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    The Worlds His Hands Have Made

    June 25, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    I‘ve been reading through Hebrews the past few days. Hebrews is, in my opinion, the most magical book of the Bible outside of Genesis. I don’t understand it all. It is a great mystery in the truest sense, and I love that. When I read Hebrews, I come to understand some of the greatest Christian fantasy writers.

    Take the idea of Christ being a priest in the order of Melchizedek:

    For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. {Hebrews 7:1-3}

    For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

    This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of him,

    “You are a priest forever,
    after the order of Melchizedek.” {Hebrews 7:14-17}

    Or the idea that the tabernacle was a shadow of something that is really in existence, a pattern of a greater thing in a greater world:

    Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” {Hebrews 8:1-5}

    We have been reading The Magician’s Nephew the last few days, and I began to think of these mysterious Hebrews passages as I read the chapter entitled The Wood Between the Worlds. The Bible makes it so clear that things here sometimes represent things elsewhere. Perhaps fiction writers feel not just the permission, but the obligation to consider other worlds.

    The trees grew close together and were so leafy that he could get no glimpse of the sky. All the light was green light that came through the leaves: but there must have been a very strong sun overhead, for this green daylight was bright and warm. It was the quietest wood you could possibly imagine. There were no birds, no insects, no animals, and no wind. You could almost feel the trees growing. The pool he had just got out of was not the only pool. There were dozens of others–a pool every few yards as far as his eyes could reach. You could almost feel the trees drinking the water up with their roots. This wood was very much alive.

    [snip]

    “Why, if we can get back to our own worlds by jumping into this pool, mightn’t we get somewhere else by jumping into one of the others? Suppoing there was a world at the bottom of every pool.”

    “But I thought we were already in your Uncle Andrew’s Other World or Other Place or whatever he called it. Didn’t you say–“

    “Oh bother Uncle Andrew,” interrupted Digory. “I don’t believe he knows anything about it. He never had the pluck to come here himself. He only talked of one Other World. But suppose there were dozens?”

    “You mean, this wood might be only one of them?”

    “No, I don’t believe this wood is a world at all. I think it’s just a sort of in-between place.”

    [snip]

    “The Wood between the Worlds,” said Polly dreamily. “It sounds rather nice.”

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