The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis

The Problem of Pain

The Problem of Pain by Christian Apologist and Author C.S. Lewis is an exploration of pain and how is raises so many theological and intellectual problems. It focuses on one question, but explores every aspect of the debate thoroughly. Why would an all-loving, all-knowing God allow people to experience pain and suffering? Reading this great book is not for the casual reader and you should expect to be intellectually challenged. The Problem of Pain is a very difficult read, but it brings up ideas and concepts that most writers ever attempt to bring up, but as long as you can get past all of the big words, the lessons to be learned are much bigger.

Mainly, we tend to believe that an all powerful God who loves us would allow us to live without the smallest amount of pain. C.S. Lewis argues that instead of wanting God to love us more, we want him to love us less.  To not want pain is to not want his love.  The nature of love is that the beloved is to be perfected as to be able to love them more.  Each chapter of the book then goes on to expound on various arguments against pain.  He makes a great argument for pain in that any possible universe in that freedom and the self are included there must be pain.  Next he establishes his argument for the total corruption and the sin nature of man, as without a sin nature there is no reason to be corrected.  Then it is shown, in Lewis’ understanding of creation, a very peculiar vision of the fall of man into sin.  His storytelling ability shows through as he describes the fall of man and also how he compares man and the correction sent by God to a man and his dog.  The next section of the book goes deep into the implications of pain itself and how it is to be understood.  Lewis is also honest in his work as he does admit the difficulties in his arguments.  He concludes his work with sections on Heaven, Hell, and the very interesting question of why do animals experience pain and what does that imply?

Certainly, if you would like your mind to be stimulated in a new and exciting way, this is the book for you.  I say new, though this amazing read has been around for many years.  However, it introduces new concepts to many Christians today in a world filled with many questions and criticisms of our faith.  These concepts would certainly enlighten many Christian readers to the truths of why there is pain in our lives and the lives of others.  Lewis is incredibly knowledgeable about all things spiritual and it would help many christians to read this great book!

I would recommend buying The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis for yourself as we all could stand to learn from this book.  Check it out at Amazon.com or Christianbook.com or any other bookseller!

Clive Staples Lewis (1898–1963), known as Jack to his friends, was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. His major contributions in literary criticism, children’s literature, fantasy literature, and popular theology brought him international renown and acclaim.

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6 thoughts on “The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis

    1. Very nice summary, thanks for pointing me here. When you wed this book with his novel, Perelandra, you will see a lot of these themes coming out, illustrated through his fiction–particularly that of “bare obedience.” It is also worth reading his short work, A Grief Observed, which are his personal reflections just after the death of his wife, Joy. Many have misunderstood this last book because they almost see it as Lewis losing his faith. What we see, though, is a Christian who is being blatantly honest with God while in the midst of the agony of profound pain and yet in the end realizes that to have life beyond this death, he must first release earthly things and cling to God. Put the three books together and you have a fairly clear snapshot of the nature of pain and living life faithfully in a world with pain. Blessings,

      win

      1. I look forward to reading Lewis’ other works as well. I personally enjoyed the film about his life and his reaction to his wife’s death. It shows how hard a Christian can be hit by pain and still love God.

  1. Very nice summary, thanks for pointing me here. When you wed this book with his novel, Perelandra, you will see a lot of these themes coming out, illustrated through his fiction–particularly that of “bare obedience.” It is also worth reading his short work, A Grief Observed, which are his personal reflections just after the death of his wife, Joy. Many have misunderstood this last book because they almost see it as Lewis losing his faith. What we see, though, is a Christian who is being blatantly honest with God while in the midst of the agony of profound pain and yet in the end realizes that to have life beyond this death, he must first release earthly things and cling to God. Put the three books together and you have a fairly clear snapshot of the nature of pain and living life faithfully in a world with pain. Blessings,
    +1

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