In a 2005 article in Religion and Literature, Milbank explores the importance of fantasy literature as part of an effort to re-enchant the world and recover a genuine vision of childhood. Trinitarian insights are at the heart of the “subversion of traditional notions of catechesis” that makes its appeal to the imagination:
“At the centre of Christianity—still more so than with Judaism and Islam—stand narratives and symbols. It is these that are held to be inexhaustibly inspirational and to ensure that abstract doctrine must endlessly develop because it can never be finally conclusive. It follows that the most basic, the most fu ndamental elements of the faith can be taught to children and that in their initial imaginative and intuitive response to this saturation of meaning, there lies something of more authority than adult reflection. Adults may be the means of transmission, but in a sense they are conveying what they have received and must continue to receive themselves as children . . . .
“The gospels themselves leave no doubt about this: it is children, particularly, who need to come to see Jesus and if the rest of us are to see him, we will ourselves have to become ‘like children’ and be born again. Jesus in the temple was able to instruct his elders, not just because he was the Logos incarnate, but also because the true logos is the Son in whose generation the Father alone exists and therefore is also the child who instructs his parent with exact equivalence to the measure in which he is himself instructed. Thus the Logos speaks on earth first with a childish wisdom that even his developed humanly adult mind does not lose sight of.”
In short, “for Christian doctrine God’s ‘adulthood’ as Father is his originating, without remainder, the Son and therefore is but the emergence of God as child it is, to repeat, fundamentally for this reason that it was appropriate for the Logos to become incarnate first as a child and , as a child, to instruct the learned.”
And this means that “the Christian reversion of pedagogy is consummated in the vision of Trinity and Incarnation.”