The Problem of Pain
|Author||C. S. Lewis|
|Published||1940 The Centenary Press|
|Current edition published by HarperCollins|
The Problem of Pain is a 1940 book on the problem of evil by C. S. Lewis, in which Lewis argues that human pain, animal pain, and hell are not sufficient reasons to reject belief in a good and powerful God.
Lewis summarizes of the problem of evil like this: "If God were good, He would make His creatures perfectly happy, and if He were almighty He would be able to do what he wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both." His partial theodicy addresses both human suffering, animal suffering, the problem of hell, and reconciles these with the Christian belief in a just, loving and omnipotent God.
Partial summary of contents
- Introduction. This chapter articulates of the problem of pain from the point of view of an atheist. Lewis was an atheist "not many years ago" and expresses the objections he had then. He articulates a story about the vastness, coldness, and insensitivity of the universe and the meaninglessness of man's place in the universe. He introduces the notion of the "Numinous" -- the uncanny, the dreadful, the awe-inspiring.
- Divine Omnipotence. Chapter 2 clarifies what it means to say that God is all-powerful.
- Divine Goodness. Chapter 3 attempts to clarify what type of 'goodness' can be ascribed of God. Is God kind? Gentle? Is he good like a warrior is good, or like a lover is good, or both?
Relation to other works
Lewis' philosophical approach in Problem of Pain bears some similarity to his later, more personal approach to the problem of evil in A Grief Observed. The latter of these works is a reflection on his own experiences of grief and anguish at the death of his wife.
- Lewis, C. S. (2015-04-28). The Problem of Pain (Revised ed.). New York, NY: HarperOne. ISBN 9780060652968.
- The Problem of Pain at Catholic Education
- Quotations & Allusions in The Problem of Pain
- The Problem of Pain. (PDF, Canadian public domain text)
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