God is good and terrible at the same time

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch ...

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Before the children encounter Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Mr. Beaver is trying to describe what Aslan is like when he is interrupted by Susan, who seems to have an exaggerated need for her personal security, asks “Is he—quite safe?”  To which Mr. Beaver replies, “Who said anything about safe”?  “Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.” Later in the narrative when the group finally meets Aslan, C.S. Lewis’s narrator tells us, “But as for Aslan himself, the Beavers and the children didn’t know what to do or say when they saw him.  People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time.”

This image of Aslan, who is both good and terrible at the same time, is particularly challenging for Christians who think of God as their safe, huggable bestest buddy. While the Lord is certainly good, compassionate and approachable, He is also fear-inspiring and awesome!

And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”John 2:15-17

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