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The Problem of Pain

, 2001
ISBN: 9780061947643

Digital Logos Edition

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For centuries people have been tormented by one question above all: If God is good and all–powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain? And what of the suffering of animals, who neither deserve pain nor can be improved by it?

The greatest Christian thinker of our time sets out to disentangle this knotty issue. With his signature wealth of compassion and insight, C.S. Lewis offers answers to these crucial questions and shares his hope and wisdom to help heal a world hungry for a true understanding of human nature.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Get this book as part of The C.S. Lewis Collection today!

  • Features nine memorable addresses C.S. Lewis delieverd during WWII
  • Includes lucid and compelling discussions on forgiveness and faith
  • Displays Lewis’ breadth of learning and spiritual insight

Top Highlights

“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” (Page 46)

“If the universe is so bad, or even half so bad, how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator?” (Page 3)

“‘If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God 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.’ This is the problem of pain, in its simplest form.” (Page 16)

“Christianity is not the conclusion of a philosophical debate on the origins of the universe: it is a catastrophic historical event following on the long spiritual preparation of humanity which I have described. It is not a system into which we have to fit the awkward fact of pain: it is itself one of the awkward facts which have to be fitted into any system we make. In a sense, it creates, rather than solves, the problem of pain, for pain would be no problem unless, side by side with our daily experience of this painful world, we had received what we think a good assurance that ultimate reality is righteous and loving.” (Page 14)

“What we would here and now call our ‘happiness’ is not the end God chiefly has in view: but when we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy.” (Page 41)

It is really a pleasure to be able to praise a book unreservedly, and that is just what I can do with The Problem of Pain.

The New York Times Book Review

C. S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers 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 Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Out of the Silent PlanetThe Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classic Mere Christianity. Read more about his life and legacy.


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  1. Patrick



    Out of all Lewis' books I have read this is the one I dislike and disagree with him the most. I will start out by saying that Lewis builds up to his points on this subject whereas in, say, "Miracle" he gets right to the point and then builds up his thesis. Also, with most of Lewis' books, this one will require another read through. Before I list my main contentions with this book, I am not aware if Lewis ever revised his thoughts on the subject or the particular claims which I take note with. I think he is dead wrong on certain principles of Christology - mainly the ability of God-knowledge to reside in Jesus. To say that God is incapable of this is to say that God is not all-powerful. I will say that Jesus gave up certain aspects of His Godhood to become human (for example, omnipresence). I also disagree with his assessment of where goodness comes from. With the statement of the Euthyphro dilemma, Lewis chooses to say that goodness is subjectively dictated by God, if there is a way God can be subjective - but I digress. I'm not sure why he doesn't make mention that the Euthyphro dilemma is a false dilemma and goodness arised out of God's character so God appeals to Himself. So what is good is of God and not just commanded by Him or He appeals to a status of goodness above God. The false dilemma answer has been around since Aquinas so I'm not sure why he doesn't comment on that. Another problem he spends too much time on because of the philisophical gymnastics he has to go through is the doctrine of Creation. Lewis comments on man existing before Genesis 1 and appealing to evolution to get to Adam. Adam arrises out of animalism. I'm not sure why Lewis doesn't take the Bible for what it says and it clearly leads to some murky backbending that Lewis isn't quite sure of himself what to do with it. This leads to my last negative point which is his theory on animal pain. He leaps way too far out from his main point and appeals to "mights" and "maybes" and "hopes" of God's character not stated in the Bible. Thus Lewis' basis for such claims are just as good as those wishes made on falling rocks from space. He agains lands in murky waters in stating that animals arrived not from Creation week but on the building upon death that evolution requires. Lewis reckognizes the problem with saying this and assumes a multitude of conclusions that have no biblical basis and are very, very weak - even in his own arguements. I do not wish to say there is nothing good about this book, because his formation of his main thought is decent. I have no issues with it in general but he does make some really great points. Another reading might pull my grade down farther or it might build it up. However, I think Lewis is way off in many parts here. Final grade - D+
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