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The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis

The Problem of Pain (1940)

by C. S. Lewis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Thoughtful, succinct writing about the theology of suffering and pain. Chapters on wickedness, omniscience, human and animal pain, and heaven. Thought-provoking and very well-written, if a little heavy in places. Recommended.

After re-reading six years later: I reached the end of the book with a great deal to think about, yet I’m really not sure that Lewis actually answered the question about why pain is such a part of our lives. He gives examples of people brought to an awareness of their wickedness or frailty due to pain, which brought them closer to God; yet he also acknowledges that there are some whose pain - or that of their loved ones - turns them further away from God.

He doesn’t touch on the problem of pain in children, particularly those in developing countries, but nor does he present the practical point of view that, in many cases, physical pain is a warning system that keeps us safe from harming ourselves more seriously.

Overall, I thought this worth reading, but a bit long-winded; and I had the sense that Lewis himself had a problem with the idea of pain, and was trying to convince himself as much as his readers.

Perhaps three-and-a-half stars would be fairer than three.
( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
242 Lew
Acc # 662
Cost $
Acquired ?
  ToongabbieBaptistLib | Jan 17, 2016 |
Reading C.S. Lewis makes me feel so unintelligent--with this book, I started out understanding his intent and arguments but about halfway through the book, I ended up feeling lost. ( )
  JenniferRobb | Jan 17, 2016 |
This book provides an honest and compassionate answer for all those who ask how a loving and omnipotent God can allow pain and suffering. ( )
1 vote krista.rutherford | Jan 3, 2014 |
I love to read about the reasoning behind CS Lewis' faith. ( )
  geniemagik | Dec 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. S. Lewisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Havard, R.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pesonen, MarittaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simmons, JamesReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitfield, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.'
— George MacDonald,
Unspoken Sermons, First Series
To The Inklings
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Not many years ago when I was an atheist, if anyone had asked me, "Why do you not believe in God?" my reply would have run something like this: "Look at the universe we live in.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060652969, Paperback)

The Problem of Pain answers the universal question, "Why would an all-loving, all-knowing God allow people to experience pain and suffering?" Master Christian apologist C.S. Lewis asserts that pain is a problem because our finite, human minds selfishly believe that pain-free lives would prove that God loves us. In truth, by asking for this, we want God to love us less, not more than he does. "Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved; that the mere 'kindness' which tolerates anything except suffering in its object is, in that respect at the opposite pole from Love." In addressing "Divine Omnipotence," "Human Wickedness," "Human Pain," and "Heaven," Lewis succeeds in lifting the reader from his frame of reference by artfully capitulating these topics into a conversational tone, which makes his assertions easy to swallow and even easier to digest. Lewis is straightforward in aim as well as honest about his impediments, saying, "I am not arguing that pain is not painful. Pain hurts. I am only trying to show that the old Christian doctrine that being made perfect through suffering is not incredible. To prove it palatable is beyond my design." The mind is expanded, God is magnified, and the reader is reminded that he is not the center of the universe as Lewis carefully rolls through the dissertation that suffering is God's will in preparing the believer for heaven and for the full weight of glory that awaits him there. While many of us naively wish that God had designed a "less glorious and less arduous destiny" for his children, the fortune lies in Lewis's inclination to set us straight with his charming wit and pious mind. --Jill Heatherly

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:28 -0400)

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The author explores the intellectual questions raised by mental and physical suffering.

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Legacy Library: C. S. Lewis

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