“Who is Aslan? Why, he’s only the king of the whole wood! The top geezer! The real king of Narnia!” – Mr. Beaver, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (Walden Media film, 2005)
When the Pevensies first arrived in Narnia, they didn’t know or understand who Aslan was, or how he would affect their lives. Of course, we as readers of the Chronicles do know who Aslan is – the high king above all high kings, and the son of the Emperor-Over-The-Sea. Through the course of the stories, the Pevensies had the joy and privilege of learning who Aslan was for themselves.
However, is this all he is? Is this all Aslan is meant to be? In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Aslan tells Lucy that “in your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name.” Lewis never explicitly reveals to us what Aslan’s name in our world is, but if we look, we can understand who Aslan told Lucy he was. His name is revealed by three roles Aslan plays in the stories: he is the creator, the redeemer, and the king.
In The Magician’s Nephew, we learn that Aslan is the creator of Narnia. He spoke – sang, rather – the world into being and created each of the creatures in that world. He was the one who gave the animals the ability to speak. He created everything good.
Aslan is the redeemer. When Edmund betrayed his siblings, his blood was required by law. Only the death of a completely innocent person could redeem him. When Jadis agreed, Aslan was slain in Edmund’s stead. His blood redeemed Edmund’s life. Then he rose from death in the morning, and defeated Jadis.
Aslan is the king. He is sovereign over all the events in Narnia. He is honored above the kings of Narnia, and the royalty answer to him for what they do. The loyal Narnians serve him. Even his title “King above all High Kings,” reflects his lordship.
So who is Aslan? What is his name? In the eyes of a Christian, Aslan is a supposal for God incarnate – Jesus Christ, our creator, redeemer, and king. By “supposal” we mean that he is a representation of what Jesus Christ might have been like in a world of talking beasts such as Narnia, were it real.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). In only six days, God created the world, the animals and plants, and the human race. God made man with special care. He called the earth good, and us He called very good. He made the world perfectly. He is our creator. We know that God the Son (Jesus) was there at creation because John 1:3 tells us “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
Romans 6:23 tells us “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” When we sinned, and betrayed our Creator, we deserved death according to the law, just as Edmund had for his treachery in Narnia. However, Jesus Christ agreed to be our redemption, and came to earth as a human, fully man and fully God, to die on a cross for us. He took our punishment on Himself, just as Aslan took Edmund’s punishment on himself. Then, Jesus rose again to defeat death for us!
Christ Jesus is our ruler, our king. He is sovereign over all. He directs the pathways of kings and rulers, and knows the past, the present, and the future. He has the ability to do what he pleases with whom he pleases for whatever reason he pleases. In Revelation (19:16) he is referred to as “The King of kings and Lord of lords.” We are to follow Him and give Him the glory He deserves.
Just as Aslan was creator, redeemer and king in Narnia, so is Jesus Christ creator, redeemer and king in our own world. Based on these similarities we can conclude that Jesus Christ is the “other name” to which Aslan referred when talking to Lucy.