“But please, please – won’t you – can’t you give me something that will cure Mother?” Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his mother than he was himself.
“My son, my son,” said Aslan. “I know. Grief is great. Only you and I in this land know that yet. Let us be good to one another.”
Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our child-minder (παιδαγωγός) until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian (23-25).
Lewis’ language of “rough magic” is provocative. It seems almost irreverent to speak of the Law of Moses in this way, but the phrase captures both the tension and trajectory in Paul that the law is suitable for its purposes in governing the people of God but was always intended to be surpassed by something better. For Paul, the law was intended to be a temporary ruler over the people of God until they could come to maturity. It was never intended to be the fullest and most glorious expression of God’s mind for his people. That is not to disparage the law, only to understand it within its proper redemptive context.
Lewis provides an analogy by describing the hope that the Dufflepuds will move from being ruled by rough magic to wisdom; they are not where they need to be. Likewise, Paul saw the law functioning as a governor for a people who were not where they needed to be. God always intended for his people to come to the place (or be brought to the place) where they no longer needed a child-minder, The end of the law is maturity in Christ. The law should be studied and valued for the ways it can lead us into the heart of God, but we must understand that it wasn’t intended to be the last word. It had a particular function with regard to a particular people for a particular time, and, having fulfilled it’s particular role, it has been set aside. It was good and important, but it was also rough and unpolished. It was given to an imprudent people just rescued from slavery in a pagan nation, a people who did not know God. But with the advent of Christ and the indwelling presence of the Spirit, the children of God are come to maturity and can be ruled by wisdom instead of rough law.
As is often the case, Lewis’ fiction is a breath of fresh air as I reflect on scripture. May we all be ruled by the wisdom of God in Christ and the Spirit, and may we never be known as Dufflepuds.