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The Problem of Pain Paperback – April 28, 2015
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That said, this must be the finest treatise on the apparent contradiction between the existence of pain and the existence of a supposedly loving God that has been written.
Succint, well-organized, thorough, yet "The Problem of Pain" still reads like it was written by a human being rather than a scholar. Some chapters bring conviction. The chapter on Hell brings fear and dread, and respect for Him who can "destroy both body and soul in Hell". The chapter on Heaven, which Lewis admits is his own philosophical foray, no one else's -- brings hope and reassurance that Heaven is your true calling, your one True Home.
This is not light reading, at least not at first. This may not be a book to recommend to someone at the height of a crisis; Lewis taxes your attention and does not take any short cuts. A "Cliff Notes" version of this book would miss the point. Pain is one of the toughest theological problems a Christian can face, either in their lives or the life of another person they know -- and Lewis does not want you going in armed with half an argument or some "Precious Moments" sentiment.
From a non-Christian POV, I would be surprised if this book made much sense -- so many of the pillars are set on Christian theology, philosophy, and tradition. If you cannot (or will not) accept the possibility of the existence of Heaven, Hell, or God, this book will be just so much incomprehensible babble.Read more ›
The world also had to be created neutral so that humans could interact equally with one another, i.e., those same, unchanging properties of wood allow it to be manipulated similarly by anyone. But, obviously a neutral world contains the potential for good or evil. Wood can be used to build a home, which is good, or to create a weapon, which is evil. But, this is what makes us human. We have free will.
If I choose evil, God could not intervene. For to intervene some times but not others would be unjust and illogical (this is why miracles, if you believe in them, are extraordinarily rare). And to intervene once is to intervene always. Imagine if God intervened each time one person was going to cause another, or himself, pain. If he did, we all would be puppets, not humans.
Another interesting idea in this book is that of Original Sin. According to Lewis, we have not inherited Adam's sin, as is commonly believed, but instead everyday face Adam's identical choice, perhaps thousands of times a day. For Adam's sin was not disobedience in eating the apple, but in choosing himself over God. Adam had the opportunity to see himself either as a creation or an individual self existing apart from God. Thus, according to Lewis, a final reason for pain, is that it is God's wake-up call that we have, in constantly choosing ourselves, chosen the wrong thing.
This is a profound and provocative book.
All I can say is, "Wow!" The Problem of Pain is not what I expected. I'm not sure what it was that I did expect. Perhaps something more along the line of a good evangelical book - you know, shallow, but with lots of Bible verses. Pain is exactly the opposite. Deep and with very little use of prooftexting. How the Church of the twenty-first century needs more minds like C. S. Lewis! We have been drowning in the fluff of "make-me-feel-good-like-Jabez-bless-me-bless-me" Christian publishing for years. It is very difficult to find a Christian book store that sells theology anymore (perhaps because Christians don't think or read anymore). I bought this copy of Pain from Amazon.
Lewis is surprising because he doesn't go where you anticipate he will. He tackles the issue of pain from a very human angle. He asks the right questions and doesn't always give us the answers we want. Lewis is often held up by evangelical Christianity as a beacon of evangelical thought. I wonder if those evangelicals have even read him lately? Lewis disagrees with the doctrine of total depravity, questions original sin, weaves a parable of the fall which includes evolution, and leaves the door wide open for something other than an ever-burning hell.
The answer to the problem of pain is that we are works in progress, being made lovable by a God who loves us even when we are not yet lovable.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The topics covered were very appropriate. Some hints of evolution are misleading and speculative.Published 3 days ago by Tessa
Challenging essays on Christianity, from a former atheist and Oxford scholar, written in everyday language.Published 4 days ago by Kindle Customer
Excellent book. It's an excellent insight into a subject that every one of us has to deal with, some more often than others. Read morePublished 11 days ago by T. D. Robison
Lewis has trouble giving a straight forward, simple approach to an issue. It is a book to skim, and hit on a few nuggets in the process.Published 13 days ago by W. Moore
I found this book a bit complex, which is understandble since there is nothing simple about pain.
There are so many true statements, like we christians are the reason... Read more
I don't feel like I found what I was looking for in this book, but as CS Lewis tries to make so clear, this story is about how God uses pain for his story, not ours. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Kyle Hotchkiss
Great book. Poor quality printing (The most recent with the waves on cover). The paper pages are not cut properly so its hard to turn page. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Peter
The author needs no introduction, and obviously his treatment of such a delicate subject is anticipated. Read morePublished 22 days ago by R. Ross