as an example of this fallacy. Ouch! Time to rethink that approach.
- Argmentum ad misericordium: “An appeal to pity” stirs up emotions and tugs on our heart strings. Though the evoked emotions don’t change the truth or falseness of the issue at hand, they can cloud our judgment.
- Genetic fallacy: This fallacy occurs when people draw a conclusion about something based solely, or primarily, on its origin, without regard to how it has changed over time. For example, Ken points out in an online article that skeptics commit this fallacy when they “suggest that belief in God isn’t objectively true because such beliefs arise [originate] from feelings of loneliness.”
- Wishful thinking: Wishful thinking makes the logical error of assuming that just because we want something to be true (or false), then it will be true (or false). Relativistic thinking succumbs to this fallacy. (Listen to episode 42 of Ken’s podcast, Straight Thinking.)
- Post hoc ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefore because of this”): As Ken explains in his book A World of Difference, “This type of reasoning insists that because A precedes B, then A must have caused B.” For example, research shows that linking standard immunization shots with the rise in autism mistakenly assumes that simply because some cases of autism were detected after administration of a vaccination that the vaccination must some how be a cause of autism.
- Argumentum ad ignorantiam: “An appeal to ignorance” argues that something must be false because it has not yet been proven true. In A World of Difference, Ken notes that atheists frequently use this kind of fallacy to argue against God’s existence. They insist that since God’s existence has not been proven, God must not exist.
- Slippery slope: Also known as the “domino fallacy,” this tactic predicts that dire consequences will inevitably result from a certain belief or course of action. For example, someone might argue that drinking an occasional glass of wine eventually leads to alcoholism.
- Hasty generalization: This fallacy pops up everywhere—in politics, religion, social issues, etc. It makes sweeping judgments about a group of people based on an insufficient sample of group members. For example, CEOs are often typecast as greedy, heartless profit-mongers based on the deplorable actions of a few CEOs.
- Argumentum ad hominem: “Attacking the man” methods aim to smear an opponent’s character, rather than answer the challenge of his or her arguments. (Listen to episode 10 of Straight Thinking.)
- Abusive: Name-calling, mudslinging, whatever you want to call it, this rhetorical tactic is rude and offensive.
- Poisoning the well: This attack, as Ken puts it, attempts to “discredit a person’s motives.” This is a challenge RTB’s scholars frequently face when opponents charge them with having insidious reasons for believing in an old Earth.
- Tu quoque (“you too”): This form of ad hominem turns the tables in order to avoid criticism. It is, essentially, the old childhood tactic of declaring, “Well, you do it, too!”
- Attacking the straw man: It’s much easier to knock down a scarecrow than an actual human being. Likewise, it’s easier to set up and defeat an exaggerated, simplified, or otherwise misrepresented version of an opponent’s argument rather than his or her true views. (Listen to episode 9 of Straight Thinking.)
- Suppressed evidence: This fallacy occurs when an arguer cherry-picks evidence and ignores or dismisses legitimate evidence that either challenges his or her own view or supports the opponent’s.
- Diversionary humor or ridicule: Everyone enjoys a good joke, but in a debate setting humor can be misused to avoid the real issue or ridicule an opponent unfairly.