Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Emeth Garrison - Truth Stronghold

Let me tell you about the only other person I know named Emeth. He is a character in "The Last Battle", which is the last book in "The Chronicles of Narnia" series by C. S. Lewis.

I wish I could just tell you to go read it for yourself and then come back and tell me what an awesome name it is, and how Emeth just might be the new Darcy (I hope you all are Austen fans). But I guess I'll have to make a feeble attempt at summarizing what this character means.

Emeth is a young warrior from the pagan country of Calormen (anyone familiar with Narnia will know that Calormen is a neighboring country which lies across the great desert southeast of Narnia). He travels to Narnia with a detachment of soldiers whose mission is to enslave Narnia by means of deceit. He has served his pagan god with ardent devotion all his life, but has always sought a high and noble path. His sense of honor is repulsed by the methods that his captain is employing, and he is incensed when he perceives that the captain has no fear or belief in his god. When the captain and his conspirators devise a plan to further instill terror and loss of heart on the Narnians, Emeth confounds him by insisting that he be allowed to enter the stable that had been prepared as a trap for the Narnians. Emeth wishes to enter because he believes the god he has served may be within the stable, and he would see him at all costs. When he enters he meets not the false god that he desired, but Aslan. When confronted with the Lion, he immediately knows that he is the true being worthy of all honor, and worships him. Even though his joy is great, he is terrified because he knows Aslan will know he has served a false god instead of Him, but all the same he says "better to see the Lion and die, then to be [emperor] of the world and live forever and not see him." However Aslan welcomes him and tells him that "You would not have sought so long and so earnestly had your desire not been for me. For all find what they truly seek."

C. S. Lewis gave the name Emeth to this character because it is actually Hebrew for "Truth". He saw Emeth as one of the gentiles described in Romans 2:13-16 who "...show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them." (Romans 2:15 NIV) God created each of us to have the truth written on our hearts. The Hebrew word for truth is quite different from ours. There is no "your truth", "my truth", "his truth", or "what I personally believe to be true". There is simply "Truth". The word is also sometimes translated as "Reality".

Obviously, we don't wish for Emeth to grow up heathen. But we hope he will seek the Lord earnestly and with his whole being, and that he will despise taking advantage of the weak, as the Lord does.

We chose Garrison because we thought it sounded cool. But then we delved into the meaning of that word, and found that it pertains specifically to a troop of soldiers whose job is to defend a stronghold, or fortress.

We really like those two meanings together. One who knows the truth, and defends it as a stronghold. We pray for Emeth, as we pray for all of our children, that he will know the truth, accept no counterfeits, and cling to it as a stronghold in his life.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing, Holly!

*Jess* said...

Its been years since I've read that last book! Thanks for sharing his beautiful meaning!

Rachel said...

I love to hear how people chose their child's name. This is a very good method. I love the name too.

Mike and Katie said...

It is a wonderful name from a great story. I remembered the part when Aslan said that his service to Tash would be counted a service to Aslan. The implications are profound. For me it answers the question about those who never hear about Jesus. Even if they don't know his names many seek him.

I can't wait to hear the Narnia stories again. Mike plans to read them to the girls when they're a little older.