Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

While it might be argued that in The Place of the Lion Williams is pursuing some kind of Neoplatonic worldview, with the notion of the Divine Universals (or perhaps one could say the Platonic Ideals) of the animals that spring into being, it is also accurate to say that Williams is making reference to the Christian conception of Creation, wherein all that is springs from one single source. Mr. Tighe’s vision of a vortex of butterflies seeking to form a single, giant butterfly is a mystical insight into the way that all creation seeks to return to its single source, the power of which leaves Mr. Tighe able to utter only a single word, “Glory!” Berringer, on the other hand, in his single-minded meditations on strength and power, calls to himself the lionness which has wandered from the traveling circus; in his meditation she is transformed into the archetypal Lion. In the contrast of these two occurrences is the underlying Christian theme of how one approaches things. Mr. Tighe’s vision is of beauty and “glory” because his love of butterflies is innocent and selfless; he sees beyond the material form to the source from which all form emerges: “glory,” a word Williams used to express the ecstasy that comes with whole and unselfish love. Berringer’s call to the Lion has nothing of love or selflessness in it: He and his group seek power through their mystical exercises. Berringer finds his source of power, or rather it finds him, but it leaves...

(The entire section is 411 words.)